NZ’s Waste System

NZ’s Waste System

We'd like to share with you a very insightful and informative interview on NZ’s antiquated waste system, along with some real-world truths from someone who you quite frankly can't argue with - Waste Management boss, chemical engineer, and all-around top bloke who has dedicated his life to waste, Timothy Brake. 

Read the full article over on Newsroom HERE. As a brand who went through an arduous 6 month journey down the packaging Lifecycle Analysis rabbit hole (when we were selecting which route to go with Otis packs) here are some of our top eye-opening takeaways that we think the general public of NZ should be talking about….  

“There is an intellectual deceit with ‘recycling’ of plastics; just because there is a second use for your material or you are using a ‘recycled’ material does not matter. It is twice as good [as using the plastic only once], but it is still unsustainable.” 

Photo: Newsroom. Timothy Brake has a mission: to spread the word about waste and climate change.

“Natural, good; synthetic, bad”. For Brake the good vs bad split is relatively simple when it comes to the climate change impact of waste. Natural stuff – made from plants or animals – breaks down in landfill, producing landfill gas, which can be made into electricity.”

“Synthetics are a totally different matter, Brake says. “There is no good news regarding fossil fuel-derived synthetics. Exposed, atmospheric oxygen and sunlight will degrade all synthetics (through chain length shortening) eventually to CO2.” Even polyethylene, seen as one of the easiest plastics to recycle, is a disaster in terms of climate change.

At Otis our packaging supplier is Elopak. You can read here, there are a number of things that make this pack not just any old pack! The packs include a renewable plastic cap & plastic lining (21%) To prevent leakage and ensure sterile conditions we require a plastic lid & lining. However, this plastic is made from tall oil, which is a by-product of the process that turns the wood into fibre (that is used to make our cartons). So yes, it is free of fossil fuels!

"Tetrapaks are good – as long as manufacturers replace the synthetic plastic lining with a plant-based one. With that proviso, in a world where Brake was in charge, tetra packs would be the milk container of choice, he says. At the end of their life they could be compacted and left to rot, producing landfill gas, and therefore electricity."

That’s all we’ve got time for folks, if you have any questions fire them our way, please do read, debate and share the news around New Zealand’s future waste infrastructure.

In Oats We Trust.