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April 2024

PlaceMakers reduces plastic wrapping

22 Mar 2024, Community & Sponsorship, News, Sustainability Focus

PlaceMakers mission to be more sustainable continues with a trial to reduce the amount of plastic wrap it uses as part of a broader waste reduction initiative 

Starting in Auckland, PlaceMakers will not wrap orders unless requested by customers, or if the product is in storage or rain is forecast.

If requested, PlaceMakers will charge a nominal $5 +GST fee to wrap the product, which will be donated to Forest and Bird –  New Zealand’s leading independent conservation organisation. 

Quality remains key

Ensuring that products arrive on site in top condition is still a priority for PlaceMakers and the reduction in wrapping won’t change that, says Nick Scott, PlaceMakers Head of Sustainability.

“PlaceMakers staff are regularly checking forecasts to make sure that product always arrives in good condition, with weather updates sent out to our trial store locations. 

“When it’s forecast for rain, our staff will be primed to start wrapping!”

Customers commend move

Early reports indicate builders have been accepting of the move – in part because staff take great pride in ensuring product reaches site in great condition.

“The change has been fairly seamless and we’ve received no negative feedback,” says Nick. 

“We estimate we’ve already reduced our plastic use by 60% in our Auckland stores; however, we expect this figure to improve over time. 

“Our target is to eliminate 37 rolls of plastic from entering our environment – but that may increase if the trial is extended to more stores!”

The new initiative isn’t only focused on improving the environmental sustainability of PlaceMakers own business. A large part of Nick’s sustainability remit is to assist customers with their own efforts.

“We’re looking to collaborate with key customers to see if we can assist with their sustainability initiatives, to help them meet Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) demands,” he says. 

“That includes recycling as well as reduction.” 

Currently, construction and demolition waste make up around half of New Zealand’s total waste going to landfill. Part of PlaceMakers ESG goal is to help bring that number down over the next few years. To do so, it will work closely with the construction industry.

“We want to be a proactive organisation that works to reduce the amount of construction waste, rather than let stats like that remain the status quo,” says Nick. 

“Plastic wrap is a good place to start, given that the amount used to wrap one pallet is equal to hundreds of plastic bags. It’s an easy win for us to start there. 

“If we change the way we operate, we can potentially save over 15 tonnes of plastic from making its way into landfill every year.”

Part of a wider plan

To save more waste from damaging New Zealand’s environment, PlaceMakers is also partnering with Zero Plastic Oceans to trial the use of recycled Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP) as an alternative source of wrapping. 

OBP is plastic waste at risk of ending up in the ocean and is estimated to generate 80% of marine litter. 

During the trial period, OBP will be recycled into wrapping, and used when required.

The scheme is part of a wider waste reduction initiative, which is also looking into further opportunities such as a trial to use paper-based strapping that can be easily recycled, which could be coupled with a strapping chipper that would chip strapping and recycle it.

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