Why can’t city Tetra Paks be recycled?
First of all, what are Tetra Paks? And why does the Palmerston North City Council not recycle them, despite other councils across New Zealand doing so?
I am a Massey University student investigating the fate of Tetra Pak recycling in Palmerston North as part of an environmental project.
Tetra Paks are usually juice boxes, milk and stock cartons. These cartons are made up of layers of paper fibres, polymers and aluminium.
All of these materials are recyclable, which reduces the amount of landfill and decreases the demand for resources.
Tetra Pak manufacturers are utilising as many renewable materials as possible to create sustainable containers, so these cartons represent an environmentally friendly way of food packaging.
Nevertheless, it is not possible to recycle Tetra Paks in Palmerston North.
Even if Tetra Paks end up in the recycling bins, they will make their way to the landfill.
Not only is this harmful to the environment, it can also be costly to residents who have no choice but to dispose Tetra Paks in the council rubbish bags.
In many countries, Tetra Pak recycling has been part of waste management for decades. However, only 33 per cent of New Zealanders are able to recycle their cartons in the kerbside recycling bins.
Only a few councils in New Zealand provide the opportunity for Tetra Pak recycling, among them Auckland, Gisborne, Wellington and Porirua, as well as some areas of Canterbury and Southland.
As there are no Tetra Pak recycling plants in New Zealand collaboration with other councils is needed.
So, let’s show the Palmerston North City Council that we care about the fate of our Tetra Paks. Come to the Food Value Discussion at the EnvirovFest on October 5 at 6pm at Te Manawa Museum, where I will have a display and will be collecting votes.
There is also a poll at https://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/polls?cfixed=1
Adele Bittner, a student at Massey University, laments the lack of tetra pak recycling in Palmerston North.