Uni puts a lid on plas­tics re­cy­cling

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them in the search for Car­roll’s cows.

Barry Moar, who runs a lo­cal deer-re­cov­ery busi­ness, A univer­sity is call­ing on stu­dents and staff to stop re­cy­cling cer­tain plas­tics fol­low­ing China’s ban on im­port­ing waste prod­ucts.

Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (AUT) started putting up signs and pho­tos about the move which will see yo­ghurt pot­tles, sushi con­tain­ers and cof­fee cups go straight into the rub­bish bin.

The univer­sity had been told by its re­cy­cling sup­pli­ers that lent Car­roll a pi­lot and a he­li­copter for an aerial search.

Be­tween the search­ing farm­ers and two flights over the re­gion, Car­roll man­aged to find most of the miss­ing cows, leav­ing 40 dead or miss­ing.

‘‘The amaz­ing thing is how re­silient they are,’’ he says. ‘‘Some of them were washed up to 20 kilo­me­tres down­river, and wher­ever their feet hit the ground, they just got out and started wan­der­ing around.’’ plas­tics graded 3 to 7 had to be sep­a­rated in or­der to not con­tam­i­nate waste and it could face a fine of $6000 if the wrong plas­tics were found in re­cy­cling.

Plas­tics graded 3 to 7 in­cluded items such as plas­tic take­away con­tain­ers, cling wrap, plas­tic cut­lery and milk or fruit juice car­tons. How­ever re­cy­cling bins were still ac­cept­ing plas­tics graded 1 to 2 which in­cluded food jars and wa­ter bot­tles.

AUT’s sus­tain­abil­ity ad­viser WARWICK SMITH / STUFF

The cows were scat­tered along the banks of the Manawatu River – and one was found am­bling down the road near Ash­hurst, nearly 30km from home.

Oth­ers had man­aged to get them­selves stuck deep in the black­berry bram­bles on a nearby re­serve.

Car­roll and his staff spent days hack­ing paths through dense, 10-foot-tall, bram­ble patches to get them out. Lindsey du Preez said the changeover had taken place quite quickly, and so­cial me­dia, pho­tos and writ­ten sto­ries had spread the mes­sage.

With a long-term goal to be zero waste across all of its cam­puses, AUT’s food out­lets were re-look­ing at the take­away con­tain­ers they of­fered and there had been con­ver­sa­tions with dif­fer­ent de­part­ments about what kind of plas­tics their sup­plier used, du Preez said.

Shane Car­roll fought as hun­dreds of his cat­tle were swept away in the rag­ing Po­hang­ina River.

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