19 million bags recycled into posts

In the ten months from June 2019 to end of March 2020, we turned around 19 million bags into fence posts and cable covers. 

We asked Waste Not Consulting to audit the bags so that we could see what Kiwis are recycling the most. 


77kg of soft plastics were weighed and separated into different categories. Non-branded packaging such as produce bags, bakery bags, cereal liners, single use carrier bags (yes, some are still in people’s homes!) and other categories not listed represented 49.5% of the total.

Up to 46.4% of branded packaging was identified in product groups. 10% was chip packets, 9% branded fresh produce and bakery bags and 6% was bread bags. 

7.1% of materials collected were deemed to be ‘contaminated’ – either not soft plastics or food contaminated materials. This is a reduction from 8.7% in the 2018 survey, and 9% in the 2017 survey which shows that consumers are becoming better educated about how and what to recycle.

Most of the contaminated material was from paper, rigid plastic and compostable bags. It’s important that we keep these out of the soft plastic recycling bins.

After the audit, Waste Not returned the materials (except for the 7.1% contamination) to Abilities for recycling.