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Method Recycled Materials Story - why plastic?

In 2019 Method utilised over 26 tonnes of recycled materials in production!

As the ‘war against plastic’ wages on, we often get questioned about manufacturing our bins out of Polypropylene (PP). Trust us when we say the material selection wasn’t taken lightly, in the design process we considered all material and production techniques from stainless steel, to bioplastics - we couldn’t find a material that matched PP on strength, durability, recyclability and of course the beautiful finish.

Many organisations are doing great work using recycled materials that use a mixture of plastic types, but we wanted to ensure that our products are still fully recyclable at the end of their life, which most often isn’t possible with mixed sources.

Comparatively, we’re currently producing our 60L and 20L bins include 50% and 80% New Zealand sourced recycled PP (respectively), and we’re constantly working to ratify the supply and infrastructure to achieve 100% (we’re hoping this will be soon). But most importantly, our bins have remained fully recyclable and at the end of their (long) life, so they can become bins again and again in a circular fashion. Learn more about Method's Product Stewardship here.

The recycled materials we currently used are all sourced locally to our manufacturers, including the curbside collections in Whanganui and Christchurch and some from our friends at Aotearoa NZ Made. These materials depend on the market but often include:

  • 1 Litre yogurt containers
  • 2 Litre ice cream containers
  • Car bumpers
  • Buckets
  • Car wheel coverrs

The ‘war on plastic’ is understandable, we’ve gotten to a point where it’s undeniable that there is a problem. We believe it’s about using plastic in a considered, circular and responsible way, moving away from single-use packaging and products.

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What is Polypropylene?

PP is the number 5 plastic that is strong, durable, resistant to fatigue and heat. It has a wide range of applications in the medical industry as well as food packaging, such as ice cream containers, medicine containers and bottle lids.

When treated correctly, PP is fully recyclable, as we’ve seen with our own bins. Any broken parts, end of life stock or production errors are simply chipped down and re-fed into the next production run. This is why we use pure PP in our manufacturing process, by not incorporating other kinds of plastic or adding excessive overlays we ensure the bins remain fully recyclable. This is why the market value for PP continues to grow, and increasing numbers of recyclers are collecting it.

Another notable reason we selected PP is its strength and durability. We injection mould our bins meaning we’re able to achieve a relatively thin bin base, while still withstanding years of use and the weight of at least 60 KGs of waste on any given day.

We take design and sustainability seriously, and each step is considered.

What happens with Method bins at the end of their (long) life? Find out more about our product stewardship here.

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