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Aotearoa NZ Made - Recyclers & Manufacturers in NZ

A couple of weeks ago some of our team visited Aotearoa NZ Made - a hardworking and innovative recycler and manufacturer on the outskirts of Palmerston North.

Inside the factory lay many inspiring stories, but none better than the wonderful Kevin Joe. We sat and talked for at least an hour about the trials and tribulations of being a recycler in New Zealand, but it was very evident that he and Aotearoa NZ Made are having a significant impact.

We were amazed to listen as Kevin told us off the top of his head where all of his materials are sourced from, how they’re treated and where they end up. But it was evident that it's not always easy - from sourcing materials to competing on price with international sellers that import at a lower cost. But Kevin spends a fair amount of his time personally contacting organisations and councils asking about any plastic waste they may have so that he could give it a second life.

IMG 2489 copy One man's trash is another man's treasure - Kevin Joe with some of the materials he has sourced from around New Zealand.

It was clear that Kevin just makes things happen, he collects broken wheelie bins, milk crates, buckets, milk bottles and a whole lot more. It’s all processed in his plant that runs 24/7 where they produce rubbish bags from recycled materials and on-sell recycled plastic pallets.

Untitled 2 01 On the left we see plastic that has been extruded (stretched) into long fibres going through a water bath to cool, that are then chopped into small pallets (right image).

Leaving Kevin’s facility we were invigorated, sometimes the recycling industry can seem a bit doom and gloom. While we aren’t close to a perfect system here in NZ it’s encouraging to see people like Kevin using passion and some good old Kiwi ingenuity to make a difference.

IMG 2030 Our team thought this message shown on a bin in Kevin’s yard was poetic - Kevin Joe saving the earth one piece of plastic at a time.

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