By: SWE On: February 01, 2022 In: Environment Comments: 0

A forward-thinking collaboration between two New Zealand firms is seeing plastic gain a new lease of life in the South Island. SWE and RX Plastics have teamed up in a pilot project to recycle and reuse polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”) and soon to be polyethylene (“PE”) materials from vineyards and projects around Marlborough.

RX Plastics have set up the pilot system at SWE’s headquarters – which sees the products cleaned, then sorted into their category. Once checked they are collected and returned to their Tinwald factory for regrinding and repurposing. The PVC is reground and made into other products. The PE material is also reground and pelletised, ready to be used in a myriad of other new products. This reduces the waste to landfill from these products by an estimated 99%, with the rubber rings from within the PVC sockets the only remaining part not able to be recycled – yet.

Steve Pitts, Territory Manager for RX Plastics explains, “we’ve been working with SWE since they first opened their doors. When Stephen came to me a few years ago, asking what we could do to help reduce their waste to landfill, it put things in motion. We’re all very excited to have this pilot now underway here in Marlborough.”

Pitts says, “it’s still early days, and at this point we are trialling it with SWE here in Marlborough. However, I’m really confident this is going to be successful – and at that point we’d be looking to open it up nationally to our clients.”

SWE’s Managing Director Stephen Leitch says their motivation to decrease waste came to the forefront when they became Toitū carboNZero accredited in 2017. The company has nine active “shift projects” (and another half dozen already completed), that “shift” SWE from its current emissions output to a reduced one. “Our shift projects us from where we are now, to a place that better meets our mission. An example of one of our active shift projects is to have zero waste to landfill. We have been working hard with all our suppliers to look at how we can reduce, reuse and recycle – and this pilot project with RX Plastics came out of that work.”

RX Plastics were pleased to work together on a solution. “We got involved because we are always looking for ways to improve our environmental footprint – and we want to support our client’s sustainability goals too”, says Pitts. “Our products are designed to be used for 50-100 years plus. And if we can recycle them at end-of-life, well that completes the circle perfectly.”

Dripline and drippers are not included in the scope of this pilot project, but we are exploring a trial with another supplier to deal with that.


This story has also been featured in the Winepress Magazine. You can read that article in the WinePress magazine here.


Recycling project with RX Plastics - Stephen Leitch & Stephen Pitts

Stephen Leitch,(Managing Director, SWE and Member of the pilot project committee) with Steve Pitts (Territory Manager for RX Plastics and Member of the pilot project committee)