Wednesday, 10 July 2019 11:55

Fonterra declares war on waste

Written by 
Future Post makes fence posts from recycled Anchor milk bottles. Future Post makes fence posts from recycled Anchor milk bottles.

Fonterra is planning a war on waste.

The co-op will stop sending solid waste to landfill by 2025 and will by then have 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging.

These are the right things to do and even more important as more consumers choose products that are environmentally friendly, says the co-op’s director of sustainability, Carolyn Mortland. 

About 90% of Fonterra products sold in New Zealand are already recyclable and this is now the aim worldwide, Mortland says.

“We export 95% of our local production to at least 140 countries, so our supply chain is complex, with different infrastructure in each market. 

“NZ has its own challenges, e.g. Auckland is the only city with the facilities to fill glass bottles.

“For glass to be a more sustainable alternative to plastic, bottles must be re-used several times before recycling. Moving heavy glass... back-and-forth to Auckland for cleaning and re-using would cause a lot of emissions. 

“We’ve looked into it but without a well developed nationwide system to sterilise and fill bottles for re-use at scale, it’s not viable.”

NZ-wide and worldwide, households and businesses are grappling with how to deal with waste. The world daily generates 3.5 million tonnes of plastic and other solid waste – 10 times that of 100 years ago, says the World Bank. 

And one third of all food produced is lost or wasted.

Mortland says the co-op will maintain food safety and quality whatever packaging it uses. Packaging can extend the shelf-life of a product and so reduce food waste, so it can be a balancing act.

Achieving Fonterra’s new targets will require innovative thinking and collaboration, “building on the work we’re already doing with Future Post to recycle Anchor milk bottles into fence posts, and Sky City to turn bottles into shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles.”

Dairy by-products are now diverted from landfill by Fonterra’s subsidiary NZAgbiz and used pallets are turned into woodchips by Timpack and Enviromulch for spreading on playgrounds. 

Circular economy

The co-op is moving towards a circular economy, says Carolyn Mortland.

“We’re not the first with these kinds of targets, but we have to be doing our bit, perhaps inspiring other brands and companies to consider the impact of their waste and packaging on the environment.”

The targets are among the co-op’s wider efforts to improve and reduce its environmental footprint across its business.

“We believe in putting sustainability at the heart of everything we do, being genuine about our approach and playing our part. We care about NZ’s natural environment and its protection and regeneration for generations to come.”

More like this

Carbon zero milk

Fonterra has joined forces with a supermarket chain to deliver what it claims is NZ’s first carbon zero milk.

Winners committed to environment

It's not the first time Fonterra’s John Wilson Memorial Trophy recipients, Nick and Nicky Dawson have been recognised for their sustainability efforts.

Featured

Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.

 

Difficult but the right call

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the joint decision three years ago to eradicate Mycoplamsa bovis was a difficult call.

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

Glow worms to cows

Thomas Lundman's work focus has gone from tracking tiny critters in pitch black caves to looking after considerably larger animals in paddocks near Whakatane.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter