Countdown to remove 500 tonnes annually of polystyrene foam from landfill

New 100 per cent recyclable meat trays starting to roll out in stores

1 December 2016: Countdown is rolling out the first phase of its new recyclable meat trays from today, starting with fresh chicken trays in its North Island stores.

Over the next few months, all traditional polystyrene black foam meat trays will be replaced with the new clear recyclable plastic trays.  Customers simply rinse the tray and put it into the recycling bin for kerbside collection.

Countdown’s new meat trays are made out of RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate), formed from re-ground polyester which has been recycled from clear plastic drinking bottles and repurposed into trays. The trays themselves are also recyclable.

James Walker, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, says the business expects to help stop at least 500 tonnes of non-recyclable black foam trays from ending up in New Zealand landfills every year, the equivalent of 70 African elephants.

“Today’s customer wants to know that as a business we are considering the whole life-cycle of a product, including its packaging.  Countdown’s new recyclable meat trays use plastic that is already in the supply chain and turn it into a useful product that is completely recyclable, reducing plastic going to landfill both in its development and end use.

“At Countdown we have a strong record of minimising our environmental impact.  The new meat trays are better from an environmental point of view, easy for customers to recycle, but importantly they’re also stronger than foam to help prevent leakage and contamination, and transparent so you can now see all sides of the product you’re buying,” says James Walker.

Customers in the North Island will start to see Countdown’s own brand chicken products and seafood in the new packaging from the beginning of December.  Trays for other meat products will start to change in stores around the country during 2017. 

The recyclable meat trays are an example of Countdown’s commitment to sustainable innovation and reducing environmental impact.  Countdown won the Green Ribbon Award 2016 for Resilience to Climate Change for its work in increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

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