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Solving a recycling challenge

Mitre 10 has partnered with EXPOL to help solve a tricky waste challenge – what to do with expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Expanded polystyrene (EPS), is the stuff that looks like white boards made of little beads and is often used to protect fragile goods and appliances.  

The programme encourages customers to recycle EPS polystyrene (whether from us or not) as it’s difficult to dispose of responsibly. EXPOL then repurposes the material into new products including EXPOL Tuff Pods, Quick Drain, Under Floor, Therma Slab Sheet, StyroDrain and Earth Green Beans Bean Bag Fill, which is made of 100% recycled polystyrene. EXPOL diverts over 400 tonnes of polystyrene from landfill each year.

Mitre 10 and EXPOL’s polystyrene recycling trial began in August 2019 at Mitre 10 MEGA New Lynn. Early adopters Henderson, Takanini, Botany and Onehunga quickly joined the programme, which now numbers 25 stores. As of December 2021, Mitre 10 had helped divert 11,442 cubic metres of polystyrene.  That’s enough to cover the North Island (114,000km2) in a layer 100mm deep!

While this service isn’t yet available nationwide, we are working behind the scenes to scope expanding our service and add more stores.   

Additional to this, Mitre 10 has introduced a comprehensive Sustainable Packaging Guidelines Policy, which all suppliers need to comply with by 2025.  The policy requires the removal of unnecessary packaging and that any remaining is fully recyclable or home compostable in New Zealand.   This will see a further reduction in the use of polystyrene packaging in products we sell.

We are on a journey to making a real and sustainable impact on the environment, our operations, and the communities we are part of for the better.

Polystyrene recycling cubes are located at:

Non-commercial use only

The recycling cubes at Mitre 10 stores are for domestic use only. They may not be used for commercial polystyrene waste. Anything more than two rubbish bags in a single drop-off needs to be managed through EXPOL, which also operate a commercial recycling service. Please call: 0800 86 33 73 for your solution.

EPS polystyrene only 

There are two types of polystyrene (plastic ID code 6). The recycling cubes are for EPS expanded polystyrene only. The EXPOL programme does not collect polystyrene foam, which is smooth in texture. It’s often used for take-away food packaging but with no alternative pathway, it must go to landfill.