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14 October 2020

Solving a recycling challenge

Mitre 10 and supplier EXPOL have partnered up to help solve a tricky waste packaging challenge – what to do with expanded polystyrene (EPS), the stuff that looks like boards made of little beads and is often used to protect fragile goods. 

Polystyrene is difficult to dispose of responsibly. Kerbside recycling schemes generally don’t necessarily accept polystyrene and most makes its way to landfill Now, however, Mitre 10 customers can drop it into an EXPOL EPS Residential Polystyrene Recycling Cube at sixteen Mitre 10 stores around the country. 

EXPOL, a fellow kiwi owned and operated business, manufactures a range of solid insulation and lightweight polystyrene construction solutions available at Mitre 10. The company’s closed loop manufacturing also uses post-consumer recycled EPS polystyrene to make a range of products, including EXPOL Tuff Pods, QuickDrain UnderFloor, ThermaSlab Sheet and EXPOL StyroDrain which is made of 100% recycled content. EXPOL diverts over 350 tonnes of EPS polystyrene diverted from landfill a year.

“It’s part of our philosophy to create a circular and environmentally conscious economy,” says Managing Director Mark Mischefski.  

Grant Fraser, Mitre 10’s sustainability lead and Chief Legal & Property Officer, says the partnership is  a tangible example of Mitre 10’s Sustainability Policy in action. 

“By working with our suppliers to reduce packaging waste and implementing recycling solutions to help our customers live more sustainably, we’re contributing to a more sustainable future for our people and communities,” he explains. 

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 and there are now 16 stores offering this free service for customers. Since the trial kicked off, Mitre 10 stores have diverted approximately 830m3 of EPS polystyrene, which could have ended up in landfill, to  EXPOL to be recycled into products – that’s equivalent to over 30 rubbish trucks full.

Recycling cubes located at:

  • Albany - 260 Oteha Valley Road, Albany, Auckland
  • Botany - 9 Bishop Dunn Place, Flat Bush, Auckland
  • Henderson - 186 Lincoln Road, Henderson, Auckland
  • Manukau - 61 Lambie Drive, Manukau, Auckland
  • Mt Wellington - 72 Lunn Avenue, Mount Wellington, Auckland
  • New Lynn - 5 Astley Avenue, New Lynn, Auckland
  • Onehunga - 1 Princes Street, Onehunga, Auckland
  • Takanini - 230 Great South Road, Takanini, Auckland
  • Tauranga - 1066 Cameron Road, Gate Pa, Tauranga
  • Ruakura (Hamilton) - 41 Ruakura Road, Hamilton East
  • Te Rapa (Hamilton) - Maahanga Drive, Hamilton
  • Ferrymead - 1005 Ferry Road, Woolston, Christchurch
  • Hornby - 370 Main South Road, Hornby, Christchurch
  • Papanui - 54 Harewood Road, Papanui, Christchurch
  • Cromwell - 20 Elspeth Street, Cromwell
  • Queenstown - 46 Brookes Road, Frankton, Queenstown
  • Wanaka - 100 Sir Tim Wallis Drive, Wanaka 9305
  • Dunedin - 350 Andersons Bay Road, South Dunedin, Dunedin 9012

Non-commercial use only

The recycling cubes at Mitre 10 stores are for residential use only. They may not be used for commercial polystyrene waste. Anything more than a 240L rubbish bin in a single drop-off per person needs to be managed through EXPOL, which operates a collection service for building industry waste. Please call: 0800 86 33 73 ext. 521 for your solution.

EPS polystyrene only 

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