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Kilmarnock helping to reduce waste

Christchurch, New Zealand- March 13th, 2018- Kilmarnock is helping the people of Christchurch to reduce waste with the support of the Sustainable Initiatives Fund (SIFT).

Kilmarnock is a social enterprise that combines training and support for people with intellectual disabilities, delivering positive social impact, alongside, operating a thriving contract manufacturing business. In addition to this, Kilmarnock is helping to reduce our communities environmental impact with their reuse, refurbishment and recycling services.

In a new initiative, Kilmarnock is collecting and baling soft plastics as part of the nationwide soft plastics recycling programme. SIFT funding has helped Kilmarnock to purchase baling equipment to enable Kilmarnock to take on this contract.

SIFT finances projects in the Canterbury region that create or inspire long-term environmental benefits. This includes initiatives that minimise waste, maximise resource efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

The environmental implications of soft plastics ending up in the landfill are considerable and growing significantly. New Zealanders use over 1 billion single-use plastic bags per year.

The Packaging Forum has teamed up with New World, PAK'nSAVE, The Warehouse, Countdown and some of New Zealand’s most loved brands to introduce Love NZ’s Soft Plastic Recycling Programme — an innovative recycling programme that diverts soft plastic packaging and bags from landfill and turns them into new products.

The Soft Plastic Recycling Programme is the first large-scale consumer focussed effort to find an end of life solution to the increasing volumes of previously unrecyclable plastics being discarded by households, businesses and retailers. Over 74% of New Zealanders have access to this, at their local supermarket or Warehouse.

The Love NZ Soft Plastics Programme makes it easy for consumers to keep plastic bags and packaging out of the landfill, empowering households to find a more sustainable outcome for their waste.

Last year New Zealanders dropped off 365 tonnes of soft plastics to their local collection points. Higher volumes are expected this year as collections show consistent growth. Currently, 12 tonnes of soft plastic is collected nationwide every week.

In addition to the environmental benefits, this contract will have a high impact on the employment of people with an intellectual disability for Kilmarnock. Contracts such as this contain a physical element which promotes health and wellbeing and provides new opportunities for employment and training.

As it stands today, Kilmarnock has a team of 85, the majority with intellectual disabilities. The recent move to their new Basecamp in Wigram will allow for an estimated 30% growth in employment within a three-year period as well as the launch of a training academy. This will provide an exciting and tangible transition for school leavers’ looking to gain qualifications and prepare for employment.

Kilmarnock has spent many years diversifying its offering to the business world. Today they operate five very different environments, meaning they can provide much more diversity to employees. The soft plastic recycling contract fits very well into their strategic sustainability goals which are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Kilmarnock envisages long-term engagement in this programme, as well as regular increases in businesses joining the initiative, and volumes collected; leading to a sustainable, financially viable and replicable framework for growth.

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