Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Recycling Tetrapaks

 We live in the beautiful Western Bay of Plenty.  A quiet, peaceful little village hugging the shores of the Tauranga Harbour protected by Matakana Island.  It's a wee gem in the necklace that is the Bay.  On a sunny, clear day, we have these terrific glimpses of the inland harbour, over to the headland of Kauri Point, and outcrops of Matakana Island and Mount Maunganui.  It's friendly, and people pass each other in the streets and greet you.

But I am not here to talk about the merits of living here, more to the point, what to do with the useless used tetrapaks we buy at the supermarket when we purchase coconut water (silly!  They come in the greatest biodegradable nature-made containers!!), nut or grain milks (why not make your own - easy peasy!), or UHT milk (toss-up - plastic or tetrapak, not sure which is better, plastic can be recycled where I live).  I have dabbled with a few options but these are the most user-friendly solutions to recycling Tetrapaks I could share.
Cut the side off of a tetrapak and cut X's in the bottom with a craft knife, pushing a pencil through to create little holes out of the X's.
Fill the prepared seed trays with seedling mix and sow your seeds.  Wait for the magic to reveal itself.  The tetrapak seed trays become quite soft, so it is easy to pop individual seedlings out before planting into vegetable beds or garden.

Turn an old Tetrapak outer into a suitable wallet coin purse or travel sewing kit by cutting off both top and bottom ends, folding the sides inwards to create a wallet effect. Fold them in half (i.e two concertinaed folds).  Cut  a top cover to fold over and fasten with either ribbon or button.  The one above is a great little travel sewing kit.  The irony is that this Tetrapak is for organic coconut water, which happens to have been packaged in a perfectly organic biodegradable outer shell!!  But business being business, some company had a great idea!  Voila!  Let's remove the water from the hard-to-crack outer shell, pour it into a sterile Tetrapak with a longer shelf life and ship it all over the world!  Let's not be concerned that the Tetrapak container is not recyclable every where it will end up!!  And let's brand it as Certified BioGro Organic!   Truly, I think common sense is no longer common!!

 Above is another little Tetrapak coin purse, using a button and string to wind around to keep it closed.  Ingenious, (not my design) but sad that we have to resort to trying to make use of what is basically a useless item of throw away junk!  We pay a yearly fee for curbside recycling.  A few city councils do recycle these but when I inquired at my local council, they were befuddled by the question and had to hand my on to the next operator, who still could not give me an answer!  She searched through her brochures and wall charts, to no avail.  When I asked if they had plans to include Tetrapaks in future recycling operations, there was a disquietening silence.  And then suggestions I call another company or even look on the Council website for the information (I had prior to our conversation!!).

There have been times we have had to buy Tetrapaks though usually I tend to avoid purchasing them like the plague!  What to do with our conundrum?How can we create a groundswell movement where we as consumers, tell the producers exactly what we want and how it is packaged?  And will they actually listen??
Under Blue Bay Skies

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