The significant growth of New Zealand’s apple industryhas presented an unforeseen challenge; the disposal of plastic irrigation pipes on redeveloped orchards. However, some creative environmental thinking is helping address the issue.

Bostock New Zealand has teamed up with Aotearoa New Zealand Made to recycle over 80km of pipes removed from its Hawke’s Bay orchards over winter. The pipes have been turned into black damp proof film for the building industry and black rubbish bags.

“This is plastic that would usually go to landfill, but we are making a conscious effort to design waste out of the business and transition from a linear economy to reduce our orchard waste and recycle wherever possible,” said Bostock New Zealand orchard waste coordinator, Lisa Arnold.

“If the pipes were stretched out, they would cover around 80km – half the distance to the recycling station.”

With orchards across the Hawke’s Bay undergoing re-development, the pipes are a waste material the region will have to process more over coming years. Fortunately there is a demand for the repurposed products.

“The demand for this material is growing as the building industry is requiring more and more building film as it expands,” said Kevin Joe, manager of Aotearoa New Zealand Made.

“The more we can keep recycling and re-using the better. What is one businesses trash becomes another businesses well used material.”