We live in the beautiful Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. A quiet, peaceful little village hugging the shores of the Tauranga Harbour and 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 one another.
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. I have dabbled with a few options to keep them out of landfill on this beautiful island. These are the most user-friendly solutions to recycling Tetrapaks I could share:
Creating a Seedling Tray:
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. (See photo above)
Fill the prepared seed trays with seedling mix and sow your seeds. Wait for the magic of growth to reveal itself. The tetrapak seed trays became quite soft after a few weeks, so it is easy to pop individual seedlings out before planting into vegetable beds or garden.
Turn an old Tetra Pak 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 the entire pak in half (i.e two concertinaed folds). Cut rounded corners on top cover to fold over and fasten with either ribbon or button. I will show the steps in my next post.
Above is a coin purse. 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. I inquired at my local council, they were befuddled by the question of recycling these things and had to hand me 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. So why are we accepting these in our shops if we can’t recycle them? The Tetra Pak Travel Sewing Kit below is from organic coconut water packaging which happens to have been originally 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 Tetra Pak with a longer shelf life and ship it all over the world! Let’s not be concerned that the Tetrapak container is not recyclable everywhere it will end up!! And let’s brand it ads Certified BioGro Organic!
Truly, I think common sense is no longer common!!
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??