Pellet fire supplier has bag buyback scheme

Otago Pellet Fires owner Martin Wilkes takes a break on plastic bags waiting to be recycled....
Otago Pellet Fires owner Martin Wilkes takes a break on plastic bags waiting to be recycled. PHOTO: GILLIAN VINE
"I’m not an out-and-out greenie," Martin Wilkes says, but he likes to do his bit for the environment, including having three electric cars for his business.

"Pellet fires are, by their very nature, green to some extent," Otago Pellet Fires owner Mr Wilkes said.

"But the negative is that pellets come in plastic bags. The DCC doesn’t recycle soft plastic but this plastic is recyclable."

Otago Pellet Fires sells 1000tonnes of pellets a year. With 66 bags to the tonne, that means 66,000 plastic bags.

"There is a demand but you have to go out and look for places to dispose of plastic bags," Mr Wilkes said.

For a decade, his company has been buying back the bags at 10c each.

"Environmentally motivated people come here [and] a lot don’t take the money," he said.

An electric truck collects the bags, which are then taken to Timaru. Pickups are made about twice a week in winter, and once a month in summer.

"We’ve a whole heap waiting to be picked up," Mr Wilkes said.

He pays for the pickup service.

"I understand the bags are used in roading materials," he said.

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