We turn domestic and commercial plastic waste into premium fencing products that perform better, for longer. —Future Post website
Recycling the plastic
By Roger Childs
We live in an age of plastic and have far too much of it on the planet. Some of it kills fish and birds, and the stomachs of dead seagulls on Pacific Islands testify to the tragic toll in wildlife.
Fortunately, action is being taken to reduce the use of plastics and it’s pleasing that supermarkets are using alternative wrapping and bags. It is now standard for shoppers to bring their own bags to take their groceries home, unlike a few years ago.
Numbers on milk bottles and other plastic containers indicate if they can be recycled, but I’ve often wondered what are they turned into? How about farm fence posts?
Auckland fencer and farmer Jerome Wenzlick was disgusted by the amount of plastic he was having to dig through when putting a fence up around a rubbish dump.
He wondered if he could make fence posts out of unwanted plastic and, along with Waikato farmer Bindi Ground, set up Future Post. There was a plenty of trial and error in developing the manufacturing process, but now the Waiuku-based company makes thousands of solid, recyclable fence posts every week from a blend of granulated soft plastics and chipped-up milk bottles.
- Waste plastic is collected.
- The waste plastic is ground down and flaked so it can be processed.
- Ultra violet radiation is used to blend and stabilise the plastic material.
- Once stabilised, the material is extruded into posts.
- The posts undergo a quality assurance process.
- The posts are stored in cool conditions ready for delivery.
Performance and environmental benefits
Plastic posts will outperform the wooden equivalent. They are as strong as timber, but are more flexible and won’t rot, split or crack. Water, frost, insects and fungi can’t penetrate the exterior and they can be post-driven, cut, drilled, nailed, screwed, bolted and stapled.
They won’t conduct electricity and the life expectancy is at least 50 years.
A big plus is that they are environmentally friendly –
- the posts reuse plastic bags, milk bottles and soft plastics
- the company collects the materials
- they can be returned to be recycled
- they are highly suitable for organic farms.
In late 2019 Future Post won an innovation award at National Agricultural Field days. This year they expect to turn 1000 tonnes of plastics into fence posts.
“The thing I like about what we are doing is that here we are, two farmers, and you know farmers don’t have the best reputation but we are actually doing more than most people put together with the good that we are doing,” says Jerome Wenzlick.