This Kiwi company has come up with an environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional wooden fence post – the choice of New Zealand farmers for decades. Their innovative plastic fence post recycles plastic waste, is longer lasting, and is better for the environment.

Each plastic fence post contains about 250 recycled milk bottles and 1,100 bread bags manufactured by impressive new company, Future Post, which aims to recycle the equivalent of a billion plastic bags per year by 2025, with help from Kiwibank.

That’s a more than respectable dent in the estimated 380,000 tonnes of plastic waste dumped in New Zealand every year. It also provides an acceptable alternative to tanalised fence posts – the choice of New Zealand farmers for decades but which are treated with chemicals like arsenic.


Watch our episode on Future Post in our Business for Better series, created in partnership with TVNZ Sunday.

Now, with Kiwibank, Future Post is expanding to meet burgeoning demand – building a second factory in Blenheim to partner their Waiuku premises – and looking ambitiously at the world market.

The story of how Wenzlick came to merge plastic and posts was, as many good business ideas are, a bit of an accident. He was fencing out the back of Auckland when his wooden posts kept snapping. Under the surface he found a buried garbage dump. The posts were breaking on compacted plastic rubbish.

I just thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful to turn all of this plastic into a post that’s a bit stronger than a wooden one, so it won't break.
Jerome Wenzlick, Future Post Founder

Wenzlick was in a unique position – a stint as a diesel mechanic meant he knew how to commission the machinery he would need: “We designed something on paper and then built it. We eventually got something that works. It has been a heck of a process. It’s not just the idea. It's actually building the machinery and then there's the chemical side of things, and where you get the supply of plastics and the marketing and distribution.

At the Waiuku factory about 2,000 pieces of diaphanous soft plastic wrapping and bags, harder plastic bottles, ice cream containers and plastic drums go in at one end, and a tough, 1.8m pointed plastic post comes out the other end.

Wenzlick knew farmers and people undertaking home improvements would use the new posts – but vineyards are also big customers and will take all the production from the Blenheim factory. Future Post, General Manager Hassan Wong says wineries in the South Island will be able to solve a major problem — about 10 per cent of vineyard posts break each year in the mechanised harvesting process.

“The industry has to deal with about half a million broken posts a year,” he says, “posts that can't be burned because they're tanalised with chemicals including arsenic .” Overall, some 400,000 tonnes of noxious waste has to be dealt with across the country every year when tanalised posts are broken or discarded, according to the Ministry of Environment..

Kiwibank Business Banking Regional Manager, Rudi Bansal, says Kiwibank sought to act as a catalyst for Future Post: “They were looking to increase their production because they had a lot of demand – but needed a funder to allow them to do that without diluting their equity.”

We've started this business from scratch, from absolutely nothing, not even a simple little thing like a logo.
Jerome Wenzlick, Future Post Founder

Future Post had struggled to get funding before Kiwibank came along with its focus on mixing sustainability and profitability, he says. “If it wasn't for that [Future Post] technology, all that plastic would be going into a landfill. We saw really good economics underpinning a profitable business, but also a really good, sustainable way of doing things for the environment”

Kiwibank’s involvement was also a way to keep the company in New Zealand rather than funding and ownership coming in from overseas. While Future Post currently exports to smaller countries where plastic supply and demand are not great enough to justify a factory, larger countries are likely to see the company’s technology exported there rather than the actual product.

“For Future Post, there's still a lot of demand to be fulfilled in terms of just meeting the New Zealand demand, then perhaps exporting the technology to the world,” Bansal says, adding that, as a B Corp-certified company, Kiwibank has internal expertise in sustainable financing and understanding of such businesses, and the ambition and ability to walk alongside Future Post as it grows.

But the last word should probably go to Wong, who says Future Post plastic posts come in any colour – as long as it’s black, as that is the colour of the additive that keeps them strong and guards against degrading.

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