NZ Dairy Autumn 2022

78 | nzdairy DAIRY SERVICES » Future Posts Jerome came up with his brilliant idea while digging postholes. Richard Loader In the true spirit of an innovative Kiwi start-up business, Future Post Ltd origins has that number eight wire ring of finding a brilliant solution to a challenging situation. Thames dairy farmer and fencing contractor Jerome Wenzlick had been putting up a security fence around an old rubbish dump and as wooden posts were rammed into the ground they kept snapping. Digging postholes Jerome discovered large deposits of plastic rubbish, giving birth to his brilliant idea that has become a successful Kiwi business. “I was pulling up these piles of plastic and the thought was if I could just melt it down I could make a post out of it,” says Jerome. “I was trying to solve two problems really — longevity and quality of timber posts and this waste plastic making a mess. I talked to a lot of experts in the plastics industry and most said it couldn’t be done. But I knew there was a need for what we were doing both practically and environmentally. A lot of the people I spoke to who weren’t plastics experts said it was a bloody good idea — do it.” So in July 2018, after several months of R&D Future Post Ltd moved into empty premises in Waiuku Business Park awaiting the development of machinery custom built to make plastic fence posts. “The main machine that melts the chipped plastic down mixes and forces it into a mould then cools it down was unique, and had to designed and developed from scratch. South Waikato Precision Engineering built the bulk of that machine. You can’t really build a proto-type machine to test your idea. We had to rely on our experience and gut feel to say, yep, we’ll make this work.” Fonterra came on board from the start supplying Innovative Kiwi start-up milk bottles and the timing was perfect for the Soft Plastic Recycling scheme which now supply about 50 tonnes of soft plastics a month. “As we’ve grown other firms that produce plastic waste have also got on board, including Smart Environmental, Northland Waste, EnviroWaste, and Reclaim. In total we process about 140 tonnes of plastics a month, transforming it into beautiful black fence posts of varying diametres and lengths.” Jerome compares the process of making plastic posts to cooking, except there was no tried and proven recipe to follow. Different kinds of plastics have different numbers, with seven types in total. A number 2 plastic will melt and behave differently to a number 4 plastic. “Part of the pain and suffering was working out what the right recipe was and what works. If we get swamped with one particular type of plastic we know we can look at that recipe and make a post out of that. Everything that comes in here is sorted into individual types and the various plastic types mixed according to the recipe. We put an inconsistent input into the machine and make a consistent end product. The one thing we add is recycled carbon solely for UV stability and giving the posts the black colour.” The posts are proving popular amongst a very diverse range of customers including agricultural farmers, viticulturists, oyster farmers, horse studs and residential homeowners. “For me, being a farmer, it’s about the longevity. Knowing you can put a post in and it wont be rotten at ground level in ten years. Every post is the same as the last one, whereas with timber there is natural variation. The equine people love them because the horses don’t chew the plastic posts, oyster farmers use them because the plastic posts aren’t affected by moisture and vineyards use them because there is no CCA treatment that can leach into the soil. Future Post Ltd is Biogro certified and the posts can be used in organic farm conditions. And it is 100% made out of recycled plastics, so we’re stopping plastic going to landfill.” As well as supplying the domestic market Future Post is now sending posts to Australia, Fiji, with Canada and America to follow in the next quarter. The business has grown to a team of 18 and is a couple of weeks away commissioning a second line to keep up with demand. More staff will be required to help run that and expansion into Blenheim is in the business plan. “If I had to put our success down to one thing I would say the team of people here busting their arses to make it happen,” says Jerome. “That includes our staff, shareholders, directors. Everyone who supports us in one way or another.” Steve is available to help with your Planning & Design SUMMERFIELD FENCING LTD PHONE: 03 312 4747 MOBILE: 027 312 4747 / • ALL STOCK FENCING • POST DRIVING • YARDS • POST AND RAIL FENCING • FARM • SUBDIVISION • LIFESTYLE BLOCKS NO JOB TOO BIG OR SMALL Proud to support FuturePost We specialise in superior fencing craftsmanship which adds long term value to your property investment. Fencing in the greater Canterbury area. Free Quotes Reduce mastitis & plastic waste. That’s got the Teatseal of approval. By preventing mastitis with Teatseal, you’ll be one step closer to making dry off pay off. And with our new plastic recycling initiative, you’ll be investing in a sustainable future. Contact your vet or learn more at Zoetis New Zealand Limited. Tel: 0800 963 847; TEATSEAL is a registered trade mark of Zoetis. ACVM No. A7294. RVM; Available only under Veterinary Authorisation. HIGH QUALITY & HIGH PERFORMANCE GUARANTEED NZ MADE Built to last 0800 362 747 | Our range of high quality MD, HD, Telescopic HD and Super HD Post Drivers, Side Mounts, and HARDOX Augers are built to last, designed to withstand the toughest of Kiwi conditions and are simple to use. We deal direct and build to order for our customers so they get the right machine for the job. Get in touch today for more information VU WYPJLZ HUK ÄUHUJL VW[PVUZ HARDOX AUGER GREATER WAIKATO FRANKLIN • AUCKLAND EMERGENCY 24•7 MOBILE CONNECTORS ON-SITE CONTAINER WORKSHOPS OEM SUPPORT