Friday, 12 July 2019 10:55

Saving the planet one post at a time

Written by  Mark Daniel
Jerome Wenzlick at the Waiuku plastic post factory. Jerome Wenzlick at the Waiuku plastic post factory.

Working as a farmer and fencing contractor for 15 years made Jerome Wenzlick very familiar with fence posts — now he's “saving the planet one post at a time”.

Over these 15 years, Wenzlick says he saw quality slipping, wastage rising because of breaking posts and at times post availability was a problem.

He had a ‘eureka moment’ during a fencing job next to an old rubbish dump where he had posts breaking on plastics hidden below the surface. 

“Surely if plastics are this tough we should be making fence posts from them,” he mused.

A chance meeting with farmer and recycling guru Bindi Ground led to a business partnership to make premium fencing products.

The Future Post was born and it won the Fieldays Launch NZ Innovation Award at the Mystery Creek Innovation Competition.

“Saving the planet one post at a time,” Wenzlick quips about the company’s Kiwi No. 8 mentality development. 

Developing the plastic required travel to the US to research plastics recycling and back in New Zealand they did more R&D. Then came developing a production plant with the help of South Waikato Precision Engineering, Tokoroa, and taking over a factory unit in Waiuku.

Today, that factory takes in bales of recycled HDPE plastics including Fonterra milk bottles and soft plastics from supermarkets. These are broken down into ‘chips’ which are blended in a secret recipe and then extruded as a solid black post, cured in a water-bath to emerge as the finished product.

The posts are now made at a rate of 300 per day in three sizes: 125mm diameter x 1.8m long rounds, 125mm x 2.4m long rounds for vineyard and horticulture, and 200mm diameter rounds for use as strainers.

The plastic posts have many advantages over wooden posts, says Wenzlick. They last at least 50 years versus the typical 15 - 20 years for timber. And they survive well in harsh environments such as on the coast with its salt spray. 

In use the Bio-Grade certified Future Posts can be worked with the same tools as timber posts. They are sawn easily, take standard staples driven as usual and they suit driving with mechanical post-drivers. 

They don’t need insulators when used for electric fences and they don’t splinter. 

Plans are in place for South Island production to meet increasing demand, Wenzlick says. 

Buy the posts at Farm Source rural stores, priced at a “slight premium” over timber posts. 

More like this

Industry backs recycling scheme

An on-farm plastic recycling initiative, Plasback, seems to be gaining momentum as the agricultural industry moves to reduce its environmental impact.

State funding for recycling

Having declared in July that all farm plastics sold in New Zealand will have to be recycled or reused, the Ministry for the Environment has made two major grants to help this policy become a reality.

Answers are in the soil

Wairarapa sheep farmer Rob Dick is on a mission to reduce his property’s environmental footprint as quickly as possible – and his approach starts with the soil.

State funding for riparian planting

More than 600km of Taranaki river and stream banks will be planted with a million native plants next winter as the region’s farmers take advantage of a $5 million government boost.

National

Wide price range 'realistic'

Fonterra's wide forecast milk price range for the new season is realistic, says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel.

Machinery & Products

Lady muck really does suck

As anyone will attest to – if they’re married to someone with horses, have kids with ponies or are foolish…

The perfect workhorse

Hastings-based Kleer Contractors provides 24-hour machine work and labour for a local food processing plant.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

No thanks!

OPINION: A mate of this old mutt's almost choked on his dog tucker when he came across the musings of…

More sunlight

OPINION: Your canine crusader hears that not all is rosy in the world of supposed rural sector congeniality.

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter