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

No more coal-fired boilers

Canterbury-based Synlait Milk has reaffirmed its policy of building no more coal-fired boilers, with the official opening of the country’s first large-scale electrode boiler at its Dunsandel headquarters.

Think again

Have you given up milk in the name of sustainability? Think again.

Featured

$26m boost to rural health

The government has announced a $300 million dollar capital investment in health, with $26 million going to regional and rural service projects.

New levy to hit farmers

The New Zealand Agricultural Aviation Association (NZAAA) is up in arms about a proposed new safety levy.

 

Winegrower wins a Nuffield

For the first time in 45 years, a member of New Zealand’s wine industry has won a Nuffield Scholarship.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Says it all!

A mate of yours truly reckons one only needs to look at the gongs given out in the New Year…

Easily bought

This old mutt was not surprised to see a number of supposed ag industry ‘thought leaders’ (a pompous title if…

» Connect with Rural News