The popular soft plastics recycling at supermarkets is being suspended until next April because there's nowhere for it to go.
This year plastic sitting in storage containers around the country grew to 400 tonnes after the Melbourne-based processor it was shipped to stopped accepting New Zealand's plastic.
Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme chairman Malcolm Everts said global recycling had changed significantly and overseas markets for plastic were "drying up".
The decision to suspend the scheme was "extremely difficult".
"If we keep collecting, we will build up stockpiles. As a country, we need to focus on local processing," Everts said.
The suspension would enable them to balance capacity and "reset the scheme".
"Due to cessation of off-shore processing, we are still collecting more than we can process in NZ."
They had consulted with their key partners and agreed on a temporary suspension, he said.
The bins will be gone from December 31, and the forum's plan is to reintroduce the scheme in April next year.
To date, the scheme has processed more than 400 tonnes.
Since the scheme started in 2015, they'd been extremely encouraged by the amount of plastic placed in the bins, he said.
"The scheme is kind of a victim of its own success. It's grown so fast."
Everts said they would work hard to find New Zealand-based processors and to increase the demand for their products.
So far, Future Post and Second Life Plastics are taking a small portion of the plastic.
Several Foodstuffs supermarkets in the North Island dropped out of the scheme this month when collection logistics changed.
The original article can be found on stuff.co.nzstuff.co.nz