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  • Writer's pictureChris Davies. Edited by Martin Galley

Vortica is committed to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Here’s how we do it.

Opening NZ’s first retail disc golf store opened my eyes to the waste often involved in retail and wholesale trading. Just trying to get all the cardboard into our recycle bin was a struggle. And so I decided to adopt a more logical approach to managing waste.

Our overseas disc orders generally arrive in large boxes that weigh up to 22kg. These are rather unwieldy, and hold so many discs that if we reuse them for wholesale orders, they can end up costing three courier tickets to ship ~22 kilos, when only 1 ticket is required to send up to 10kg. And so we approached a local company and had our own custom boxes made up to maximise efficiencies with respect to disc numbers, volume and weight to ship our wholesale and web orders. Up to 3 discs ship in an A4 courier bag. 4 to 6 discs ship in our small-size custom made boxes. More than 6 discs are shipped in re-used smaller boxes or our single-row boxes which can hold up to 5kg or ~28 discs. More than 28 discs are packed into double-row boxes, which can hold up to 10kg and around 56 discs. I will sometimes cut down a new single-row box to make two boxes. However, I only use our custom-made boxes when there is no alternative, and I detail below how I keep this to an absolute minimum. My sister is a wholesale book seller for Pan Macmillan, and she receives a lot of shipments in smallish boxes, because books are heavy. And they are always packed with various types of fill; which varies from heavy plastic film, to expanded beads, to scrunched up sheets of expanded paper packing.

RPM Box - cut down for re-use.
RPM box cut down for a wholesale order.

And so she is diligent in keeping Vortica supplied with small to medium sized boxes and fill, which cover many of our web orders. We also recycle all our double-row RPM boxes, which are similar in dimensions to our own. Our largest recycled boxes (which have four columns), are either cut down to half height (and under 10kg) for shipping of wholesale orders, or I flat-pack them, and give them away to a large second-hand store. They even come to collect them. In this way I leave Vortica’s recycle bin practically empty except for milk bottles, and small bits of carboard from cutting down boxes.


All this reducing and re-using takes time. I have to select an appropriate old box for an order, and often this means cutting a box size down and manually reforming it for an order, to prevent having to use a lot of fill in a box, and to reduce the volume carried by the courier.

Crayons in a huge box for shipping
This is dumb, and hurts us all.

Here at Vortica, we feel it is disrespectful to abuse a courier or shipping agent by sending small items in a box which is much larger than the items it contains. That is the epitome of waste and inefficiency in our view. We are perfectly OK with spending the time and energy required to properly recycle and reuse packaging and fill because it radically reduces the amount of material which goes into our rubbish and recycling, and it also reduces our costs directly by only using new packaging when absolutely necessary. Plus, of course, it makes us feel good to do so! Course Hardware Very early on, Vortica identified that paved teepads are greatly preferable to poured concrete teepads, due to the fact pavers can be almost infinitely recycled, and teepads made from them are easily moved. Concrete teepads are difficult and expensive to dump, and can not be moved at all. And our clients have always agreed with us in this regard, preferring to spend more initially to ensure lower costs in future. And because we do not like the idea of chemicals leaching into soil over time, we have always used untreated wet Macrocarpa for our teepads, as this wood is ground-stable for at least 15 years. So, the next time you make a purchase at the store, or on the web site, you can assure yourself we are doing everything we can to reduce costs, increase re-use, and decrease the pressure on recycling services. Kia tika te rere – Enjoy the flight!

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