Recycled Posts the Future of Sustainable Fencing

Central Otago farms and vineyards may have better access to sustainable fencing soon.

Waiuku-based farmer Jerome Wenzlick, who developed fenceposts made from recycled plastic, said he couldn't keep up with demand.

Wenzlick started Future Post after trying to build a wooden security fence around an industrial section that used to be a landfill.

He said the posts would break as they banged them into the ground, so they'd have to dig holes, but each was full of plastic and rubbish. That was when he came up with the idea to melt the plastic waste into a more durable fencepost that would repurpose the rubbish.

In nearly four years, Wenzlick designed and built a unique machine and system that takes all the different types of plastic waste and turns it into a fence post.

The posts consist of all plastic types except those with recycling codes 1 (soft drink bottles and biscuit trays) and 3 (pipes, film and wire coatings).

Plastics are sourced from companies including Fonterra, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and initiatives like the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme.

Some farms and vineyards, including Chard Farm and Cloudy Bay, are using the posts.

Wenzlick endeavours to get costs equal to or lower than wooden fencing and plans to open a plant in the upper South Island before expanding into the lower half.

Direct from the factory, the Future Post is less than a timber equivalent, but the transport to the South Island adds to the cost of the post, said Wenzlick.

If he had to estimate the longevity of the posts, Wenzlick said they'd last 50 years but would more likely last 10 times that. And if they broke, they could be re-melted into a new post.

Wenzlick also runs his own farm alongside the business and hopes to double its output by year-end.