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PlaceMakers wages war on plastic

With help from ECKO Fastening Systems Ltd, PlaceMakers Fastenings Category Manager Dean McGowan is putting the nail in the coffin of plastic packaging instore

PlaceMakers is undertaking an NZ first by converting its fastenings range from plastic bags, clams, boxes and pails to cardboard boxes, starting with the loose nail range that will eliminate 55,000 poly bags and 60,000 plastic boxes going to landfill annually.

“It’s the biggest change to loose nails in over 20 years, spearheaded by a category proud to say ‘we know a thing or two about fastenings’ and supported by Kiwi-supplier ECKO Fastening Systems Ltd,” says Dean.

“The move is unique to New Zealand and provides a ground-breaking in-store customer experience that’s exclusive to PlaceMakers.

A tricky but vital process

As a main supplier, ECKO Fastening Systems Ltd was keen to help.

“At a supplier event about two years ago, PlaceMakers made it clear it was moving towards a more environmentally sustainable way of operating, and that packaging would be part of that,“ says ECKO's National Sales Manager Shaun Matheson. “As a small Kiwi-owned company, we wanted to do our part, so we set out to create packaging that would be environmentally and customer friendly, and that could meet or even exceed PlaceMakers sustainable aspirations.“

After extensive research and several trials, ECKO came up with a cardboard packaging robust enough to withstand a few falls and eye-catching enough for customers to recognise what it was.

“There were a few challenges, such as finding out how to produce vivid colours on boxes without using gloss, and finding plastic-free tape strong enough to hold them together, but we got there in the end!

The only plastic we have is in the viewing pane of some products, but even that will change in the future. So far it’s working well, and customers are telling us that this is exactly what they need.”

It wasn’t an easy process for ECKO, but Shaun says it was well worth it. “Designing our packaging took a lot of cost and time and testing – but, for us, to be able to call ourselves 100% Kiwi, we need to look after our environment.”

Customer feedback

Some customers have done a double take to check they're in the right aisle when in-store at PlaceMakers, but quickly realise they are and have been impressed by the quality and presentation of the new packaging.

“Customers have been really positive,” says Shaun. “After some initial surprise, a customer in the Hutt City branch couldn’t endorse the change enough – he said it was like getting rid of plastic bags in shops, a much-needed and very welcome change!”

Comments aside, Dean says the numbers speak for themselves – more than 32,000 boxes have sold since the rollout of the new cardboard packaged range was completed in February, that’s 32,000 fewer plastic boxes that have gone to landfill.

“It’s great to see PlaceMakers placing importance on this, and working together with a local Kiwi supplier to make it happen.


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