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New Zealand Government commits to next steps on plastic waste management

New Zealand Government commits to next steps on plastic waste management
December 9, 2019

With the release today of a significant report for waste management, the New Zealand Government plans to phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand report, released by her Chief Science Advisor Prof Juliet Gerrard.

Prime Minister Ardern advised “Our ban on plastic bags has already made a difference as we confront our enormous long-term challenge to tackle plastic waste.

“Many New Zealanders, including many children, write to me about plastic – concerned with its proliferation over the past decade and the mounting waste ending up in our oceans.

“I share this concern for our natural environment – one that sustains our tourism, trade and our national identity.

“There’s more to do and our next steps to tackle plastic waste include:

• Setting goals to shift away from low-value and hard-to-recycle plastic
• Our first target will be to move away from single-use packaging and beverage containers made of hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene. Examples include polystyrene meat trays, cups and takeaway food containers. We will work towards ensuring that these are made of high-value alternatives like PET, HDPE and polypropylene, which can be recycled and reprocessed
• Stimulate innovation and development of solutions to the soft plastic problem
• Accelerate work with local government and industry on better and more consistent kerbside collection of recyclables
• With industry, continue work to develop a labelling scheme for packaging, including plastic packaging

Prime Minister Ardern added “We can ensure that New Zealand’s future is not full of throw-aways but of smart innovations and practical steps to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage also advised that the report reaffirms and extends the Government’s ambitious plan to reduce waste, which includes:

• A container return scheme for drink bottles and cans
• Regulated product stewardship schemes for tough waste issues such as e-waste, tyres and batteries
• A National Resource Recovery work programme in response to China and other countries’ bans on importing waste and recyclables
• Improving waste data
• Expanding and improving the landfill levy to help fund more ways to recover, re-use and reprocess materials
• A $40 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to turn plastic waste into useful material for businesses and consumers.

Minister Sage added “New Zealanders often tell me how concerned they are about the amount of plastics ending up in our oceans and harming fish, marine mammals, seabirds, and turtles. A lot of this plastic waste doesn’t need to be created in the first place.

“Our goal must be to make Aotearoa an economy where plastic rarely becomes waste or pollution. As Prof Gerrard says there is no silver bullet and we need a systems change. The recommendations in this report will help us to achieve this.

“I aim to have the full Government response to the Rethinking Plastics report confirmed within six months.”

Since the 1950s, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced globally and nearly 80% of that has gone to the dump or been discarded in the environment. Some 36% of plastic produced today is single-use packaging.

Related Articles

13th November 2019 - PATA to present webinar on reducing plastic pollution

7th November 2019 - Australian Marine Conservation Society welcomes Queensland government proposal to ban single-use plastics

22nd August 2019 - Australian Turf Club to end single-use beverage plastics for Everest Carnival

17th August 2019 - Ekka showbag sellers face pressure to reduce single-use plastic

1st August 2019 - Zoggs expands environmental commitments with swimwear made from plastic waste and reduction in plastic goggle packaging

18th July 2019 - Zoos and aquariums celebrate and educate through Plastic Free July

17th July 2019 - Cairns initiative sees discarded plastic straws recycled into park seating

13th May 2019 - City of Darwin installs Replas recycled plastic bollards at four sports ovals

30th April 2019 - Zoos Victoria ban all single-use plasticsĀ 

22nd March 2019 - Rottnest Island supports initiative to reduce plastic waste

18th March 2019 - Plastic drinking cups removed from Sydney Showground


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