A new report on New Zealand’s plastic rubbish and recycling practices is being welcomed in a speech at the launch by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.

“The report by WasteMINZ provides a valuable insight into what’s ending up in household rubbish and recycling bins around the country. It highlights the value of much better product design so products and their materials can be easily re-used or recycled, and the need to reduce what we use, reuse what we can, and recycle properly,” said Eugenie Sage.

“It’s a timely wake-up call for designers, manufacturers, retailers and marketers to shift towards more recyclable and re-useable packaging. There is a strong public demand for this.”

Key findings were:

  • An estimated 181 million containers showed no plastic identification code or recycling information.
  • 39 percent of household plastic bottles and containers are being sent to landfill, despite being fully recyclable.

“Through this nationwide trawl of household rubbish and recycling bins, we are able to get a clearer picture of the extent of the challenge and the urgent need for this Government’s ambitious plan to reduce waste.”

The audit and report are part of a three year project supported by a $425,000 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund. The project was led by WasteMINZ New Zealand in partnership with councils and done late last year in several cities and regional towns across New Zealand.

“The management of plastic is a global issue which needs government to set direction, provide leadership and put in place supporting regulations, incentives and investment. That is what we are doing,” said Eugenie Sage.

“This report and the recent report Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor both provide solid information to help inform our government’s work programme to reduce waste.” 

That plan 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 and minimise waste.
  • A $40 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to turn plastic waste into useful material for businesses and consumers.

“Many solutions already exist. As we focus on solving remaining challenges, we’ll stimulate innovation, create well-paid jobs, create a more efficient economy where resources are re-used, and reduce our impacts on nature” said Eugenie Sage.

More information about the report can be found on WasteMINZ’s website: https://www.wasteminz.org.nz/2020/01/nz-now-leads-the-world-in-understanding-plastic-recycling-habits/