We choose reuse - July 2024

09.07.24 10:26 AM By WasteMINZ

The reuse blog, We Choose Reuse, brings you stories from the frontlines of reuse, in the hope it provides inspiration to others. We will be publishing this blog on a quarterly basis so send any reuse initiatives to fiona@wasteminz.org.nz to be included in the next one.

Right to Repair for Aotearoa is one step closer

A new Bill was introduced to Parliament in April 2024: the Consumer Guarantees (Right to Repair) Amendment Bill.

This Bill seeks to take us one step closer to creating a Right to Repair in New Zealand. It would do this by changing the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) to require manufacturers to make spare parts and repair information available to consumers and to independent repairers so that we can get our belongings fixed if they break down.

But what is a Right to Repair? A Right to Repair gives us the power to fix the things we own - we paid for them and so we should be allowed to get them fixed if we want! When businesses know everyday people have this right, they are more likely to design products to be long-lasting and fixable in the first place. When stuff does break, a strong and well-protected right to repair means it is cheaper and easier to get stuff fixed.

The Right to Repair upholds property and consumer rights, while protecting the planet and resonating with New Zealand’s resourceful, do-it-yourself, ‘No 8 wire’ cultural values. When products are easy to repair, the benefits are obvious:

  • products last longer, saving us money and time
  • more job opportunities in a growing repair industry
  • more autonomy for consumers to choose to fix the products they own
  • less harm to the planet because we reduce broken stuff going to landfill, keeping precious natural resources in use for as long as possible.

The Bill is yet to have its first reading before the house, but the Repair Network Aotearoa is raising awareness of the proposed legislation and encouraging community action to gain support across the political parties. Find out more about Right to Repair here. 

​EU rules aimed at cutting packaging waste adopted

New measures adopted on April 24, 2024, by the EU Parliament aim to  make packaging more sustainable and reduce packaging waste. The rules, which have been provisionally agreed on with the European Council, include packaging reduction targets (5% by 2030, 10% by 2035, and 15% by 2040) and require EU countries to reduce, in particular, the amount of plastic packaging waste. 

But within the rules are also lesser targets to support reusable packaging. Specific 2030 reuse targets for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage packaging (except milk, wine, aromatized wine, and spirits), transport and sales packaging, and grouped packaging. Member states may grant a five-year exemption from these requirements under certain conditions.

Final distributors of beverages and takeout food will have to offer consumers the option of bringing their own containers. They will also be required to offer 10% of products in reusable packaging by 2030.

Reusable Packaging Mandates: 
  • Specific targets for reusable packaging for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (with some exceptions) set at a minimum of 10% by 2030 and aiming to reach at least 40% by 2040.
  • Take-away food and beverages: Take-away businesses will be required to implement reuse systems for packaging by 2028 and shall endeavour to achieve 10% reuse by 2030.
  • Deposit Return Systems: By 2029, EU Member States are required to set up deposit return systems for beverage cans and plastic bottles and the systems should be as accessible for reuse as for single-use packaging. 

Reconstruct: Nelson’s trial to make use of construction waste

Nelson City Council and Nelson Environment Centre (NEC) are running a trial project to tackle the high volume of construction and demolition waste that ends up in Nelson’s landfill. 

Construction and demolition waste has always been a priority for Council’s Rethink Waste Whakaarohia programme. It’s a significant contributor of waste to landfill and this initiative at the Nelson Environment Centre allows construction companies to make sure valuable resources can be recovered and reused by the community. 


Materials arriving on trailers and light commercial trucks will be assessed by NEC staff, then directed to the new facility where the materials can be unloaded. There’s a long list of materials that will be accepted including timber, fittings like doors, windows and kitchen fittings, plumbing and piping, gib, paint, and roofing iron.


Nelson Environment Centre CEO Anton Drazevic says giving people the opportunity to reuse construction materials in their own DIY projects is a no-brainer. 


“With costs increasing across the board, we’re seeing a lot of people through our ReUse store deciding to give things a second life. Reconstruct helps fill a gap in the market. Recycling is often seen as the best option, but reusing materials is the more sustainable choice because it reduces the need to produce new products and can help cut down on waste.”


Nelson Mayor Nick Smith, who has a family background in civil construction, welcomes the launch of the trial. 


“I am excited about the potential of this new reuse scheme for builders to reduce the amount of construction and demolition waste going to landfill and to save on landfill charges. I love the way Nelson Environment Centre, Council and building companies have partnered to make this as practical as possible for the industry.


“I set a challenge to the builders at the launch of diverting 10% of Nelson’s building waste from landfill in the first year and promised a BBQ shout and a free beer (my home brew) if the target is reached by July 2025,” Mayor Nick says. 

This blog is proudly brought to you by the WasteMINZ Reuse Working Group. The Reuse Working Group is an initiative of the Product Stewardship Sector Group but is supported by other WasteMINZ sector groups. Its main purpose is to raise the profile of reuse and make it more talked about than recycling.