Product Stewardship (sometimes called Extended Producer Responsibility) is when producers, brand owners, importers, retailers and consumers accept responsibility for reducing a product’s environmental impact. To date, New Zealand has had a voluntary approach to product stewardship although the Waste Minimisation Act allows for the government to declare a waste stream as a priority product, which means a mandatory product stewardship scheme would be implemented and all producers, brand owners, importers, retailers and consumers of that product would participate in it.
A Plain English guide to product stewardship can be accessed here.
On 29 July 2020 the Associate Minister for the Environment the Hon Eugenie Sage announced six priority products: tyres, electrical and electronic products, agrichemicals and their containers, refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases, farm plastics, and plastic packaging. You can read more about the announcement here.
This followed consultation that was carried out in 2019. Work will now begin on the design of the schemes. The Product Stewardship Sector Group will be ensuring that WasteMINZ members have input, where appropriate, into the scheme designs.
More information about the priority products and the co-design of their product stewardship schemes is available from here.
In May 2018, we surveyed WasteMINZ members to determine their views on product stewardship. 101 responses were received from both individual and organisational members of WasteMINZ.
The Product Stewardship Sector Group was established in 2018 to advance the member priorities established through this research, primarily advancing mandatory schemes for the priority products announced by the Minister in July 2020.
The steering committee for 2020-2022 has recently been elected:
|Alec McNeil||Marlborough District Council|
|Alexandra Kirkham||Auckland Council|
|Hannah Blumhardt||New Zealand Product Stewardship Council|
|Michael Dudley||TechCollect NZ|
|Peter Thompson||The Formary|
|Sarah Clare||3R Group Ltd|
The steering committee will be developing a strategic plan and work plan before the end of the year.
How can I access more information?
To find out more about this sector group or to join (so that you can receive information about the sector group), please contact our Product Stewardship Sector Group Coordinator Sarah Pritchett or call her on 021 08254 606.
TechCollect will be coordinating a collaboratively designed product stewardship scheme for all e-waste (apart from large batteries as a scheme is being designed by B.I.G.), as announced by Minister Sage on 29 July 2020. They have a FAQ section on their page, and individuals and organisations can register their interest in the expansion of their current e-waste product stewardship scheme here.
In 2019 the Product Stewardship Sector Group steering committee produced a position paper that proposes the scope and principles for a mandatory e-waste product stewardship scheme for Aotearoa New Zealand. This position paper can be viewed here.
Vicktoria Blake’s Masters thesis on the ewaste management behaviours of household consumers in Whāngarei was published in 2019. The thesis can be viewed here.
The eWaste Watch Institute of Australia has articles and resources on e-waste. Click here to visit their website.
Drawing from their Ministry for the Environment accredited product stewardship scheme, Fuji Xerox New Zealand has created a free step-by-step Product Stewardship Roadmap to help businesses develop product stewardship schemes as a first step to a circular economy. The Roadmap shares case studies and other helpful resources.
A Vector led project has resulted in the Battery Industry Group (B.I.G.) project which will design a product stewardship scheme for large batteries. There are over 100 stakeholders from car manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Toyota, Waste Management) and e-waste and metal recyclers to researchers and entrepreneurs.
In 2018 The Vector New Energy Futures Paper was launched, along with the Safety & Logistics Group (S&LG) and the Battery Innovation Hub (BIH). The S&LG is industry funded and will provide guidance on the safe storage and transportation of large batteries, including lithium ion batteries. The BIH will match entrepreneurs with secondlife batteries.
In July 2020, the Associate Minister for the Environment the Hon Minister Sage approved $97,200 worth of funds for the B.I.G. project to design a product stewardship scheme for large batteries. The project will be:
The core B.I.G. group will commit their time, and potentially funds, to help draft the Product Stewardship Scheme. A wider group of experts and stakeholders will be invited to actively comment on drafts of the proposed scheme.
To learn more about B.I.G visit the website here.
Please contact Juhi Shareef, who is on the WasteMINZ Product Stewardship Steering Committee, if you’d like to be part of this wider group: email@example.com
A Right to Repair working group was formed towards the end of 2019 to investigate whether Aotearoa needs Right to Repair legislation, to complement an ewaste product stewardship scheme. The group wrote an article on Right to Repair, featured in the March 2020 issue of revolve and which was then republished in the American Association of Public Works magazine in June. In September 2020 the working group produced a report entitled “Pathways to Right to Repair in Aotearoa”, which can be viewed here.
The working group consists of:
|Professor Graeme Austin||Victoria University – Te Herenga Waka|
|Hannah Blumhardt||The Rubbish Trip and the NZPSC|
|Karen Driver||Envision and the ZWN|
|Dr Paul Smith||Consumer NZ|
AgRecovery recycles persistent rural farm waste such as agrichemicals and their containers and farm plastics (such as mulch covers and fertiliser and seed bags). AgRecovery is trialling the Rural One Stop Shop approach where farmers are able to get rid of all of these waste materials at the same time and know that they are going to be recycled. To hear AgRecovery’s Simon Andrew talking about the Rural One Stop Shop approach click here.
AgRecovery has two product stewardship advisory groups – one for agrichemicals and their containers and one for mulch covers and fertiliser and seed bags.
Plasback is a voluntary product stewardship scheme that was set up in 2006 to recycle farm plastics. For more information click here.
Tyrewise is an industry developed voluntary product stewardship programme for tyres made up of tyre industry stakeholders. To read the Tyrewise Case Study, click here. To visit the Tyrewise website click here.
There are currently 12 Ministry for the Environment accredited voluntary schemes. Their profiles can be viewed here.
Information about how to apply for your own product stewardship scheme to be accredited is available from the Ministry for the Environment.
The EDay Trust advocates for sustainable and responsible e-waste collection and recycling in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Product Stewardship Council is an independent voice for effective product stewardship on behalf of the wider community.
In August 2019 the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced funding for a co-designed Container Return Scheme (CRS), led by the funding applicants Auckland Council and Marlborough District Council. Work has begun on this and more information can be found here.