Plastics New Zealand’s CEO Rachel Barker attended Minister David Parker’s announcement of the Transforming Recycling consultation yesterday. The consultation covers a container return scheme, standardisation of recycling, and food-waste collections.
"It’s great to see this consultation finally launched as we’ve been waiting to see action on this for the last couple of years," said Plastics NZ CEO Rachel Barker.
"We have a huge variation in recycling collections across Aotearoa New Zealand, making it hard to design packaging for the New Zealand system.
"It also makes it difficult to create effective campaigns that help people to recycle better, as plastics are valuable materials and should never end up in landfill or polluting our environment".
The proposals will boost recycling rates and ensure that materials stay in the system and circulate back into new products. There has been a lot of prior work done on both kerbside standardisation and a container return scheme but Plastics New Zealand would like to see real action implemented as fast as possible in both areas.
Plastics New Zealand has done a lot of work to encourage Councils to collect the three main kerbside collected plastics, #1 (PET), #2 (HDPE) and #5 (PP). Recycling of these plastics into NZ-made products happens right here in New Zealand. In 2021 alone there has been an increase of almost 12% in population access to #5 plastics collection.
According to Barker, progress on plastics shows that standardisation can be achieved well before the 2030 date outlined.
"The Government is proposing that we agree on a standardised list of materials this year, therefore we would like to see implementation of these improvements for recycling in place by the end of 2025".
Barker is also keen to see a further focus on community-based recycling centres. Kerbside collections are not possible for all communities.
"It’s important that we see the collection of recyclable materials available to as many people as possible across Aotearoa New Zealand.
"Some areas are too isolated for kerbside collections, while others have challenging geographies, meaning household bins aren’t practical.
"We need to ensure those areas have community collection points. These facilities will also be an important part of nation-wide collection of resources not collected at kerbside due to their size or non-packaging use," added Barker.
"The more resources we can recover and use for remanufacturing, the better this will be for the planet. We’ll divert materials from landfill, reduce pollution, and reduce our carbon footprint."