October Marks Further Single-Use Plastics Ban

Single-use plastic cotton buds, drink stirrers and most plastic meat trays are among single use plastics that have been banned from sale or manufacture from the 1st of October.

“This is the first group of the most problematic plastic products to be banned in a progressive phase out over the next three years,” said Environment Minister David Parker.

“Stopping the sale of these plastic products will reduce waste to landfill, improve our recycling systems and encourage reusable or environmentally responsible alternatives.”

Plastics that are banned from sale from October 1, 2022:

  • Single-use plastic drink stirrers
  • Single-use plastic cotton buds
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pre-formed food trays and containers*
  • Polystyrene takeaway packaging for food and beverages
  • Expanded polystyrene food and beverage retail packaging (such as foam takeaway containers or some instant noodle cups)
  • Plastics with additives that make them fragment into micro-plastics

“On average, every year each New Zealander sends about 750kgs of waste to landfill. Some products can’t be recycled and are unnecessary,” continued Parker.

“These are the first group of plastic products to be banned since the ban on single-use plastic bags in 2019. That has meant more than one billion fewer plastic bags have ended up in landfills or the ocean.

“Recent announcements on investments from the Plastics Innovation Fund, as well as funding to help co-design a product stewardship scheme for plastic packaging also show this Government’s commitment to tackling the problems caused by plastic waste.”

Photo: Ministry for the Environment.

In mid-2023, the next group of single-use plastics to be phased out will include single use plastic plates, bowls, cutlery, single-use plastic produce bags and non-compostable produce labels. Other PVC and polystyrene food and beverage packaging will be banned from mid-2025.

Taking action to minimise waste and problem plastics is part of the Cooperation Agreement between Labour and the Green Party, building on the progress made as part of last term’s Confidence and Supply Agreement.

“The phase out of single use plastic shopping bags was the first step towards an Aotearoa free of plastic pollution. [Today’s] announcement is further progress in achieving that vision," noted Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The phase out of plastic shopping bags showed how easily we can make changes at retail and household level to avoid plastic waste and do better for nature. We won’t miss these plastic items when they are gone either. With a bit of support and advice, switching to reusable products to replace these unnecessary plastics is easy.”

More information here and guidance on the plastics being banned and the alternatives that can be used can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.