Government's soft plastics recycling scheme won't save our oceans from pollution

The Government’s soft plastics recycling scheme, announced today, won’t address the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans as effectively as a charge on single-use plastic bags, the Green Party said.

“This is a token measure from a government that’s more interested in ‘green wash’ than saving our oceans and marine life,” said Green Party waste spokesperson Denise Roche.

“We launched a Member’s Bill this week to introduce a charge on single-use plastic bags in order to reduce pollution and fund clean-up and waste minimisation education.

“We asked the National Government yesterday if they would support our Bill, but they wrote it off claiming that plastic bags account for little of our waste. Today, they are patting themselves on the back for introducing a scheme that looks good on paper, but will do little to solve the problem.

“Putting a charge on single-use plastic bags has been shown around the world to reduce plastic bag usage and waste. In the UK, there was an 85 percent drop in plastic bag usage in the first six months, and £30 million was raised to go to charities dealing with waste clean ups.

“New Zealanders use 1.6 billion plastic bags every year. That equates to somewhere between 160,000 – 180,000 barrels of oil per year and only one to two percent of those actually make it to the recycling bins. The rest end up in landfill or escape and cause havoc in the marine environment. 

“The Government needs to take the issue seriously by supporting my Member’s Bill, and introduce a charge on single use plastic bags,” said Ms Roche. 

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