The error Labour Ministers made by stopping work on a beverage container return scheme will be reversed by the Greens at the earliest opportunity as part of the next Government.
The Greens will seek to have a Minister for Zero Waste in the next government to focus on avoiding waste to landfill and increasing materials reuse and recycling.
“If the current Labour Cabinet is unwilling to take the most basic actions to reduce plastic pollution and avoid waste going to landfill, then we need more Green Ministers at the decision-making table - including a new Minister for Zero Waste,” says the Green Party’s environment spokesperson, Eugenie Sage.
“A beverage container return scheme is win-win for people and nature. Avoiding plastic pollution and reducing waste costs for councils and communities is a “bread and butter” issue.
“In the last term of government, it was a Green Party Associate Minister that started the work to establish a container return scheme for plastic and glass drink bottles, cans and liquid paperboard containers.
“We cannot see any sound reason why Labour has kicked the recyclable can down the road on this. A beverage container return scheme is hugely popular, so it cannot have been to score popularity points. The benefits far outweighed the costs, so it cannot have been for budget reasons. And the cost implications of the scheme for households are small, so it cannot have been for cost of living reasons.
“A well designed beverage container return scheme would prevent an estimated 1.7 million plastic and glass bottles, cartons and aluminium cans ending up in landfills, or as litter on streets, and pollution on beaches and in the ocean.
“There is no waste in nature; only cycles of energy and resource use. The Green Party wants our communities and economy to run on the same no-waste principle - and that is why we would appoint a Minister for Zero Waste.
“A Greens Minister for Zero Waste would push the next Government to invest in avoiding and reducing waste.
“This includes supporting community initiatives, encouraging reuse and refillable systems and the recovery, reuse, and recycling of materials across the economy from the building and construction sector to manufacturing and agriculture,” says Eugenie Sage.