The Government’s waste strategy is not working, but could be easily improved by introducing a ‘cash for containers system’ that would incentivise recycling and pay consumers 10 cents a bottle, the Green Party said today.
A report by Envision NZ shows that less than 40 per cent of beverage containers are recycled on a voluntary basis. Drink containers make up more than 45,000 tonnes of rubbish in our landfills, litter stream and waterways every year.
“The Government is sitting on its hands regarding waste reduction in New Zealand. We pride ourselves on our clean environment and reducing waste doesn’t just protect our environment for everyone to enjoy, it also helps lower our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Green Party waste spokesperson Denise Roche.
“Imagine how great it would be if our beaches and rivers were free from plastic bottles.
“We could have bottle-free beaches by incentivising recycling with refunds on drink containers, which has been proven as a successful model in other countries. The first step is to make beverage containers a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act.
“The Government could put in place a product stewardship scheme and set a target to increase beverage container recycling from 40 to 85 per cent.
“However, National has failed to make any new priority products since they came into Government in 2008, because they have a hands off approach to waste minimisation, as they do for climate change and environmental protection.
“We should question if the nearly $7 million from the Waste Minimisation Fund allocated to deal with recycling drink containers is successful, given that they currently account for an estimated 180,000 cubic metres of waste landfill every year,” Ms Roche said.