Packaging Forum backs NZ recycling plan

The Packaging Forum
Tuesday, 14 May, 2019

Packaging Forum backs NZ recycling plan

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage has announced plans to improve plastic recycling efforts and reduce waste in New Zealand, which has been met with support from the Packaging Forum.

Sage’s plans include investigating product stewardship, improving kerbside recycling and running an education campaign to help the public ‘recycle right’.

“We absolutely agree — the time for talk is over — we need action. The Forum currently operates the only government-accredited product stewardship programs for glass bottles and jars and for soft plastics alongside delivering the Litter Less Recycle More project. We are also in the early stages of developing a stewardship program for rigid food and beverage plastics, so we are 100% with the Minister in wanting to take the lead on improving outcomes for food and beverage packaging which is often recycled at kerbside in New Zealand,” said Packaging Forum Chair Rob Langford.

The Packaging Forum particularly welcomed product stewardship, which would help ensure manufacturers and retailers consider what happens to packaging once a product has been used by the consumer.

Last year, the Packaging Forum made a pledge on behalf of its members, including manufacturers, brand owners and retailers, to make all their packaging recyclable or compostable by 2025.

“In order to do this, we need to use product stewardship as a tool for putting practical solutions in place to tackle plastic waste,” Langford said. “Careful consideration must be given to creating a balanced recovery/re-use solution for materials onshore that will deliver world-class results without simply burdening the consumer with costs. Only product stewardship will deliver a fair outcome.”

He also pointed out that resource recovery markets are struggling since the enforcement of China’s National Sword policy saw the collapse of global markets for mixed plastics and mixed paper and cardboard.

“Addressing these issues is key but also complex, with many aspects to consider, such as the different types of plastic and the role plastic packaging plays in food safety and preventing food waste.

“Our current rigid food and beverage plastic project will be looking at all aspects, such as packaging design, alternative technologies and investment in onshore processing.

“It will be fully inclusive and all options for tackling plastic packaging waste will be on the table, as we create practical solutions which will address the key issues and support the growth of a circular economy in New Zealand,” Langford said.

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