Plastic campaigners are still waiting for a crucial piece of zero-waste infrastructure after The Green’s action-on-waste announcement yesterday.
In what is being called “a boost to plastic recycling”, Associate Minister Eugenie Sage said yesterday the government planned to draft a strategy for increasing local capacity for recyclables, but plastic campaigners say without proper collection systems in place, this just won’t fix the problem.
“It’s great to hear the Minister announcing further steps to address our plastic crisis, but we will need much higher collection rates in New Zealand if we’re going to be able to recycle anything at all,” says The Kiwi Bottle Drive plastics campaigner Holly Dove.
“It may shock kiwis to hear this, but much of our recycling is currently being stockpiled or gets chucked in landfills, or worse, ends up in our oceans choking marine life.”
“We want the government to introduce a bottle deposit scheme – it’s a cash-refund system for beverage containers, and it’s getting incredible recycling rates around the world,” she says.
“There’s no problem finding markets for recycled materials from bottle deposit schemes because its not contaminated like much of the material from kerbside schemes and public space recycling bins.”
“Our neighbours across the ditch in South Australia are getting 85% recycling rates and have seen litter rates go down by 65% thanks to bottle deposits – how can we ignore such a great solution like this?”
The government is aware of the benefits of bottle deposits, says Dove, and she hopes they will include a bottle deposit scheme as part of the strategy to get more onshore recycling in New Zealand.
“We’re very excited the Minister wants to get more onshore recycling here, and bottle deposits will go hand-in-hand to ensure we get collection rates that will make the most of our recycling facilities.”
“Bottle deposits and onshore recycling are a match made in heaven, and with our plastic crisis only getting worse, we’ve got no time to waste.”