New Zealand’s government has announced that it has started work on introducing a formal container return scheme (CRS) in the country, as a way to reduce single-use packaging waste.
The proposed CRS was announced by the country’s associate minister for the environment Eugenie Sage at the WasteMINZ Conference in Hamilton, and the project aims to minimise waste and increase recycling rates by making it easier to return containers throughout the country.
The scheme will design a comprehensive CRS proposal for New Zealand, to be presented to the government by August 2020.
According to figures provided by New Zealand’s government, an estimated two billion glass, plastic, aluminium, paperboard and other single-use drink containers are consumed each year in New Zealand.
Formal deposit return schemes (DRS) are currently operated in around 40 countries worldwide, and countries operating a DRS typically achieve 80-95% recycling rates, according to a report published by the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee.
Eugenie Sage said: “Citizens, councils and stakeholders have been calling for a well-designed container return scheme to recover the millions of beverage containers used each year so they can be re-used and recycled.
“Today I’m pleased to announce that work is underway to design a fit-for-purpose scheme for New Zealand.
“A container return scheme would change the way New Zealanders see beverage containers.
“They would again become something of value, and we would see increased recycling and new opportunities for refilling. When consumers recycle their drink bottles, they would get a deposit back, which incentivises higher recycling rates.”
Chris Litchfield, managing director for Coca-Cola Amatil NZ & Fiji welcomed the announcement: “We’re pro-collection and believe that a collaborative, system approach is a positive step to close the loop on valuable plastics in New Zealand for a circular economy.
“We support a combined effort from Government, Iwi, industry and community to achieve this and we are fully committed to doing our part to ensure best practice.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019