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Victoria Students Go Green with ‘Bottle Buy Back’

Press Release                                                                         5 March 2008


Victoria Students Go Green with ‘Bottle Buy Back’

Victoria University students promoting the need for Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) in New Zealand have organised a ‘Bottle Buy Back’ in the Kelburn Campus Quad from 12-2pm this Friday 7th March.

Organised by Gecko, Victoria University’s Environment Group, the event is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of Container Deposit Levy Legislation (CDL), its positive effects on our environment, and the level of public support for the model. A similar event held by Dunedin students collected a stunning 1,455 bottles and cans every hour, with ‘refunds’ paid on a total of 7,276 containers.

“New Zealanders consume around 1.92 billion beverages a year, and with recycling rates in New Zealand reaching less than 40%, our ‘Clean Green’ image doesn’t stand up against other countries which achieve 80 - 90% recovery rates” says Warren Snow of sustainability consultants Envision New Zealand, “This type of event shows how simple and logical the CDL concept really is.”

The Bottle Buy Back will pay ‘refunds’ of 10c per container for all beverage containers that can be recycled in Wellington, including glass, grade 1 and 2 plastic, and aluminium cans. Funds on the day are limited, and there is a maximum of 100 containers per person. 

“This Bottle Buy Back incentivises students to turn waste into cash, but more importantly, it will demonstrate to New Zealanders that there is a more effective method for recovering recyclable beverage containers than what we currently use” said Phillip Barker, Gecko Co-leader. “Victoria University already has great recycling facilities, but the CDL model creates an incentive which increases the overall amount of material recycled.”

In a move away from the main drink industry stance on CDL, Foxton Fizz demonstrated their support of the Bottle Buy Back by donating Foxton Fizz for students who brought in large amounts of bottles to a smaller Bottle Buy Back held last Friday.

“The Container Deposit system fits with the philosophy of Foxton Fizz”, said Jeremy Randerson of Foxton Fizz. “The students are showing great initiative in demonstrating how we can reduce the impact packaging has on our environment”.

Also promoting recycling and the CDL model with their support of the Bottle Buy Back are the Wellington City Council’s Waste Minimisation Team, Envision New Zealand, and Victoria University’s Student Association and Facilities Management.

Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) is a market based mechanism that puts a small refundable deposit on beverage containers. Government sets the parameters of the system and the beverage industry designs and implements it.

The CDL model is effective because it creates a financial incentive for people to return beverage containers, captures beverage containers used away from home that kerbside recycling does not recover (over 50%), and transfers the costs from local government and ratepayers to beverage producers and consumers, illustrating a key principle of extended producer responsibility and product stewardship.

The Waste Minimisation (solids) Bill currently before Parliament looks at measures to reduce waste to landfill within New Zealand.  On the 27 March 2007, the Minister of the Environment at the time, Mr David Benson Pope, said that ‘local government would receive assistance with recycling costs through measures in the Waste Minimisation (solids) Bill’[1].  Within these measures support was raised for ‘legislation to enable product stewardship schemes, which could include container deposit schemes to encourage recycling’[1].  So far, no commitments for the legislation have been made by the Government.

- ends -


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