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Alarm bells ringing for recycling

The return of contaminated recycled plastic from Indonesia to New Zealand is a wake-up call that our recycling system is failing, said Marty Hoffart, the chair of the Zero Waste Network.

TV1 reported yesterday that 547 containers of contaminated plastic are being sent back from Indonesia to wealthy nations including New Zealand.

“The world has changed, and if we keep shipping dirty contaminated recycling offshore, it’s going to boomerang right back to us,” he said. “We need to take responsibility for cleaning up our own mess.

Mr Hoffart said the Government’s proposal to bring in regulated product stewardship for six harmful waste streams, including packaging, is the first step in developing a more transparent and trustworthy recycling system in New Zealand.

“Government leadership is long overdue, and it’s great to see the Government setting up the framework to support our local recycling industry to mature and develop viable onshore reprocessing solutions.”

“If it goes ahead, regulated product stewardship for these six products will be the biggest change to waste in New Zealand in the last decade,” he said.

Mr Hoffart said regulated product stewardship will:
· encourage companies to design waste out and choose recyclable materials
· level the playing field so that all companies have to meet the same standards
· incentivise more onshore recycling
· improve quality of recycling and more effective collection methods

Mr Hoffart said the Government had played its role in putting forward the proposal, now it was up to the public to have their say.

“People want to know that their recycling is actually getting recycled. By submitting in favour of declaring these six products “Priority Products”, they are giving the Government the green light to bring in regulated product stewardship.

“Making a submission can take less than 5 minutes, and it’s the most effective thing people can do all year to reduce waste going to landfill.”


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