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Appeal for stricter control on packaging

August 9, 2004

Appeal for stricter control on packaging, says Sustainable Business Network chairman

New Zealand must take bold stricter steps to reduce the amount of packaging waste in burgeoning landfills, a leading sustainable business expert said today.

Tomorrow the Government signs the country’s second voluntary agreement with the packaging industry in the hope of reducing packaging waste.

The first voluntary agreement, signed in 1996 and ending in 2001, failed and packaging volumes to landfill actually increased, according to the Government’s own waste strategy paper.

Phoenix Organics director and NZ Sustainable Business Network chairman Chris Morrison said voluntary approaches to reducing packaging had not worked anywhere else in the world.

He said a growing number of councillors, mayors, and businesses leaders disagreed with the voluntary approach.

``We need meaningful, and proven, legislation to control packaging waste in NZ. Many of use would like to see an adoption of the container deposit scheme.

``These used to operate successfully in NZ but they are currently a huge success throughout Europe, Canada, Australia and other countries.

Under this system containers are valued. Consumers can be rewarded for recycling aluminium cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and so on. Under this sort of scheme recycling rates in Canada are as high as 75 percent almost double that of clean green NZ.

Morrison said his company Phoenix Organics, the national Sustainable Business Network and many other companies wanted the government to launch a committed approach like the container deposit scheme to stop the landfills and waste mountains growing in NZ.

``We promote this country as 100 percent Pure NZ. It’s not the case and we need to get serious about reducing waste.

``More voluntary agreements will not work; Landfill volumes are increasing. Recycling rates have remained almost static. Litter is still a major issue for local authorities and NZ’s image.’’ Packaging waste is an increasingly contentious issue and the public want their say and want action on dealing with excess paper, plastic, glass, steel and aluminium.
The Accord, will being signed tomorrow by the Minister for the Environment, the Packaging Council of New Zealand, Local Government New Zealand and the Recycling Operators of New Zealand.


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