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We’re using fewer plastic bags

We’re using fewer plastic bags and recycling more packaging but let’s Rest and Recycle this Christmas

New Zealanders are recycling more types of packaging more often according to the 3rd annual report issued by the Packaging Accord’s Governing Board today. The report outlines the performance of industry, local and central government and recycling operators during the period July 2006 to June 2007 against 5 year recycling targets. In the year reported 57% of all packaging was recycled representing a 20% increase on the previous year.

Paul Curtis, Executive Director of the Packaging Council said that the achievement was due to a combination of factors:

“People are getting better at recycling; brands are incorporating recycling in the design of their packaging; local councils are collecting more packaging types and economic markets are being developed particularly for materials which have been more of a problem such as glass and plastics.”

“High profile campaigns to get shoppers to reduce the plastic bags they use and to encourage children to get their parents to recycle steel cans are raising awareness of the issue. Recycling is an easy way for all of us to reduce our impact on the planet.”

“With this momentum, we have today announced a new Christmas and holiday initiative by brand owners, retailers and local councils. The Warehouse, Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises will be promoting recycling to their customers during December and we will be encouraging local councils and community newspapers around the country to get behind the awareness campaign by including the Rest & Recycle logo with their collection information.”

At the report’s launch Mark Brosnan, President of the Packaging Council put the Accord in context:

“An Accord is variously defined as: an agreement; a settlement or compromise of conflicting opinions; a voluntary desire to take a certain action. The Packaging Accord is all of the above. It is a voluntary agreement to take action on minimizing waste and was a compromise between some who advocated a mandatory solution and others who preferred business as usual. Three years in and with the Waste Minimisation and Resource Recovery Bill proceeding through the Select Committee stage, one might ask what has changed. The content of this report is my answer.”
“The achievements demonstrate just how successful this voluntary approach has been. Our packaging recycling rate of 57% is up there with the rest of the world. Paper and steel have already surpassed their 2009 target and glass, aluminium and plastic are over 95% towards their targets. But we are not complacent – we can and will do better.”
The report highlights:

  • New Zealand recycled its millionth steel can and people are being reminded to recycle steel cans by a campaign which taps into children’s imaginations through the Hanable the Canable character;
  • At 76% New Zealand has one of the best paperboard recycling rates in the world which is the equivalent to saving 640,000 barrels of oil per year;
  • The Glass Forum has invested in community glass recycling opportunities bringing total contributions to around $2 million since the initial inception of a glass users group;
  • Plastics recycling increased by 11% this year with greater emphasis on Design for the Environment;
  • Brand owners got behind the 1st “12 days to a greener Christmas” campaign in conjunction with local councils and community newspapers; and
  • Supermarkets adopted a joint Make a Difference campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags at checkouts. With prominent and consistent messages and alternatives available, people are now remembering their eco-bags when they go out shopping. Since the start of the Accord the retail signatories including The Warehouse have eliminated 70 million bags with a corresponding reduction in plastic equivalent to 17 million two litre drinks containers and are on target to meet the 20% reduction by July 2009.

The Packaging Council recommends the Packaging Accord as the model for other voluntary schemes under the Waste Minimisation and Resource Recovery Bill.


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