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Launch Of New Zealand Waste Strategy

The New Zealand Waste Strategy, designed to address the country's growing waste problem, was launched today by the Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs, and the President of Local Government New Zealand, Basil Morrison.

Every year 3.4 million tonnes of solid waste is sent to landfill - nearly a tonne a year for every man, woman and child living in New Zealand. In one month this pile of rubbish would fill an entire rugby field more than 30-storeys high. And that’s just solid waste to landfill.

The Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand have developed in the strategy a vision and an action plan for reducing and better managing waste.

This broad blueprint covers solid, liquid and gaseous wastes, and deals with waste from generation to disposal. It provides targets, guidelines and economic incentives to reduce waste, and change wasteful behaviour.

Marian Hobbs says the objective of the strategy is to solve the waste problem — rather than transferring it elsewhere.

"It is no longer acceptable to simply dump waste out of sight or flush it into our environment," she said. "The strategy has moved away from a focus on 'end of pipe' solutions to focus on ways to prevent waste being generated. One of the best ways of materially helping our environment is by making and delivering what we need without creating so much waste in the first place.

"Promoting materials and resource efficiency can also result in good ideas such as Fisher and Paykel's appliance take-back scheme. Company-wide their waste reduction schemes brought in $500,000 in 2000."

Marian Hobbs says the success of the waste strategy will depend on government, businesses and individuals working together.

"We are working with councils and Local Government New Zealand to develop a long-term public education and information programme to help change the way we think about waste," she said.

"We all have a role to play in reducing our waste. Our individual efforts, whether it be through composting, recycling or just thinking about what we buy, have a huge impact on protecting our environment for future generations."

A full copy of the Strategy is available on the Ministry for Environment’s website: www.mfe.govt.nz


The official launch will include the Minister and the President of Local Government New Zealand surrounded by 40 babies. The Minister says, "By the time these children are adults I want New Zealanders to have changed the way we think about waste and be acting in positive ways to protect our environment for future generations."

Photos of the launch can be found at www.onlinefotos.com. Just click on the "News" button.

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