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Waste not wanted

Waste not wanted

The Green Party welcomes a Government waste reduction campaign announced today, but stresses it does not go far enough.

Green Waste Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP said the 'Reduce your Rubbish' campaign, run by the Environment Ministry and local councils, was a good step in the right direction in improving the way we as a nation treat our physical environment.

"But it is only one step and we can't lose sight of the fact we really need a waste strategy with teeth rather than the limp excuse we have at the moment. Instead of voluntary targets and distant timeframes, we need enforced targets and shorter deadlines," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"We need levies on waste disposed of to landfills, and we need extended producer responsibility for all goods produced or used in New Zealand. Only when the polluter really does pay, will there be sufficient incentive for product designers to create goods that are not only reparable, reusable and recyclable but that are actually repaired, reused and recycled," he said.

The 'Reduce your Rubbish' campaign aims to encourage New Zealanders to reduce their excessive filling of rubbish bags with trash that could be recycled or composted.

"It has become too easy for people just to grab a rubbish bag and stuff it full, when the reality is it takes hardly any extra effort to put recyclables in a recycling bin or to drop them off at a recycling station on the way to work or play," Mr Ewen-Street said.

The Environment Ministry has estimated that 65 per cent of the 3.6 million tonnes of rubbish thrown out by New Zealanders each year could be recycled or composted.

Mr Ewen-Street said this percentage could be even higher if people thought even more laterally, and dumped laziness more readily than they dumped rubbish. Used clothing and household effects should be donated rather than thrown out, and people should shop more selectively - avoiding excess packaging and goods with designed obsolescence.

The Green Party's waste policy calls for a target of a waste-free New Zealand by 2020 with clear and significant progress by 2010; and the imposition of levies on tonnes of waste to landfill as part of a package of ecological tax reform.

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