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Rubbish campaign needs bite, say Greens

Rubbish campaign needs bite, say Greens

A nationwide campaign to reduce rubbish needs to be strengthened by incentives and encouragement for the recycling industry, Green MP Mike Ward said.

The Green Associate Local Government spokesperson commended the Ministry for the Environment for launching the Reduce Your Rubbish campaign yesterday, aiming to reduce the 3.6 million tonnes of rubbish produced each year by New Zealanders.

"The Ministry deserves praise for its campaign to cut the 70 million kilograms of waste New Zealanders throw into landfills every week," said Mr Ward, a former Nelson City Councillor.

"However, a package of incentives and disincentives to persuade manufacturers to choose recycled materials, like glass, paper and plastic, ahead of new materials; and reusable products and packaging ahead of disposables is a necessary pre-requisite if we are to make a dent in our massive mountain of waste.

"We need to recognise the limited nature of raw materials and discourage use of them by placing a cost on this practise for using up our grandchildren's share of the resources."

Mr Ward said recycling efforts are hampered by rapidly changing markets for recycled materials and the ease with which people and industries can dispose of their rubbish.

"Local authorities, particularly those outside the main centres, are bound to be wary of establishing recycling solutions if the markets for recycled materials keep disappearing on them.

"Likewise, manufacturers will keep producing disposable packaging as long as somebody else has to meet the cost of that disposal.

"So why should ratepayers and the environment continue to bear the cost of the throw-away society? There should be a charge on the package that reflects the disposal and recycling costs.

"At the very least we can insist on packaging being recyclable and that the manufacturers take responsibility for the recycling. Fully recyclable products wouldn't be charged in the way disposable products would.

"Apart from the sheer waste and environmental degradation inherent in our throw-away society, New Zealanders deserve better than cheap products designed to be discarded and spending much too much of their time and money producing and acquiring such products."

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