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Waste reduction targets on track

4 March 2004 Media Statement

Waste reduction targets on track

The number of landfills in New Zealand has reduced from 300 to 100 since 1995 and 95 percent of New Zealanders will have access to recycling by 2005, a Ministry for the Environment waste report has found.

Two years into the national waste strategy, councils have made good progress towards setting local and regional targets for waste reduction according to the report – Review of Targets in the New Zealand Waste Strategy 2004 – published today.

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs says targets are a practical way to support initiatives to minimise waste throughout New Zealand and the review is good news.

"While it's still early days in the strategy, the review clearly shows that councils are taking the challenge of reducing waste on board and making good progress," Marian Hobbs said. "The review provides a useful stock take on progress and includes input from all the major players including industry and local government.

"Closing substandard landfills, providing access to recycling, and on-going cooperation between businesses, the community and government in seeking to reduce waste is all strong evidence of success."

The report estimates that by 2010, there will be less than 50 landfills in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Waste Strategy outlines a number of national targets for action to reduce and better manage waste.

"The strategy was a joint exercise between the ministry and local government and sets national targets around waste minimisation, disposal, and monitoring. The targets serve to focus action on improving the way we deal with waste and provide a clear basis for monitoring our success. The review set out to investigate the targets and means of assisting councils in being able to meet these targets," Marian Hobbs said.

The review also found that some parts of the strategy would be easier to meet than others. For example, with increasing private sector involvement in managing waste, issues such as commercial sensitivity are increasingly important.

"The ministry is working with councils and the recycling and disposal industry to develop a practical and collaborative approach to making sure these targets can be reached," Marian Hobbs said.

To further assist local government meet the strategy's targets, the ministry is working with industry and local government to develop a Packaged Goods Accord and is coordinating a national collection programme of unwanted agricultural chemicals. The ministry is also leading a product stewardship policy for New Zealand that will see producers and others take care of products through their life and successfully implemented the 'Reduce Your Rubbish' public awareness campaign with regional councils.

Progress towards the strategy's waste targets will be reviewed again in 2006.

ENDS

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