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Greens welcome efforts to sweep up used glass

1 March 2005

Greens welcome efforts to sweep up used glass

Green Party Waste-Free Spokesperson Mike Ward strongly endorses the Environment Minister and the packaging industry's acknowledgement of the need to sweep up the country's growing pile of used glass.

Environment Minister Marion Hobbs has announced she is to introduce legislation to ensure glass importers and packaging producers take responsibility for glass once it has been used. Meanwhile the secretary of the industry's voluntary Packaging Accord, John Webber, has said an independent specialist will be hired to investigate potential solutions to the shortfall in New Zealand's glass recycling capacity.

"The packaging industry's acknowledgment that glass is piling up around the country is welcome and I look forward to the solutions their independent specialist will come up with," said Mr Ward.

"Ms Hobbs move is also good news, but it is important that any new legislation leans towards re-use, rather than recycling.

"They need look no further than New Zealand's recent past to see the value of re-using bottles and of less packaging. Wheelie bins and multiple clean sacks at every gate, litter lining every roadside and broken glass on every street were practically unheard of prior to the introduction of one-use containers.

"Furthermore, turning a perfectly serviceable bottle into road metal is an unpardonable waste of energy in an increasingly energy depleted world. There are also economic advantages to sourcing more of our glass from local manufacturers and re-filling more of our beverage containers.

"Ms Hobbs could well consider restoring deposits on all glass, with graduated levies favouring locally made and refillable bottles. And John Webber may find that, with that kind of encouragement, industry will be keen to build a South Island furnace, as well as bottle washing plants and exchanges around the country," said Mr Ward.


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