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Govt admits Accord useless against wasteful carton

Govt admits Accord little use against wasteful carton

The Associate Minister for the Environment, David Benson-Pope, admitted today that his Government’s Packaging Accord offers few remedies for the impact of a wasteful new milk carton.

The new ‘Meadow Fresh’ composite plastic and cardboard milk carton is un-recyclable, in clear breach of the much-touted voluntary Packaging Accord. In answer to Green Waste-Free Spokesperson Mike Ward in Parliament, Mr Benson-Pope said he had no solutions to offer waste workers dealing with huge piles of the new cartons, other than to appeal their introduction under the non-binding Accord. At the suggestion his Government should be making the appeal itself, the Minister said he would “discuss it with his colleagues”.

“I call on the Ministry for the Environment and the Packaging Council to pull Meadow Fresh into line over their new un-recyclable milk carton,” said Mr Ward.

“We simply can’t afford to have such a thing in use. Just today the head of Wellington’s waste operation, Mike Mendonca, reportedly said ‘space was quickly running out at New Zealand landfills’. Every time something like this is buried in the ground, more new materials and energy are needed to create, ship and dispose of the next one.

“Community organisations, such as the Central Otago Waste Busters who first drew attention to this offending item, have a difficult enough task dealing with existing waste.

“Since the groups have long expressed concern to the Minister about the effectiveness of a voluntary Packaging Accord, it is not unreasonable for them to expect that the Government be the one that takes the only available course of action available under this lax regime. Meadow Fresh must be persuaded to discontinue their use of the new package or take responsibility for ensuring that it is recycled.”

Mike Ward has a Private Member’s Bill in the ballot that obliges manufacturers to take responsibility for their products at the end of their useful life.

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