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Glass levy welcome, but reusing bottles the best

26 May 2005

Glass levy welcome, but reusing bottles the best option

Green MP Mike Ward is welcoming the temporary voluntary recycling levy on glass packaging, announced today by the Packaging Accord Governing Board.

The Accord's Board has announced that some glass bottle producers are to pay a voluntary levy on imported glass for the next six months. This will keep collections viable and fund work on a longer-term solution.

"Good on the Packaging Accord Board for taking this step and throwing a lifeline to the recycling industry," said Mr Ward, the Greens' Waste-free Spokesperson.

"The Board clearly recognises that the levy is a stop gap measure. We urge that it be permanent and compulsory and the first step towards the restoration of the old, but tried and trusted, container deposit system and a viable reuse scheme.

"While recycling is better than sending used packaging to landfills or converting glass to sand or aggregate, reuse has to be the preferred option.

"We don't want to discourage people from recycling, it's a great 'green' thing that everyone can do every day.

"But it has to be put into perspective, kerbside recycling of glass bottles is a mechanism by which ratepayers subsidise the profits of breweries, wineries and soft drink manufacturers. Instead of the producer taking responsibility for the ultimate fate of the packaging of their product, it falls back on local councils and communities to pay for collection and disposal.

"Ideally, people should be able to get money back on their bottles in the knowledge they will be refilled, preferably locally, not trucked back to Auckland and then put back through the energy-intensive process of turning them back into raw glass that is then reformed as new bottles.

"It makes better sense to design bottles for re-use, collect a deposit on them when purchased, and use the deposits and/or levies to recompense the customers and establish regional bottle collection centres and washing plants," said Mr Ward.


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