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Waste reduction schemes to get more teeth

6 July 2005 Media Statement

Waste reduction schemes to get more teeth

It is time to put product stewardship policy in New Zealand on a more formal footing, Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs, said today.

The minister released a discussion document outlining the government’s options for encouraging businesses and consumers to accept responsibility for the environmental effects of products.

"If we are to live in a fair society and on a healthy planet, we have to get better at reducing the amount of waste we produce, as well as reusing and recycling more of it," the minister said.

"The discussion document reflects the government's commitment to sustainable development. We want to grow our economy while maintaining a healthy environment.

"Waste is a key environmental issue for New Zealand. The government’s 2002 New Zealand Waste Strategy sets out a long-term vision for reducing waste, effective resource use and better management of residual waste.

"Product stewardship is a tool with the potential to greatly improve how we deal with waste. It requires producers, brand owners, importers and consumers to accept responsibility to help manage the environmental effects of the products through their life cycle.

"Several useful industry-led product stewardship schemes already exist in New Zealand, including the 2004 New Zealand Packaging Accord aimed at reducing packaging waste and Tyre Track, which is directed at the better management of old tyres.

"The document discusses the issues involved with product stewardship. While it sets out a preferred option, the final shape of a product stewardship policy and its adoption by government will be determined after consultation."

The document also proposes a water efficiency labelling scheme for whiteware, toilets and taps. This is linked to Australian initiatives to improve water use efficiency, but can also save energy by reducing hot water use and reduce the amount of wastewater going into septic tanks.

"I encourage all interested parties to comment on the proposals in this document and to help the development of a product stewardship and water efficiency labelling policy for New Zealand," Marian Hobbs said.

Consultation on the document, available at www.mfe.govt.nz, closes on 31 August 2005.

ENDS

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