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Government's Last Chance to Get the Message on Plastic Waste

Government's Last Chance to Get the Message on Plastic Waste

The beehive mailroom could be getting back to normal next week after a campaign which encouraged members of the public to send thousands of messages in bottles to Parliament looks to wrap up.

The campaign to stop ocean plastic pollution, run by community organisation The Kiwi Bottle Drive saw thousands of New Zealanders send a plastic drink bottle free-post to Parliament, calling for a bottle deposit system, whereby 10c refunds are given when drink containers are recycled.

Campaign coordinator Rowan Brooks says he hopes the government has “got the message” by now.

“We’ve heard rumours that MPs are getting sick of receiving thousands of plastic bottles in the post which is great news for everyone sending them because it sounds like our message is getting noticed” he says.

“Now more than ever, we need to introduce bottle deposits - our oceans are sending out an SOS as more than a billion bottles are day are being produced globally, and, as a country, we need to step up and take responsibility for our plastic waste.”

“The coalition government includes support for bottle deposits and we think it’s time the Ministry for the Environment properly starts exploring this solution. We’re heading to Parliament next week and have invited MPs to meet us to acknowledge they’ve got the message. If they do, we’ll be able to stop sending bottles,” Brooks says.

“Bottle deposit schemes are the proven best way to clean up the environment, skyrocket recycling rates, reduce litter and create cash for our kids and communities”.

The Kiwi Bottle Drive launched the first messages in bottles in July this year and Brooks says more than 8000 have already been sent.

“It was a really fun way for people to get political and cheeky at the same time and it sent a clear message to the government that kiwis want to get serious about waste.”

The group have based their work on a report released in late 2015, which indicates re-introduction of a bottle deposit scheme could easily take New Zealand to 85% recycling rates, cutting litter by 65% and with additional benefits such as 2500 new jobs in a recycling economy, $26-40 million saved in council waste management and carbon emission reductions. This report prompted 90% of local councils to vote in favour of a bottle deposit scheme in 2016.

The Kiwi Bottle Drive is encouraging supporters to send plastic bottles to the Minister for the Environment, Freepost Parliament, for the final push.

“Keep sending your bottles in - we want to make our point pretty clear by the time we make our final delivery to MPs next week, it’s easy and fun.”

What happens if the government doesn’t listen?

“We’ve found the perfect way to keep the issue on their desks if they don’t get the message. Our oceans and communities are calling for action on waste and it’s time the government stepped up and did something about this plastic," Brooks says.

To find out more and get involved, visit kiwibottledrive.nz

The Kiwi Bottle Drive is running two free events in Wellington this week:

Thursday 30th Nov: Public talk: Bottle Deposits for a Beautiful Aotearoa NZ. 4:30 - 6pm @ Sustainability Trust


Saturday 2nd Dec: Talk + crafting: Plastic Sea Monsters vs Bottle Deposits. Bring kids! @ 19 Tory St



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