Greenpeace urges Government: "stop playing catch-up" with plastics
Weds, August 22: Today Greenpeace launches an ambitious new blueprint to tackle New Zealand’s plastic crisis.
The action plan has been developed with a coalition of environmental groups under the banner Plastic Free NZ.
"We owe it to our children and grandchildren to work towards a future where coastlines and seas around Aotearoa are plastic free" says Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, Emily Hunter.
"Together we can do this."
Earlier this month PM Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on plastic shopping bags.
"The ban on single use plastic bags was a great first step - but we can’t rest on our laurels - we need to follow it up with a set of carefully thought out measures to get to grips with the other single use plastics (SUPs).
In New Zealand an estimated 77 per cent of the plastic waste washed up on our beaches are SUPs - plastics used once then thrown away.
"The corporations who make this cheap material, who use it to wrap their products and line their pockets need to be held responsible," says Hunter.
"We need regulations to reduce excessive and ridiculous plastic packaging, persuading companies to produce , reusable packaging that doesn’t hang around in our oceans for centuries."
Many other countries around the world including France, Vanuatu and Costa Rica are developing cohesive strategies on plastic. New Zealand doesn’t have one.
"If New Zealand is to live up to its clean green international image we need to stop playing catch up on plastic. We need a plan."
The Plastic Free NZ action plan has four points:
1. extending the bag ban to "avoidables" such as plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers;
2. starting a deposit system for plastic bottles so people can bring empties back for cash;
3. imposing a levy on "problematic" items such as coffee cups, food packaging and cigarette butts;
4. setting the country ambitious plastic reduction targets to monitor progress.
"The ban on plastic bags was a hard won victory which showed that kiwis care about their oceans, says Hunter. "Now we need to keep up the people-powered momentum and tackle the full scourge of SUP’s that are polluting our waters and killing marine life."
The plastic pollution action plan has been signed by:
Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand
Forest and Bird
The Non-Plastic Maori
Zero Waste Network
Kiwi Bottle Drive
The New Zealand Product Stewardship Council
Global Action Plan Oceania