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Packaging Accord – Effective Product Stewardship

27th October 2005

Packaging Accord - An Example Of Effective Product Stewardship

Business leaders from companies representing 85% of New Zealand's packaging production and 95% of the country's supermarket trade joined Environment Minister David Benson-Pope, representatives from local and national Government and the recycling operators this evening to celebrate a fruitful first year of the voluntary Packaging Accord 2004.

Tony Nowell, Chair of the Accord's Governing Board said that the Accord's performance had exceeded expectations in Year One:

"Initially intended as a benchmarking year which would enable us to establish a framework for future joint work programmes, I am delighted to report that Accord members have risen to the challenge of how to meet their objectives set out in the Sector Plans."

"The level of participation required by the sector specific and cross sector working groups cannot be underestimated. In a competitive job market, industry operates increasingly "lean" management structures and so finding management resource to drive the process is not easy.

Nor is asking companies more traditionally used to competing to co-operate towards a common goal of using less packaging and developing sustainable markets for new and recycled materials. But where there is a will there is a way and the achievements in this first year speak for themselves. We have made good progress which we anticipate will be exceeded in the second year as we continue to work together to deliver the Accord's five year targets."

The occasion was marked by the publication of an Annual Report which highlights the achievements of the key packaging sectors which are steel, paper, plastics, aluminium and glass as well as brand owners and retailers working through the Packaging Council and supported by key signatories Local Government New Zealand, Central Government and the Recycling Operators of New Zealand.

Major achievements include:

- a voluntary agreement by the majority of the direct glass importers to pay $1.5 million to help sustain glass packaging recovery which also increased glass recovery to 50% despite the commercial challenges faced by this sector;

- an impressive 72% recovery figure for paper packaging;

- an increase in plastics packaging recycling by over 4000 tonnes with a 41% increase in the use of recovered materials by plastics manufacturers;

- start up of a 10 year steel can recovery arrangement in parts of Auckland, including a wider range of steel packaging for collection: and

- creation of a cross sector Environmental Beverage Action Group which has focused on finding solutions to allow people to easily recycle their drinks containers when they are away from their home or office.

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope today commended those involved:

"The Accord's achievements illustrate the importance of joint efforts to reduce the impacts of packaging waste. The Accord is a positive example of an industry that voluntarily takes responsibility for the impacts of their products from cradle-to-grave," said Mr Benson-Pope. "I encourage more industries to set up similar initiatives."


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