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Recyclable ‘in theory’ doesn’t cut it – Consumer NZ

The Commerce Commission has warned a takeaway coffee cup manufacturer for misleading consumers by claiming its hot drink cups are 100 percent recyclable.

What’s interesting here is that, in theory, the cups are fully recyclable. But they just can’t be recycled in New Zealand.

The commission said Glopac New Zealand likely breached the Fair Trading Act by claiming its cups were recyclable, when in fact hot drink takeaway cups aren’t currently accepted into recycling streams in New Zealand.

In April, Consumer NZ reported that New Zealand was the second-worst country for packaging recyclability based on a global trial with 8 other consumer organisations. The study assessed packaging recyclability and labelling of 11 popular products sold across 9 countries – including Pringles, Kit Kat bars, Heinz ketchup and San Pellegrino Sparkling Water.

In the trial, only Brazil fared worse. In comparison, Australia placed third. Hong Kong had the best recycling rate.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said the commission’s warning shows companies understand the power of marketing their products as being environmentally friendly.

“Consumers want to do the right thing for the planet. This type of greenwashing takes advantage of that goodwill for profit. It’s good to see the commission taking action to call out Glopac New Zealand. Companies need to take the shortcomings in New Zealand’s recycling ecosystem into account before making claims that their products can be recycled.

“Recyclable ‘in theory’ doesn’t cut it.”

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