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Packaging accord a waste of time - Greens

22 November 2005

Milk bottle decision shows packaging accord a waste of time - Greens

The Green Party went on the offensive after billionaire milk baron Graeme Hart confirmed plans to ditch the South Island's glass milk bottles.

The Greens spokesperson on Waste, Nandor Tanczos, says the announcement today flies in the face of overwhelming public support for glass milk bottles, and growing concern about New Zealand's high volume of waste to landfill.

"If Mr Hart thinks he can shut us up with one hasty decision, he is mistaken. We are going on the offensive".

Mr Hart tried to justify the decision to ditch the glass bottles by claiming that washing them causes more harm to the environment than the one-use plastic and card milk cartons that his company plans to use. He also claimed that the tetrapacks would be recycled.

"There are no facilities to either make or recycle tetrapacks in New Zealand. They are made from composites in Scandinavia and have to be shipped all the way here. They are also difficult to recycle. In addition the processing of wood to pulp to paper itself carries significant up front pollution costs.

"To claim that chucking cartons into landfills is better for the environment than washing and reusing bottles is - excuse the pun - utter rubbish.

"Mr Hart is too embarrassed to say that he is scrapping glass milk bottles, and destroying the home delivery service that many elderly people rely on, for the sake of more profits. However its a little insulting to be told that he is doing it because he cares for the environment"

Acclaimed multi-sport athlete Steve Gurney, who has put his weight behind the Green Party's campaign to save the glass bottle, was distressed to hear about their demise.

"Graeme Hart's decision is disappointing. It seems ridiculous that plastic milk bottles get shipped overseas for downcycling rather than re-using glass bottles. This highlights the importance of manufacturer responsibility from design to disposal, and besides it tastes better! Do you like drinking your wine out of a plastic bottle?"

Nandor said, however, that the focus had to shift to the bigger picture.

"This is just a small skirmish is a bigger campaign. The real issues is that all producers, milk and otherwise, load part of their production costs onto local councils and ratepayers because they are not required to pay for the waste they generate.

"That is one of the things that the "Waste Reduction Bill" is intended to address"

ENDS

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