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Recyling targets met or exceeded

Recyling targets met or exceeded

The Packaging Accord Governing Board released the final progress report on the five year agreement in Auckland today. The report shows that the recycling targets set for each packaging material have been met or exceeded. Tony Nowell, Chair of the Governing Board, said:

“This is an impressive result given the impact of the recession on commodity prices particularly for paper, steel and plastics. Last year packaging recovery fell back slightly to 58% across all materials however this is in the context that:

 New Zealand packaging production increased overall by 1.8%;
 Consumption increased by 4% overall with the exception of steel which has declined;
 Recovery increased by 2% with all sectors reporting increased tonnages except for paper; and
 Collection of steel, aluminium and plastics has increased with the introduction of the Auckland Materials Recovery Facility.

“Trading conditions are tougher than ever. Achieving the targets set during a more prosperous global economy in 2004 has required an enormous effort by all parties. Since 2004 the total quantity of packaging recycled increased by 26%, whereas consumption of packaging increased at a slower pace by 14%. On a per capita basis the quῡntity recycled by every New Zealander increased by from 83kg to 100kg. In total, New Zealanders would fill about 22,000 shipping containers with their recycling each year.

“Under the voluntary Packaging Accord, New Zealand has achieved a recycling rate which is on a par with countries such as Sweden, Denmark, UK, Germany and Australia.”

“However success is measured not just against recycling rates. There has been continuous innovation in packaging design, development of new end use markets and investment in recovery facilities. Brands have reduced the packaging used on products, often in ways consumers are not aware of. We are doing more to make sure that the rigῨt amount of packaging is used and that even more is recovered and recycled when we have finished with it. By doing this we use fewer raw materials, save transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the amount of waste consumers, businesses and local authorities have to deal with.

Since 2005, the Packaging Council has been monitoring awareness of the Packaging Accord and its performance via a 3rd party independent evaluation of media coverage about the Accord. The analysis was carried out by ImpactWise which assesses each press clipping or transcript against the messages and issues communicated about the Accord or its activities.

There were over 600 news items in the year to June 2009 which is a three fold increase over the previous year. This shows that since the start of the Accord consumers have moved from being largely apathetic about recycling to seeing packaging as a consumer issue for debate and a mainstream news item. There has also been a boost in the coverage from regional and national radio in particular and increases in national TV and daily newspaper coverage.

Paul Curtis, Executive Director of the Packaging Council which commissioned the analysis said:

“We now have four years of data about which messages resonate with the media and the wider New Zealand public. Not surprisingly plastic bags have occupied the most column inches! We have used the survey results to help us identify the best method of encouraging New Zealanders to recycle. Perception often becomes reality so communiΰation is important.

“This year it is pleasing to see that the "role of the consumer" was the most frequently occurring message in news coverage followed by "voluntary approach" and "achieving targets" then "brand owners and retailers’ role in product stewardship".”

“Overall favourable messages reached nearly 6 million readers, listeners or viewers which is a significant increase from when we first started monitoring coverage. However negative messages at just over 3 million were almost double that of last year reflecting the overall increase in consumer interest. The main areas for negative ῦeedback were about plastic bags; whether packaging should be included as a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act and concern about the impact on recycling markets of the global economic crisis.

“Although the Packaging Accord has concluded, we will continue to monitor trends in media coverage as part of a new packaging product stewardship scheme being developed to continue the work of the Accord within the framework of the Waste Minimisation Act. We see this as in important method of understanding what issues are of conceῲn to New Zealanders and ensuring that we are addressing these concerns proactively.

Charts and information from the ImpactWise evaluation are available on request. The Packaging Accord’s Year 5 progress report is available on www.packagingaccord.org.nz


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