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Container return scheme a win for all

25th September 2019
Container return scheme a win for all

The Government’s announcement that work is underway on a beverage container return scheme (CRS) is a win for everyone involved in recycling, said the Chair of the Zero Waste Network Marty Hoffart.

Nearly $1 million from the Waste Minimisation Fund will support work to design the best CRS for New Zealand, based on input from stakeholders across all sectors.

Mr Hoffart said evidence overseas from at least 40 CRS schemes, including the long-standing South Australian scheme, shows that CRS can double beverage container recycling rates, decrease litter and increase the quality of recycling.

“This may be one of the few times that Kiwis will be happy to embrace an Australian tradition as our own.”

“This is the first step towards real recycling across New Zealand, and it’s great to see leadership from the Government to rebuild confidence in recycling.”

Mr Hoffart said the announcement is timely, because Government leadership is essential to combat growing public scepticism about whether recycling actually gets recycled.

“Recycling relies on public participation, and that in turn relies on confidence that recycling will actually be recycled. Once that’s broken, the whole recycling system can fall apart.”

“Much of New Zealand’s recycling is still collected in commingled wheelie bins and public recycling bins, which can produce damaged and contaminated recycling. Introducing a CRS will help us shift to a better system in which the value of the recycled materials is protected.”

Mr Hoffart said a CRS creates value in each empty container, by making them worth 10-20c. It creates a financial reward for recycling, which can also be tapped into by community groups through bottle drives.

“An effective CRS would also include a handling fee for recycling, which can help fund community recycling centres work to recycle and support zero waste in their communities.

“The Zero Waste Network looks forward to contributing our decades of experience of real recycling and grass-roots circular economy activity to the CRS design project.”


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