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Simon Bridges asked to put aside politics on plastic waste

This week the plastic2parliament initiative mailed well over 130 plastic-stuffed letters to National Party leader Simon Bridges asking him to “do something crazy” and put aside party politics on plastic waste.

The letters asked him to support the Product Stewardship changes to the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 (WMA) proposed by the Government including plastic packaging.

“A massive opportunity to get on top of New Zealand’s plastic waste problem was lost during the 9 years of a National Government where they essentially sat on the powers contained in the WMA and did absolutely nothing to deploy them. Now Simon Bridges can act constructively to support the Government’s proposed changes and announce a meaningful plastic reduction policy of his own as well.” said Wade Bishop, the initiator of the letter writing to MPs.

Plastic2parliament is encouraging citizens concerned about the growing epidemic of avoidable and single-use packaging plastics to engage in penning letters to MPs in Parliament via the Parliamentary Freepost address. Citizens are also being asked to stuff their large envelopes full of non-recyclable plastics.

“I see this as a creative way to physically take this unfettered, over-production of single-use plastics directly to the desks of MPs where they can’t ignore it.” said Mr. Bishop.

“MPs need to acknowledge that plastic waste is a production problem, not a consumer issue, and advocate for meaningful plastic reduction policies (within their respective political Party) and to regulate the producers of these plastic products,” he said.

The plastic2parliament initiative shows no sign of slowing down. Membership to the Facebook Group now growing beyond 800 people. In turn, its members have delivered more than 350 letters and parcels of non-recyclable plastics to MPs since the middle of October.

“This might seem like a frivolous thing to be doing, but we are drawing attention to very serious issues that the public and MPs need to be fully aware of,” Wade Bishop said.

“The fact is, while we already now know that plastic pollution is an astonishingly big problem, global oil companies are investing US$180 billion in new plastic manufacturing plants aiming to increase virgin plastic production by 40% before 2030.

"This is the true cause of the explosion in single-use plastics around us here in New Zealand. This clearly illustrates that it is a production issue and not a matter of consumer choice as we always seem to hear.” he said.

Plastic2parliament is advocating that waste policy and legislation focus on the source of single-use plastics by regulating the producers of them to reduce volumes of plastic packaging entering the economy and then the environment.

“Setting measurable reduction targets on the import of virgin plastic resins, used for packaging, and, on import volumes of new plastic packaging, would be one clear way of measuring the success of any regulations that are put in place.” Mr. Bishop said.

“Only about 20% of plastics are recycled each year and many are not even recyclable for various reasons. With plastic production set to increase 40 percent in the coming 10 years, recycling is clearly not the solution to the plastic waste problem. The best solution is making less in the first place.” he said.


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