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Proposed Landfill Levy will have no impact on plastic waste

This week the Government announced a long awaited and welcome proposal to increase the landfill levy in order to encourage behaviour change away from dumping to more recovery, recycling and reuse. However, the increased levy will have no effect on the volumes of plastic waste entering the economy, our landfills and the environment, according to plastic2parliament.

“Currently plastics account for around 8% of total waste by weight, but as much as 20% of landfill by volume and that’s an enormous proportion of the waste problem.” said Wade Bishop, initiator of the plastic2parliament letter writing initiative. (Ref. Recycle.co.nz)

“With the landfill levy based on weight there’s no incentive in this to move away from plastic packaging or other avoidable plastics that end up in our landfills and environment.” Wade Bishop said.

Plastic2parliament is encouraging New Zealanders to ask all political parties what their plastic reduction policies are by penning letters to MPs in Parliament, via the Parliamentary free-post address while also stuffing their large envelopes full of non-recyclable plastics to illustrate the plastic waste problem.

“We are asking political parties and Government to focus regulation on the producers of plastic packaging targeted at simply making less of it.” said Bishop.

The global oil industry is currently investing US$180 billion in new plastic production plants to increase production by 40% in the next 10 years. This immense supply-pressure will create a further explosion in plastic volumes here in New Zealand and the increased landfill levy will have zero effect on that. This is an over-production issue that needs urgent regulation where the problem starts: the producers.” he said.

The Plastic2parliament initiative believes that an immediate impact can be made on plastic waste by extending bans across wide categories of avoidable single-use plastics, such as cutlery, dishes, cups, takeaway containers and even bubble and pallet wraps.

The initiative also advocates a Plastic Tax on imported virgin plastics used to manufacture single-use packaging and on imported new plastic packaging.

“While the landfill levy will have a negligible effect on the cost of dumping plastic packaging for New Zealanders, it still gets under your skin having to pay even more to get rid of a toxic waste that you didn’t ask for in the first place.” Wade Bishop said.

Plastic2parliament continues to grow quickly with membership numbers of the Facebook Group reaching more than 1000 people sending more than 720 letters and plastic parcels to MPs since beginning in early October this year, including another 90 to Minister for the Environment, David Parker, this week.

ABOUT PLASTIC2PARLIAMENT

Plastic2parliament is a letter-writing initiative started by Wade Bishop of Christchurch which encourages New Zealanders concerned about single-use plastics to include these products with their letters to M.P.s using the Parliamentary Free-post address. The purpose of the initiative is to creatively emphasise how these non-recyclable products cannot be avoided by consumers and that the actual cause of plastic waste is over-production and use by manufacturers. We seek to have M.P.s advocate for meaningful plastic waste reduction policy within their respective Party focused on packaging producers.

Oil companies are investing US$180 billion right now to increase virgin plastic production by 40% before 2030. This enormous supply pressure has already created an explosion in single-use packaging globally. New Zealand will not be immune to these supply pressures and is poorly placed to deal with the waste volumes that will eventuate. (Ref. theguardian.com; and sciencemag.org)


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