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Packaging Industry Body Backs Waste Levy Increase

Government’s decision to expand and increase the waste levy is a bold and welcome move towards reducing the country’s reliance on landfills in favour of reuse, recycling and composting.

This according to the country’s biggest member-based packaging organisation, The Packaging Forum. The Forum’s Independent Chair Rob Langford says it fully supports the decision and also welcomes the announcement of $124 million in Government investment in recycling infrastructure.

“This investment is a clear signal that Government is serious about working with industry to reduce waste and increase onshore recycling infrastructure that will create jobs for New Zealanders. It isn’t simply making it more expensive to dispose of waste but wants to develop solutions which decrease the amount of waste generated in the first place,” Rob says.

“This aligns with The Packaging Forum’s goal, which is to work with its over 200 member brands to help them make all their packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.”

The Packaging Forum and the Glass Packaging Forum, a stewardship scheme run by The Packaging Forum, made submissions to the Ministry for the Environment earlier this year in support of the increased waste levy. “We are very pleased to see what has been announced aligns with our recommendations to the Minister,” Rob says.

The Packaging Forum operates three government-accredited voluntary product stewardship schemes - the Glass Packaging Forum, Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme and the Public Place Recycling Scheme.

Disincentivising waste through a higher levy, while using the funds generated from it to develop waste reduction projects and infrastructure is a sound approach to tackling New Zealand’s waste problem, he says.

While The Packaging Forum believes the same system of levying should apply across the board, it would also like to see a lower levy for specific by-products of recycling. “It’s important the levy doesn’t disincentivise recycling activity carried out within New Zealand, creating employment opportunities,” Rob says.

The Forum also encourages the Ministry to develop a national waste levy investment plan, focused on the recovery of recyclable resources, so there is transparency about priorities. Additionally, it believes the allocation system for funding should be reviewed so funding is based on projects and their impact, not on a per-capita basis.

“Investment needs to be smart and strategic to achieve the best possible resource recovery outcomes. This goes hand-in-hand with improved tracking and measuring of waste data through robust, independent and transparent methods.”

We look forward to working with the Ministry for the Environment on an investment plan for high quality, onshore resource recovery solutions, Rob says.
 

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