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Packaging Forum Disputes Greenpeace Remarks On Plastic Beverage Containers

Single-use plastic beverage containers, such as plastic bottles, are included in the Government’s latest announcement to tackle the country’s poor record on waste reduction, says The Packaging Forum Independent Chair Rob Langford.

His comment is in response to Greenpeace’s statement shortly after the announcement they were disappointed, “the new scheme doesn’t tackle one of the country’s biggest plastic pollution problems - single-use drinks bottles.”

The Packaging Forum is the country’s biggest packaging industry member-based organisation.

The remarks follow the announcement by Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage that six product categories, including plastic packaging, have been declared priority products under the Waste Minimisation Act. This triggers the creation of regulated product stewardship schemes to manage these products throughout their lifecycle, especially at end of life through reuse, recycling or proper disposal.

Rob says single-use plastic beverage containers do fall under the category of ‘plastic packaging’ announced by the Minister. “It’s important to understand no regulated product stewardship schemes have yet been established for the multitude of packaging types which are affected.

“A container return scheme is being developed as a possible option for stewarding beverage containers, which I am involved in, but the group working on this is yet to report to the Ministry. The announcement made by Minister Sage was about what would be included in regulated stewardship schemes, not how they would be stewarded.”

The Forum had welcomed the announcement as regulated stewardship is a highly effective way of dealing with packaging and is the most significant move to date by a New Zealand government in the war on waste, Rob says.

“Successful product stewardship schemes are not just collections systems. They must address the entire lifecycle of packaging material – including product design that minimises waste, collection systems, labelling that is clear and meaningful for consumers, onshore recycling infrastructure, through to genuine and valuable use of recycled products. A circular, evidence-based and industry-led approach is critical,” he says.

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