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Australian expert brings bottle deposits plan

Australian zero waste expert Robbie Kelman brings his vast knowledge of container return schemes (bottle deposits) to the annual Strengthening Communities Hui tomorrow at 11am in order to get plans moving here in Aotearoa New Zealand. His talk is free and open to the public.

“Container return schemes are wildly popular with the public and with local government authorities that have been saddled with the escalating costs of collecting beverage containers for recycling. The simple act of putting a small deposit on a beverage container massively improves recycling rates as well as reducing litter and creating jobs. The Ministry for the Environment has been working on a scheme to deal with the more than 1 billion beverage containers that end up in landfills or littered each year. We want to get it underway as soon as possible,” said Dorte Wray, Executive Officer of the Zero Waste Network Aotearoa.

“Despite New Zealand’s perception of being ahead of the curve on environmental projects, we are definitely lagging behind many countries, including Australia, when it comes to container returns. It is such an easy win for everyone involved, so it is frustrating that it is moving so slowly.”

This year's theme for the hui is Collective Action on Climate Change. Today’s sessions have been impressively attended demonstrating that there is a significant appetite for real, practical and community-based solutions to climate change.

The morning session focused on how behaviour change happens. We heard from University of Canterbury Master’s graduate Mikaila Ceelen on her ‘Zero Waste Consumers’ Research. Behaviour change is at the heart of the community resource recovery model. There is a strong educational aspect to many of the different activities ZWN members are undertaking - trying to get people to see materials as resources.

This afternoon, dealing with organic waste - like food scraps - was the topic tackled by speakers from community projects Kaicycle, Xtreme Zero Waste and Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste. All of these projects are committed to keeping food out of landfills to reduce methane emissions, as well as building healthy soils and increasing community resilience to climate change.

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