Off the back of the announcement yesterday that New Zealand would be returning to Alert Level 2 and Auckland to Alert Level 3, perhaps this morning’s very different announcement from Associate Minister Eugenie Sage about single-use plastics might lift your spirits!
The Government has just released a consultation document with a proposal to ban a wide range of PVC and polystyrene food and beverage products, as well as a list of other single-use plastic items, from tableware, straws, stirrers, produce bags, cotton buds, non-compostable fruit stickers, cups and lids (to name a few things!) For most of the items, their bio-based, degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic counterparts are also proposed to be included in the ban.
We’re not exaggerating when we say that this is one of the most comprehensive single-use plastic phase-out proposals we’ve seen in any part of the world. If the proposals go ahead, it’ll be a real win for communities and the environment.
The public consultation will run until 4 November 2020. As always, we encourage you all to make submissions. You can find resources to help you submit here.
For now, please share this announcement far and wide.
For a full perspective, check out the Takeaway Throwaways media release. Our immediate, high-level takeaways are:
– This is an impressive and very comprehensive range of proposed phase-outs – world-leading, in fact. We are completely in support of these phase-outs – these products are all dead-end symbols of the unsustainable linear economy.
– Excellent to see that the proposed phase-outs are not limited to standard petroleum-based plastics, but include bio-based, degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics
– Disposable coffee cups are currently excluded from the proposed phase-outs – they must be included.
– The consultation document highlights the need to create a culture of reuse and that reusable alternatives to these single-use items are the best option. We are heartened to see this kōrero, but note that the proposal could go much further in explaining what Govt’s role is (i.e. through policy and funding) to bring reusable options to scale and make them more accessible.
– The announcement includes a proposed phase-out of plastic straws, with exemptions for those who require straws to drink. It is absolutely critical that the Government ensures the active participation of the disabled community in the consultation process, in order to meaningfully assess if the proposed approach is accessible and upholds dignity and inclusion, or if a better approach could be found.