Resources to have your say on Govt proposal TRANSFORMING RECYCLING

Resources to have your say on Govt proposal TRANSFORMING RECYCLING

Until 22 May 2022 the Government is consulting with the public on its Transforming Recycling proposals. They want to know what YOU think. There are three proposals:

  1. Introduce a beverage container return scheme (CRS) for New Zealand by 2025 (that’s where you pay a deposit when you buy a drink that you get back when you return the empty container, which will lift container return rates to 85% or higher. In addition, in a CRS beverage producers pay the costs of collecting, transporting and processing the containers – this is product stewardship).
  2. Standardise kerbside recycling collections across New Zealand so that all councils collect the same things in the same ways, and also start collecting food scraps (by 2030 at the latest).
  3. Require ALL businesses in New Zealand to separate out their food scraps from their general waste (by 2030 at the latest).

Check out the proposals to understand more

To find out more about these proposals you can read the full consultation document (136 pages) OR a summary document of each proposal:

  • Beverage container return scheme summary (8 pages)
  • Kerbside standardisation summary (6 pages)
  • Business food waste separation summary (5 pages)

The Ministry for the Environment has also made a series of short videos about the different proposals (scroll through the page to find and watch them all).

Make a submission

On the Ministry for the Environment website you can:

The consultation is open until 11:59pm on 22 May 2022.

Wanna submit but only have a few minutes?

If you’re short on time and mostly want to focus on the beverage container return scheme proposal, the Kiwi Bottle Drive and allies have created this excellent “sign and send” submission on the Kiwi Bottle Drive website (scroll down the home page to find). You can EITHER:

  • Add your name and sign and send
  • Copy & paste the submission text/message in the free text box and use the ideas/text as the basis for your own quick or detailed submission (the text of the Kiwi Bottle Drive submission roughly follows the Qs in the quick submission so it’s easy to adapt to your own words and thoughts).

Wanna write your own responses to all proposals but not sure where to start?

1. Webinars

The Ministry for the Environment have held several webinars on the proposals and all the recordings are on their website.

The Zero Waste Network is also holding webinars on the proposals (these feature us because we are a part of the Zero Waste Network research team, along with Sue Coutts):

  • Beverage container return scheme webinar recording (held on Tuesday 12 April).
  • Kerbside standardisation and food scraps proposals webinar recording (held on 26 April, 12pm).

2. Zero Waste Network Draft Detailed Submission

The Zero Waste Network has made its working draft submission open to the public to view so that people can see where the thinking is at and maybe take some ideas/adapt them, or use some of the wording. Again, we’re drafting this submission on behalf of the Zero Waste Network, alongside Sue Coutts!

3. Container Return Scheme factsheets and further actions

You can find more information about “How a CRS works” and factsheets about CRS, the returns network, and the relationship between CRS and refillables on the Kiwi Bottle Drive website (under the “How CRS works” and “Resources” tabs). For ideas of actions to take and more information about the CRS proposal, check the Zero Waste Network “Action for a Container Return Scheme” page.

4. Wanna know what we think?

Broadly, we strongly support these proposals. We think they can be adapted and strengthened in several places to achieve more circular outcomes up the waste hierarchy (e.g. waste prevention, reuse systems, closed loop recycling and soil health/quality compost), and to support community resilience by prioritising local-scale, indigenous and community enterprise delivery and design of the solutions and services. Basically:

  • We strongly support a beverage container return scheme for NZ. We do not support milk being exempt, we think refillables should be able to opt-in to the scheme (along with stronger provisions to support refillables), we think more focus should go to zero waste hubs and Māori and community enterprise being container drop-off points.
  • We support kerbside standardisation and strong measures to ensure food scraps are no longer sent to landfill.
  • Across all three proposals we think Govt could do WAY more to harness the opportunity these proposals present to build local economies, and wider community resilience and wellbeing outcomes. Currently, all proposals implicitly prefer centralised approaches with small numbers of big pieces of infrastructure, and rely on trucking resources long distances. A bit of this is needed, but not as the backbone to the entire system – kerbside collections by big companies and reverse vending machines in supermarkets are an important part of the story, but not THE story.
  • We’d like to see more focus on how these proposals can be leveraged to enable local, community-scale enterprises to set up composting, resource recovery and container return points, and how these can be connected up in a nationwide zero waste resource recovery network. Alongside this, we would like the Govt to expand its performance targets beyond diversion rates and return rates (these are critical, but not the be all and end all) – to add more focus on achieving quality end products or outcomes up the waste hierarchy (whether low contamination rates, measuring waste avoidance, good compost standards, and a significant increase in reuse schemes), and requirements around indigenous and social procurement for the provision of the services to make all these proposals work.


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