The beverage container return scheme: is it under threat before it gets started?
A beverage container return scheme (abbreviated ‘CRS’) means beverage containers – like bottles, cans and tetrapaks – carry a small, refundable deposit that people pay when they buy a drink and then get back when they return the empty drink container to be recycled or reused. It is sometimes called a “bottle deposit”. A CRS creates an incentive for drinks containers to be returned once they’re empty. Right now, about half of the 2.36 billion drinks bottles and cans New Zealanders use each year end up in landfill or the natural environment.
Read more about CRS and why it’s a great idea on The Kiwi Bottle Drive website.
What’s happening with the CRS?
First of all, there is massive public support for a CRS.
Second, a Government-funded working group of stakeholders recently designed a model CRS for New Zealand, with oversight from the Ministry for the Environment. Right now, the Minister for the Environment, David Parker, is considering this model CRS design, and deciding whether to go ahead with a CRS for New Zealand, and what it should look like. You can read more about this process on the Ministry for the Environment website here.
We are really concerned because vested interest groups are seeking to derail CRS at the eleventh hour. There is some fierce opposition we need to overcome from a most unlikely quarter – a section of the industries that make, use and recycle glass. We know that if a refund scheme is to work here in Aotearoa, including glass is a must. Check out this media release by Zero Waste Network Aotearoa.
What can you do?
Are you a business or an organisation?
If so, consider putting your name and voice to this collective open letter to Minister David Parker, calling for a Container Return Scheme that:
- covers all beverages and material types (including glass)
- puts local communities at the heart of the scheme; and
- helps to increase refillable/reusable bottles.
To put your business/organisation name to the Open Letter, please email Val at email@example.com with your organisation name and logo before Friday 23 April 2021. Scroll to the end of the letter to see all the organisations and businesses that have already signed on!
Are you an individual?
Send an email direct to the Minister David Parker! The Kiwi Bottle Drive have made it super easy for you to do so, right HERE. They’ve created a template text email text, so you can literally just sign and send. However, you can also edit and personalise it if you wish to.
If you’d like more info before you sign on, have a read of the collective business/organisation open letter (above).
Want more info on CRS?
- Container return scheme: An option for reducing litter and waste to landfill – Ministry for the Environment
- The Kiwi Bottle Drive – campaign for a mandatory, nationwide container return scheme
- Container Return Scheme page from the Zero Waste Network website that talks about what the Zero Waste Network wants to see in a scheme
- Glass Packaging Forum threatens container return scheme recent Greenpeace article
Thanks to the Zero Waste Network Aotearoa for the majority of the words in this post.