Plastic bottle return scheme to 'put value back into recycling'

An estimated two billion glass, plastic, aluminium, paperboard, and other single use drink...
An estimated two billion glass, plastic, aluminium, paperboard, and other single use drink containers are consumed in New Zealand each year. Photo: Getty Images

Work has begun to develop a fit-for-purpose beverage container return scheme for New Zealand.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage made the announcement at the WasteMINZ conference in Hamilton this morning.

Such a scheme would would see plastic bottles carry a refundable deposit, for example 10 to 20 cents, that is redeemed when the container is returned to a collection depot or other drop off point.

Ms Sage said this would change the way New Zealanders see beverage containers.

"They would again become something of value, and we would see increased recycling and new opportunities for refilling. When consumers recycle their drink bottles, they would get a deposit back, which incentives higher recycling rates," she said.

An estimated two billion glass, plastic, aluminium, paperboard, and other single use drink containers are consumed in New Zealand each year.

While many are recycled, they also end up in landfills or as litter in public spaces.

Ms Sage said this is something citizens, councils and stakeholders have been calling out for.

"What we are announcing today is an agreement to start the investigation and design stage for a container return scheme, learning from the best international models but designed to meet New Zealand's geographic and societal needs.

"Overseas experience shows a refundable deposit puts the value back into recycling and results in a big increase in returned containers.

"A scheme could lift recovery and recycling rates for numbers of beverage containers in New Zealand from around 45 percent - 58 percent to 80 percent, or more," Ms Sage said.

The project design will be carried out by the Auckland Council and Marlborough District Council and will be supported by funding of nearly $1 million from the Waste Minimisation Fund.

A proposal for the scheme will be presented to the Government by August 2020.

Comments

About time. The problem has existed more than 30 years now !!!!
And while you're at it, include all containers such as personal products, oils, tyres and batteries, as well as packaging.
Make the collection bins smart. Everything has a barcode on it. Automate the payment.
Create a system that can be sold to other countries.
Then the kids can earn their pocket money instead of complaining about having nothing to do.
Now that you've collected all this stuff and it's in nice piles of like material, what are you going to do with it ???
Asia doesn't want our rubbish any more !!!
Reducing it back to oil, might be a good way of saving on oversea exchange and not creating endless piles of different stuff.
Remember, nothing is perfect and it is far better we start on the problem now, rather than waiting for 'perfect' to arrive.

A deposit scheme doesn't solve anything other than removing some product from the streets and landfill. You still need to process the stuff and that is the bit the whole world is struggling with.

If you really want to help reduce waste, ban the sale of water in bottles of any sort. And that includes the sugar water masquerading as energy drinks. New Zealand tap water is generally good to drink. It is only very simple people who buy water in 600ml bottles and most simple people have no idea of the problems they are creating.

I see two problems with your comment.
First you call everyone that doesn't agree with your prognoses and solution, stupid. I don't think this a practical approach when trying to convince people of your argument unless you consider it a warning to tyrannical consequences and the population is fearful enough to get the hint.
Second, if anyone cares to search 'plastic pyrolysis' you will find lots of articles on how easy it is to reduce even dirty plastic back to its raw material and the opportunities it creates to make other useful products.
It seems to me the obstacle to adopting new technologies and systems is protectionism.
Protectionism of current jobs, current systems, current administration and current modes of operation.
The door needs to be opened, to move forward so things are done better.
Slamming the door shut and stomping on people so they do less, will lead to big trouble.

You are trying to make a simple solution an exercise in geo political politics.
Keep it simple. If you don't create something it doesn't need to be recycled. If people must wander about sucking on water, then get a reusable bottle and fill it with tap water. If bottled water disappears then the bottles cease to exist.

Of course plastics can be recycled, just not cheaply. If it was cheap some corporate would already be doing it.

"You are trying to make a simple solution an exercise in geo political politics."
No. I'm pointing out that your "simple solution" is based on a totalitarianism.
It all sounds nice and simple and it is shrouded with good intentions but it IS advocating for totalitarianism.
"If people must wander about sucking on water, then get a reusable bottle and fill it with tap water."
I agree but they must do it voluntarily, because you are not accounting for all the times when bottled water is exceptionally useful, like in disaster situations or simply being away from tap water.
"Of course plastics can be recycled, just not cheaply."
Wrong ! Many other countries are installing pyrolysis systems.

 

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