New Zealand’s government has revealed plans to phase out more single-use plastics and develop a labelling scheme for plastic packaging.
Jacinda Ardern, the country’s prime minister, said the first target will be to move away from single-use packaging and beverage containers made of hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene.
The government will work towards ensuring that polystyrene meat trays, cups and takeaway food containers are made from alternatives such as PET, HDPE and polypropylene, which can be recycled and reprocessed.
Plans are also underway to accelerate work with local government and industry on better and more consistent kerbside collection of recyclables.
“Our ban on plastic bags has already made a difference as we confront our enormous long-term challenge to tackle plastic waste,” said Ardern.
“Many New Zealanders, including many children, write to me about plastic – concerned with its proliferation over the past decade and the mounting waste ending up in our oceans.
“I share this concern for our natural environment – one that sustains our tourism, trade and our national identity.”
Ardern has welcomed a report for dealing with waste released this week called Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand.
New Zealand Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage said the report reaffirms and extends the government’s plan to reduce waste, which includes: a container return scheme for drink bottles and cans, improving waste data and a NZD 40 million ($26.1 million) investment to turn plastic waste into useful material for businesses and consumers.
“New Zealanders often tell me how concerned they are about the amount of plastics ending up in our oceans and harming fish, marine mammals, seabirds and turtles,” Sage said.
“A lot of this plastic waste doesn’t need to be created in the first place. Our goal must be to make Aotearoa an economy where plastic rarely becomes waste or pollution.”