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Source: Auckland Council

Recycling Week presents an opportunity to re-think our approach to plastics. Standardising kerbside recycling across New Zealand will make it easier for people to recycle right. But, we also need to move away from single use plastic materials, especially those that are hard to recycle.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “When cheap plastics are used in manufacturing, our environment pays the price.

“As we saw with the ban on single-use plastic bags, consumers are ready for better alternatives, and by consulting on these changes, we can work together to eliminate waste.

“Plastic is less than 6 per cent of the annual kerbside recycling in Auckland. We are upgrading Auckland Council’s recycling facility now in tandem with New Zealand plastic plants who are modernising to process more plastic recyclables onshore. But, eliminating single use plastics all together is still preferable to recycling them,” says Mayor Goff. 

Councillor Richard Hills, chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee adds, “Aucklanders want clean beaches and waterways and have grown more accustomed to bringing reusable tableware and water bottles with them when enjoying our parks and beaches. Our farmer’s markets have thrived without single use produce bags, and people continue innovating to reduce their waste footprint.

“The convenience of a single use fork or takeaway container is offset by the true cost to our marine animals.”

“There are plenty of viable materials, including higher quality plastics, that can easily be substituted for these single use items. Avoiding waste in the first place is far better than relying on recycling,” says Councillor Hills.

The seven single-use plastic items proposed by Central Government for phase-out include:

  • Plastic cotton-buds
  • Drink stirrers
  • Tableware (eg. plastic plates, bowls, cutlery)
  • Some single-use cups and lids, made from hard-to-recycle plastics (types 3, 4, 6 and 7 or plastic lined paper cups) – excluding disposable coffee cups
  • Single-use produce bags
  • Non-compostable produce stickers
  • Plastic straws.

It is proposed for most items that the phase-out include plastic of any type, including bio-based plastics, compostable, degradable and biodegradable plastics.

Have your say about what should be phased out. The consultation is open on the Ministry for the Environment website until 4 December 2020. 

MIL OSI