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Source: Ministry for the Environment

Following the successful plastic shopping bag ban, the Government is proposing to phase-out more single-use and hard-to-recycle plastic items. 

The four month public consultation process ends on 4 December. 

Seven single-use items have been identified for proposed phase-out, as they provide problems to New Zealand’s waste management system, or end up as litter. 

The proposed products are:

  • single-use plastic bags
  • tableware (e.g. plastic plates, bowls, cutlery)
  • non-compostable produce stickers
  • drink stirrers
  • some single-use cups and lids 
  • plastic cotton buds
  • plastic straws.

The seven items were selected using criteria including environmental harm, sustainable alternatives and international trends. 

The Government is also proposing to phase-out all:

  • PVC food and beverage packaging
  • polystyrene food and beverage packaging
  • other expanded polystyrene packaging
  • oxo-degradable plastic products.

PVC and polystyrene pose bigger problems for recycling than other plastics, such as PET. In many cases, there are alternative plastics that are easier to recycle. 

Said Ministry for the Environment Deputy Secretary Sam Buckle: “New Zealanders come into contact with plastic every day. It has its place, and it has its qualities, but too often it turns up as litter in our towns, cities, parks and beaches. 

“Recently we’ve taken steps to protect our environment from plastic waste, but there is still more to do. 

“Last year we phased out single-use plastic shopping bags. That initiative had a real impact on the way New Zealanders think about plastic and plastic waste. 

“We’re now proposing to phase out these seven plastic single-use items, as well as types of hard-to-recycle plastic material – to clean up our environment, and to make it easier to recycle.”

Sam Buckle said the public consultation was about seeking input on the possible costs and benefits of the phase-outs, potential unintended consequences, and possible exemptions – for example, making plastic straws available for those who need them. 

“Please help us ensure the best outcomes for the environment and our communities by telling us anything we may have missed, and any specific impacts on you and your whānau.”

Learn more about the proposed plastic phase-outs:

  1. Full consultation document
  2. Summary document
  3. Video – plastic phase-out consultation

Making a submission is easy:

  1. Online (substantial submission or short version
  2. Email:
  3. Post: to Plastics Consultation, Ministry for the Environment, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143

Submissions close* 5pm on Friday, 4 December 2020

* The public consultation began on 12 August, and was extended by a month following Auckland Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.