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Te Whanganui a Tara – Young Wellington people are leading a campaign to ban plastic bottles in Aotearoa.

On Friday they are staging a bottle drive at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, where people can bring empty cans, glass and plastic for a refund of twenty cents per container.

The event is being run by the Kiwi Bottle Drive and Plastic Diet, a student-lead organisation dedicated to reducing single-use plastic waste and consumption.

The event is promoting a New Zealand container return scheme as the best solution to the more than two billion beverage containers used every year in Aotearoa.

The simple act of putting a small refundable deposit on all beverage containers translates to higher recycling rates, less litter (including plastic), higher quality recycling, job creation and a less carbon intensive beverage packaging system.

The Kiwi public and parliament support a container return scheme. The Kiwi Bottle Drive petition for a scheme was signed by 18,000 people, and the recent select committee report on it had bipartisan support.

Olga Darkadaki an organiser of the Kiwi Bottle Drive says a return scheme needs to include all beverage containers without exception.

“Container return schemes are part of the wider shift towards where producers take responsibility for end-of-life disposal.

“Across the globe, these systems are being rolled out as one of the best solutions to address the waste and climate crises.”

Plastic bottles spend a few minutes in people’s hands but a lifetime harming the environment.

Every day, New Zealanders consume about five million packaged drinks – but less than 45 percent of recyclable drink containers are actually recycled.

Most of the bottles made in New Zealand are made from virgin plastic material, not recycled plastic.