The New Zealand government is currently working through recommendations made by the National Resource Recovery Taskforce in a bid to find solutions to the issues faced by the country’s recycling industry, in light of changes to international trade policies relating to waste.
The taskforce’s findings aimed to address immediate issues and impacts in the recycling sector, including reviewing nationwide recycling infrastructure and services, and the domestic and commercial collections currently in place.
The findings also aim to build a more resilient resource recovery sector in NZ in the medium-term, including investing in onshore infrastructure and service improvement, while also enabling long-term system-change through regulations and other instruments.
“China’s National Sword policy has impacted global commodity prices for recyclables, which has placed pressure on NZ’s recycling and resource recovery sector,” said associate environment minister Eugenie Sage.
“We have taken the opportunity to look broadly at how our resource recovery system is functioning and how well it aligns with the government’s ambition to support more onshore processing of recyclables, as well as help NZ shift to a circular economy approach with improved product design and more materials recovery and reuse.
“The taskforce sought expertise from Australia and ran a collaborative process with working groups from the resource recovery industry and local councils.
“The Ministry for the Environment is working through the detail of these three work streams and how they align with existing projects in the government’s priority work program for waste.
“This work program, which I announced in August, includes expanding the Waste Disposal Levy to all landfills; improving our national data on waste and resource recovery; investing more strategically in infrastructure and innovation to support resource recovery; mandatory product stewardship for problem products like vehicle tyres and e-waste; and developing a national circular economy strategy to design waste out of the system.”
An announcement on what the next steps the NZ government are going to take is expected to be released sometime in March.