The New Zealand government has announced a $40 million allocation to the waste sector through its Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) as part of its Wellbeing Budget.
In early July, New Zealand’s Regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones, said the funding will be used to invest in projects that convert waste, including plastic waste, into materials and products useful to businesses and consumers.
“The volume of waste going to landfills has increased by 20 per cent since 2008 and it is time we increased our support for ways of reducing this flow of material. A high proportion of this waste, particularly recyclable plastic waste, has other uses and can be converted into new products,” Jones said.
Associate Environment Minister, Eugenie Sage, said as a country, New Zealand has been sending its waste offshore for too long.
“China and other countries refusing to take our waste is the wake-up call we need.
“Tonnes of plastic, fibre, organic materials, e-waste and construction materials are currently going to landfill as waste. If more materials are recovered and re-used here in New Zealand, we can help our economy shift from its current ‘take, make and waste’ approach to one that designs waste out of production,” Sage said.
Ministers in New Zealand have asked officials to seek out investment-ready proposals of significant scale in regional locations close to our main urban centres where much of the plastic waste is generated.
Jones said the government is looking for projects where resource consents that allow waste processing are already in place and where any construction of processing capacity could get underway before the end of 2020.
“We will engage with the sector over the coming weeks on the PGF investment. We are particularly interested in hearing from those with experience in the plastics recovery and recycling sector about potential projects and other actions the government can take to improve management of plastics and other problem waste streams.
“We are also interested in possible commercial partnerships with Māori,” Jones said.