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New Zealand steps closer to first 100 per cent recycled plastic packaging plant

New Zealand’s Associate Environment Minister, Eugenie Sage, has announced the government is investing in a new plant to create New Zealand’s first 100 per cent recycled plastic food packaging range as part of the wider plan to tackle the plastic pollution challenge.

A $3 million grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund is being made to Pact Group.

Pact Group is creating a range of 100 per cent recycled food packaging across ten common product lines such as meat and bakery trays, and deli, food and produce containers at its Auckland plant.

“Expanding plastics reprocessing infrastructure and capability here in New Zealand so that formerly waste materials can be recycled and re-used locally, rather than sent away overseas is a key part of tackling the plastic pollution challenge. This new plant will contribute usefully to increasing New Zealand’s on-shore recycling infrastructure,” Sage said.

The funding amounts to 50 per cent of the total cost of a new plant project.

The new plant will allow recycled Type 1 or PET plastic to be decontaminated and made back into food packaging.

“Investing in industries and systems to avoid and reduce waste, particularly plastic waste is a top priority. New Zealanders want to avoid and reduce plastic pollution. New reprocessing infrastructure which enables plastics to be recycled and repurposed for use in food packaging is part of an effective response to China’s National Sword. It helps reduce waste volumes going to landfill and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Like other countries, New Zealand’s economy to date has been based on a ‘take, make and dispose’ model, which treats nature and the resources it provides as ‘free’ and disposable.  More materials recovery and local re-processing infrastructure helps us shift to a more sustainable and efficient circular economy, where products are designed to have a long life, and materials can be recovered and easily reused, recycled, remanufactured,” Sage said.

In order to step away from a ‘take, make and dispose’ model the Australian government is also supporting initiatives that focus on recycling and reuse.

The Liberal-National Coalition has promised $100 million to develop the Australian Recycling Investment Fund to support the manufacturing of lower emissions and energy-efficient recycled content products.

Other initiatives include a $20m investment towards a Product Stewardship Investment Fund to accelerate work on industry-led recycling schemes for batteries, electrical and electronic products, photovoltaic systems and plastic oil containers; and $20m towards new solutions for plastic recycling and waste through the Cooperative Research Centres Projects Grants.