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New Zealand’s plan for plastic and waste

Ahead of the country’s election this month, the New Zealand government has detailed its action plan on waste and recycling.

New Zealand has one of the highest per capita rates of landfill waste in the OECD. Annually the country sends around 35,000 tonnes of plastic waste offshore instead of processing it locally.

To tackle these problems, the government said in a statement that it needs to “rethink our approach to waste. We need to do more to prevent and avoid waste in the first place.”

Labour’s action plan is focused on dealing with waste in a more sustainable way now, and how it’s prevented in the first place.

Three strategies:

There are three key parts to the plan with the first focused on preventing waste.

The government said it will phase out difficult-to-recycle single-use plastics such as PVC and polystyrene packaging, straws, plastic cutlery, some disposable cups and produce bags.

“We will also create a $50 million fund to research and develop alternatives, so that fewer waste products are developed in the first place.”

The second part of our plan is focused on taking advantage of the economic opportunities that tackling waste offers. As part of our COVID-19 response, we’ve invested in waste infrastructure projects around New Zealand, including high-tech recycling plants, which will not only improve waste processing, but will also create jobs and future proof our economy.

“We’ll continue to invest in these projects to ensure we make the most of this opportunity to build back better.

The government said it was also committed to improving recycling.

“Through the third part of our waste action plan, we’ll make it harder to export plastic waste and easier to recycle here in New Zealand.

“We’ll also standardise kerbside recycling services across the country, which will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and help minimise our greenhouse gas emissions.”