Crushed can of Coca Cola.
News
23 April 2021

New Zealand packaging recycling second-worst in global trial

Aotearoa’s clean green reputation takes a hit in our global packaging recycling assessment.

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Martyn R.
30 Apr 2021
glass is the greenest option

Whenever I can I choose a product packaged in glass.
That is OK for some products like jam, soft drinks, sauces and some coffee (like your example) and beer.
Little else.
I want to buy bread that isn't in a #@%$(*&! plastic bag!
I want to buy milk that isn't surrounded by @#*&@! plastic!
There isn't any where I live.
I am hanging out for Happy Cow to get started up here.
They keep telling us that they have encountered problems.
Who is causing the problems?
Fonterra - wanting to keep their virtual monopoly on their dull plastic wrapped milk?
I wonder!

Bill E.
08 May 2021
using milk powder to make milk

I started reconstituting milk powder (less than $10 per kg, which makes 10 litres of milk) when I discovered I could make my favourite yoghurt for less than $2 a litre, when it costs $8 to buy.
Then started using it for milk (using cheap digital scales, powder and water into a recycled glass bottle with screw on lid). Its quick and easy and I can have it whenever I need. I live in a small town with a grocery shop that shuts at 7.30 and I often don't get back here in the evenings till after that.
The taste is so similar to what I buy in the shop that I'm thinking that the shop bought milk is possibly reconstituted from powder too.
Powdered milk is available full fat, low fat and skim.
I recently did the sums and found I'm saving more than $500 per year, that's the combined milk and yoghurt saving.
And no plastic milk bottles to get rid of.
I'm also hanging out for bread in a paper bag..

Chris S.
25 Apr 2021
NZ's closet skeletons just keep on rattling..........

Despite every NZ resident knowing for decades that un-stabilized plastics will reduce to powder when exposed to our blistering UV levels AND recently discovering that this powdered micro plastic is clogging the very arteries of our soil, waterways and eventually the oceans we all rely on for our very lives, the NZ government (presumably NZ residents all) has STILL not introduced a blanket ban on the importation, manufacture or sale of said un-stabilized plastics.
Result? Untold tons of plastic products annually turned into powdering scrap in soil, landfill and waterways.

Recycle it? How do you recycle this stuff when it disintegrates at a touch?

If NZ will not ban un-stabilized plastics, the only thing green about NZ's "clean green image" is the copious mold growing behind the sign.

Chris S.

James C.
24 Apr 2021
Embarrasing

For 20 years NZ Governments have been inept in dealing with recycling. Promoting a clean, green image is folly when our recycling capabilities are so woefully. We are a small country and logic would indicate central government is best to establish national centralised recycling facilities for the likes of plastic. Unlike many leading countries, we don't even have subsidies to drive uptake of green initiatives like solar power and electric vehicles.

Consumers are rightly angry for being told to recycle for two decades, only to now learn that plastic was shipped off to China before they stopped accepting it. Incumbent Government politicians should be ashamed of themselves. We should first deal with the methane emitted from the Beehive before worrying about cows.

roy s.
24 Apr 2021
Clutha district.

Our council doesn't allow glass in our recycling bins, so it goes to landfill in a rubbish collection that only happens once a fortnight. Our rubbish bin is overflowing by the end of the fortnight and our recycling bin, which also gets collected fortnightly, takes 6 weeks to fill up.

Steve S.
24 Apr 2021
Stepping up

We're long past the point where we can bundle up all our recyclable rubbish and send it overseas, so government, suppliers and consumers need to step up. In my area (Matamata-Piako) only glass, paper, tins and hard plastics stamped with a 1 or a 2 are accepted. Everything else goes to landfill as Council just can find recycling options for it.

Government
- Don't let waste disposal costs fall on the community. Impose taxes on materials that can't be recycled to change behaviour
- Facilitate re-use and recycling schemes (eg refillable bottles)
- Provide local recycling facilities where possible
Suppliers
- Use minimum packaging necessary for hygiene and safety
- Use materials that can be readily recycled
- Make the recycling numbers bigger and more prominent!
Consumers
- Choose products with no packaging or minimal recyclable/reusable packaging and recycle appropriately.

As a community we have to do so much better than we're doing. The amount of waste going to landfill to be buried and not decompose for hundreds of years is simply appalling, and a real indictment on our throw-away culture.

The 8 "R"s come to mind here:
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Refill, Repair, Regift, Recycle, Repeat

Let's do it!

Janet
24 Apr 2021
Cohesion needed

IF N.Z had a nationwide rubbish collection system, at least then people would not be so confused by different Council collection methods, and regulations, that they give up trying....Maybe then there would be enough bulk for processing plants in both South and North Islands....Bring in the 10c per glass/plastic bottles too and watch the cleanup.

Brad M.
24 Apr 2021
Soft plastics in Northland

Thanks, an excellent article which makes it pretty clear what to look for in your buying. Here in Northland we can only take number 1 and milk bottle 2s ( no other 2s) for recycling, no food grade packaging (no 5) are accepted. We have significantly reduced our plastic consumption simply by making our own yoghurt and refilling bathroom products and dishwash. But it is still maddening how much soft plastic we end up with. You say there is a soft plastic recycling point in Northland - where is it?

Sam Y.
24 Apr 2021
Aluminium not recyclable; steel only recyclable in NI

Kia ora Consumer,
I suspect the situation is worse than the research shows. When I checked last, aluminium - while theoretically recyclable - was practically not, as we do not have a NZ aluminium resmelter. At present it appears to be not 'worth' sending the aluminium offshore for resmelting. Aluminium is chipped awaiting potential use, but when storage gets full, I assume it may be landfilled? This includes all those 'recyclable' coffee pods.
Further, I heard from someone in the industry that there is only one NZ steel resmelter, near Auckland. It is too expensive to send steel across the Cook Strait for resmelting, so SI steel is landfilled.
Only glass can be used for base-course on the roads. So we can buy glass...
Pretty poor, eh.

Colin
28 Apr 2021
Aluminium not recyclable in NZ

I'm pretty sure the metal recyclers in NZ don't just dump the aluminium they purchase of their customers. They are able to send aluminium overseas in large volumes

Willem D.
24 Apr 2021
Council responsibility

Thanks for an excellent article. Councils need to step up too. Blenheim still uses he small green bins and refuses to switch over to wheelie bins. It limits the amount you can recycle and a lot of recyclable material end up in rubbish bags. These small bins overflow, spilling out onto the sidewalk and even the road when the wind blows. This needs to be fixed!