The Government says its current recycling systems are “inadequate”, and is calling for people to weigh in on several new proposals to bring them up to standard.
Those proposals aim to improve kerbside recycling , incentivise people to recycle empty drink containers, as well as separating businesses’ food scraps from general waste .
Environment Minister David Parker said the current system was lacking, and had resulted in lower rates of recycling than in other countries.
“It’s estimated that nationally only 28 per cent of materials are recycled and the rest goes to landfill,” Parker said.“By contrast, Germany, Austria and Wales have the highest recycling rates in the world, with over 50 per cent of all waste being recycled.”
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Under the first proposal kerbside recycling would be standardised around the country, in order to make the system “simpler and easier” to understand.
People would also have access to a kerbside food scraps bin, in recognition that food scraps make up a third of a household’s rubbish each week.
The second proposal would pay people 20 cents for every drink container returned for recycling.
More than two billion drinks are currently sold every year in New Zealand, however less than half of those containers ended up being recycled.It is hoped the scheme would increase those rates to between 85 and 90 per cent.
Supplied Businesses’ food scraps would be separated from general waste under the new proposals.Fresh dairy milk containers would be excluded from the scheme, consistent with overseas trends.Parker said recycling rates for milk containers were high already, however the Government hoped to identify other ways to improve recycling rates for them.
The third part of the consultation proposes to separate businesses’ food scraps from general waste.
The food scraps would then be used to enrich soil, or feed animals.
“New Zealand businesses generate 25 per cent of all food waste that goes to landfill,” Parker said.
“Along with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, separating out food scraps can help businesses identify ways to reduce food waste and save money.”
Green MP Eugenie Sage welcomed the proposals.
“We are changing the way we view waste.That benefits nature with less litter, more materials being re-used, and less climate pollution from landfill,” she said.
Public feedback would help shape the final proposals, with consultation due to run until May 8.
The consultation document and online submission forms would be available on the Ministry for the Environment’s website .