After more than a year, the Government has finally released the results of its public consultation on a proposed beverage container return scheme – the results show an unprecedented landslide of public support for the idea.
Of the 5600+ submissions received by the Ministry for the Environment about the container return scheme (CRS), 98% percent supported the proposed scheme.
“This high level of public support is truly impressive, but it also makes sense – a container return scheme is an easy solution to the 2.57 billion beverage containers that are used each year, many of which are currently littered or landfilled. People across the country know this and want this. We encourage all political parties to include implementing a CRS in their election manifesto because with 98% support, it is a no brainer,” said Dorte Wray, General Manager of the Zero Waste Network.
There were 1,662 unique responses and 3,996 pro forma responses to the Ministry’s Transforming Recycling proposals. However, the CRS was put on hold earlier this year, along with a raft of other policies, during Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ initial policy reset.
Submissions on the CRS strongly supported a scheme that included all container and material types (e.g. glass, plastic, metal and liquid paperboard), and that would be required to achieve return rates of 85% within three years, and 90% within 5 years.
“A comprehensive CRS that lifts container return rates to 85 or 90% would be a game changer for the country, opening the door to vastly improved recycling systems and the potential to create hundreds of new businesses, up to 2,400 new jobs and generate large cost savings for ratepayers and local authorities. Additionally, a CRS would create significant C02 reductions and marked reductions in plastics entering our waterways and oceans.”
“The submissions were also overwhelmingly in favour of a comprehensive CRS that includes milk bottles. There is no reason to exempt milk because it would make the scheme more confusing and less effective, and would compromise the opportunity to increase recycling of a widely consumed product.”
In addition, submitters strongly supported the inclusion of refillables in a future scheme, along with measures that would require the scheme to support the refillables market to grow, such as reuse targets, tax breaks, investment, and/or levies on single-use containers.
“CRS is great for capturing single-use containers for recycling, but we actually need to move to reuse and refill systems for all beverage containers. These are the building blocks of circular economic systems.”
“Container return schemes operate all over the world. They are proven to work. They are an easy win for any government that wants real climate and environmental solutions. There is no more time to waste – the CRS must be back on the agenda come the October election.”