National wastes opportunity to reduce waste - RePress

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Friday, March 20

National wastes opportunity to reduce waste

The Government wants to dump meaningful waste reduction targets as well as crucial recycling programmes.

Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman said, "Kiwis want to do the right thing and support recycling, so we are disappointed that the chance to really reduce waste has been wasted by the new Government.

"The Government’s proposed targets may see waste to landfill increase - it reflects this Government’s continued attacks on the environment.

The Government issued a discussion document yesterday as part of the process to implement the Green Party's Waste Minimisation Act 2008. The National Party supported the Act before becoming Government.

The Government wants just three priority products for mandatory product stewardship: agricultural chemicals, used oil, and refrigerant gases.

Product Stewardship means that importers and sellers take responsibility for the environmental effects of their products – from ‘cradle to grave’. Dr Norman said, "Most products require mandatory schemes to avoid free-riders shirking their responsibilities."

"In negotiations with the previous Government, the list of priority products included mercury-containing lamps, tyres, packaging, carpets and flooring materials, motor vehicles, plastic shopping bags, computers and televisions. These have been dumped from the list.

"This Government has put the brakes on New Zealand’s recycling by abandoning the intention to ensure timely product stewardship schemes for these products.

"The paper also dumps Waste Strategy targets, replacing them with others that are weaker.

"The only waste reduction target proposed is meaningless and may even result in more waste going to landfill in 2015 than at present.

The reduction target aims to reduce waste to landfill by just 20%, in 6 years time (2015), and is calculated per person rather than in real amounts. The real reduction will be less than 20% because population will rise 5% in that time.

"Because it uses a baseline in the future (2010), the real amount of waste may be larger in 2015 than now, and still meet the target.

Dr Norman concluded, "Fortunately, the paper is a proposal, so it is now up to the public to submit before the 15 May deadline, to reduce rubbish in the dump and get more economic value from our resources."

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