Gisborne backs Green plastic policy

File picture

GISBORNE’s mayor and an advocacy group campaigning against plastic bag use have thrown their support behind Green Party policies to reduce plastic consumption.

This week the party launched a plan to ban plastic bags, introduce refunds on drink containers, phase out plastic packaging, and commit to sending zero waste to landfill by 2050.

Policies include a “cash for containers” drinking container refund programme nationwide, and a 20-cent charge on single-use plastic bags, with 15 cents going to community groups for environmental clean-ups and five cents for research and development into alternatives.

Mayor Meng Foon congratulated the party on their ideas and voiced his support.

“I love the refundable bottle idea. This would help in many ways — socially, economically and environmentally.

“I support a charge on the use of plastic bags. We must reduce our use, as we have only one Earth. Let’s look after this Earth for future generations.”

Deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz also threw her weight behind the proposals.

“I am very supportive of reducing the use of plastic, especially single-use plastic items in our community.

“Worldwide evidence points to the damage caused by excessive plastic consumption and I am confident that any future New Zealand government would receive nationwide pressure to address this concerning issue appropriately.”

In Gisborne last year 14,427 tonnes of waste from the district was disposed at landfill.

A total of 13,427 tonnes of that came from the city, 1000 tonnes more than the previous year, the second year in a row it increased.

Last year the lowest amount of recyclables was collected since the scheme began in 2004, with a total of 2553 tonnes collected through Gisborne city kerbside recycling.

Increasing waste

Nationwide, waste going to landfill increased from 2.5 million tonnes in 2009 to 3.2 million tonnes in 2015.

By volume, plastics were the second-biggest type of waste going to landfill after organic waste (food and gardening).

Much plastic ends up in the ocean, and by 2050, the oceans are expected to carry more plastic mass than fish and an estimated 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti’s Nicky Solomon said the Green Party proposals were a “breath of fresh air”.

“It has really filled a void in this election campaign, where other issues have dominated the waste issue.”

If elected, the Green Party also plans to phase out single-use plastic bags by the end of a first term in government, and reduce plastic packaging and products through mandatory product stewardship schemes.

“Our plan will protect the places we love from pollution and generate community jobs,” said Green Party leader James Shaw.

A refund programme for recycling drinking containers had been estimated by Envision to double recycling rates, create 2400 jobs, generate revenue for community groups, and save councils $26 million to $40 million each year.

“Cash for trash refund programmes work with kerbside recycling to give people options and help keep recyclable waste out of landfills,” Mr Shaw said.

“Declaring plastic cups, plates, utensils and packaging priority products under the product stewardship scheme will allow the cost of disposal to be built in, enable targets to be made for reduction and price in the cost of disposal, opening a new market for sustainable alternatives.”

Alternatives

Alternatives could include bamboo instead of plastics in packaging and utensils.

New Zealand Product Stewardship Council co-ordinator Sandra Murray said similar schemes had been effective at reducing litter around the world.

“Bottle deposit schemes are an internationally proven way of dealing with New Zealand’s 2.23 billion drink containers each year.

“Most of Europe and much of the United States already have bottle deposits, alongside Canada, South Australia and New South Wales, while England, Ireland, Scotland, Queensland and ACT are introducing them.”

NZPSC was supporting ‘‘The Kiwi Bottle Drive’’, a nationwide campaign launched this year to raise awareness on the benefits of a bottle deposit scheme in New Zealand.

As part of the campaign, people have been sending plastic drink bottles to Associate Minister for the Environment Scott Simpson, calling for the introduction of a bottle deposit scheme.

More than 3000 bottles have been sent to the minister and nearly 5000 people have signed a petition calling for a bottle deposit scheme.

GISBORNE’s mayor and an advocacy group campaigning against plastic bag use have thrown their support behind Green Party policies to reduce plastic consumption.

This week the party launched a plan to ban plastic bags, introduce refunds on drink containers, phase out plastic packaging, and commit to sending zero waste to landfill by 2050.

Policies include a “cash for containers” drinking container refund programme nationwide, and a 20-cent charge on single-use plastic bags, with 15 cents going to community groups for environmental clean-ups and five cents for research and development into alternatives.

Mayor Meng Foon congratulated the party on their ideas and voiced his support.

“I love the refundable bottle idea. This would help in many ways — socially, economically and environmentally.

“I support a charge on the use of plastic bags. We must reduce our use, as we have only one Earth. Let’s look after this Earth for future generations.”

Deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz also threw her weight behind the proposals.

“I am very supportive of reducing the use of plastic, especially single-use plastic items in our community.

“Worldwide evidence points to the damage caused by excessive plastic consumption and I am confident that any future New Zealand government would receive nationwide pressure to address this concerning issue appropriately.”

In Gisborne last year 14,427 tonnes of waste from the district was disposed at landfill.

A total of 13,427 tonnes of that came from the city, 1000 tonnes more than the previous year, the second year in a row it increased.

Last year the lowest amount of recyclables was collected since the scheme began in 2004, with a total of 2553 tonnes collected through Gisborne city kerbside recycling.

Increasing waste

Nationwide, waste going to landfill increased from 2.5 million tonnes in 2009 to 3.2 million tonnes in 2015.

By volume, plastics were the second-biggest type of waste going to landfill after organic waste (food and gardening).

Much plastic ends up in the ocean, and by 2050, the oceans are expected to carry more plastic mass than fish and an estimated 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti’s Nicky Solomon said the Green Party proposals were a “breath of fresh air”.

“It has really filled a void in this election campaign, where other issues have dominated the waste issue.”

If elected, the Green Party also plans to phase out single-use plastic bags by the end of a first term in government, and reduce plastic packaging and products through mandatory product stewardship schemes.

“Our plan will protect the places we love from pollution and generate community jobs,” said Green Party leader James Shaw.

A refund programme for recycling drinking containers had been estimated by Envision to double recycling rates, create 2400 jobs, generate revenue for community groups, and save councils $26 million to $40 million each year.

“Cash for trash refund programmes work with kerbside recycling to give people options and help keep recyclable waste out of landfills,” Mr Shaw said.

“Declaring plastic cups, plates, utensils and packaging priority products under the product stewardship scheme will allow the cost of disposal to be built in, enable targets to be made for reduction and price in the cost of disposal, opening a new market for sustainable alternatives.”

Alternatives

Alternatives could include bamboo instead of plastics in packaging and utensils.

New Zealand Product Stewardship Council co-ordinator Sandra Murray said similar schemes had been effective at reducing litter around the world.

“Bottle deposit schemes are an internationally proven way of dealing with New Zealand’s 2.23 billion drink containers each year.

“Most of Europe and much of the United States already have bottle deposits, alongside Canada, South Australia and New South Wales, while England, Ireland, Scotland, Queensland and ACT are introducing them.”

NZPSC was supporting ‘‘The Kiwi Bottle Drive’’, a nationwide campaign launched this year to raise awareness on the benefits of a bottle deposit scheme in New Zealand.

As part of the campaign, people have been sending plastic drink bottles to Associate Minister for the Environment Scott Simpson, calling for the introduction of a bottle deposit scheme.

More than 3000 bottles have been sent to the minister and nearly 5000 people have signed a petition calling for a bottle deposit scheme.

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