The opening of Flight Plastics PET recycling facility in Lower Hutt is a good step towards development of NZ based recycling processing. The capacity to turn over 200 million plastic drink bottles a year into high grade food-safe packaging will enable NZ to move away from exporting our waste to other countries where we have no control over environmental or labour conditions associated with recycling.
“The next step, of course, is to actually start collecting all the bottles and transporting them to this facility” says Sandra Murray, Campaign Manager for The Kiwi Bottle Dive “at the moment, we only collect about 35% of our drink containers. In order to fully utilise the Flight Plastic facility, we will need to implement a bottle deposit scheme”
A bottle deposit scheme is where you pay a small fee when you buy a bottle and you get that money back when you take the bottle in to be recycled.
The Kiwi Bottle Drive is a campaign to bring back bottle deposits. “We used to have bottle deposits” says Sandra “Don’t you remember taking bottles back to the dairy as a kid and getting 10c per bottle? That was enough for a big bag of lollies! You never saw a bottle in the gutter when we had bottle deposits!”
“Bottle deposits are a way for kids to get pocket money; it would create about 2,500 jobs nationwide; and it would reduce litter by about 65%”
“A bottle deposit scheme will ensure at least 85% of PET and other drink containers are collected and sent for recycling. Without such a scheme, the new PET facility risks being underutilised”.
Sandra goes on to highlight another flaw in the Ministers plan “The Minister states he is encouraging Councils and the public to do more to recycle plastics like soft drink bottles – but what about producer responsibility?”
“Most people will agree that the companies that manufacture and sell packaging and drinks need to take more responsibility for what happens to the bottles after we have used them”
The Kiwi Bottle Drive is encouraging people to send a bottle to the Minister to show their support for bottle deposits to be re-introduced. No stamp is required – you can just send it to “Minister for the Environment, Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18 888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160. Don’t forget to add you message for why we should bring back bottle deposits!
Sandra believes that around 3,000 bottles have already been sent and is aiming for 10,000.
More information can be found at www.kiwibottledrive.nz