Greenpeace Aotearoa is celebrating “a win for people and the environment” after the Government announced that a range of single-use plastics are now banned from sale or manufacture, but the campaigning organisation is calling for more
The announcement comes as part of the Government’s promise to phase out some problem plastics by 2025 and after banning single-use plastic checkout bags in 2019. Plastics which have been banned from sale from October 1 include single-use plastic drink stirrers and cotton buds, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pre-formed food trays and containers and polystyrene takeaway packaging for food and beverages.
Greenpeace Aotearoa plastics campaigner Juressa Lee says the announcement is a win for people power but more action is needed to combat the plastic pollution crisis.
“We can have a society free of plastic pollution and banning these products is a step in the right direction, but the government needs to be addressing the plastic pollution crisis with more urgency.”
“This week’s announcement demonstrates that the Government has the tools to ban the most problematic plastic items, but they aren’t being used to their full potential. Plastic beverage bottles are one of the worst culprits, with a billion being sold here in Aotearoa each year but they are not subject to these new regulations,” says Lee.
Earlier this year, Greenpeace delivered a petition to ban single-use plastic beverage bottles with over 100,000 signatures which Lee says is clear evidence that plastic pollution is an issue New Zealanders care about and want the government to take more courageous action.
“It’s crucial the government uses its power to implement change as plastic polluters like Coke are unlikely to move to refill and reuse systems on their own.
“To be serious about the plastic pollution crisis, the Government needs to impose regulation that removes all unnecessary, single-use plastics, including plastic beverage bottles. Banning the bottle can demonstrate how easily Aotearoa can shift to circular systems like refill and reuse, just like we did with plastic bags. The significance of resources we use must be recognised, by designing products to be kept in use for as long as possible,” says Lee.
The next group of single-use plastics to be phased out from 2023 include single-use plastic plates, bowls, cutlery, produce bags and non-compostable produce labels.
Other PVC and polystyrene food and beverage packaging will be banned from mid-2025.
Call on the NZ Government to ban unnecessary single-use plastic bottles* in NZ, and to incentivise reusable and refillable alternatives.