Greenpeace says New Zealand is falling well behind other countries in the global fight against plastic pollution.

Today Europe took a big leap forward with proposed new laws to tackle single-use plastics.

Bans on plastic straws, cutlery, plates and cotton buds are expected to be adopted early next year.

The European Commission is also planning to place significant restrictions on giveaway plastic food containers and cups.

“While the New Zealand Government is still umming and erring about banning single use plastic bags other countries are surging ahead,” says Emily Hunter, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace NZ.

In addition The EC is looking at a deposit system for plastic drink bottles.

It follows moves by the United Kingdom to eliminate carrier bags and food packaging, while Taiwan announced earlier this year the most far reaching ban on single use plastic in the world.

“By comparison here in Aotearoa we’re lagging behind – just doing the bare minimum.”

Greenpeace is urging the Government to develop a plastic pollution strategy like the UK and the EU.

“It needs to begin with a ban on shopping bags, moving onto the other single use plastic offenders like straws and cutlery and then setting up a nationwide container deposit scheme for drink bottle collection.”

Up to 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean every year – that’s the equivalent of one garbage truck every minute.

“Given the urgency and scale of the problem, there’s an opportunity for New Zealand to become a world leader and demonstrate the strategic vision required to tackle the plastic crisis, says Hunter.

“The time to act is now.”

ENDS

Contacts:
Emily Hunter, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Aotearoa NZ
Emily.Hunter@Greenpeace.org +64 (022) 059 6266