- The purpose of regulation is to recover and recycle higher rates of recyclable material, minimise environmental harm and ensure that everyone in industry is playing their part in funding solutions.
- New Zealand currently has a voluntary product stewardship scheme operated by the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) and recovers 75% of container glass, but the GPF believes we can do better.
- Norway for example has a regulated scheme fully funded by industry that recovers 93% of container glass, mainly through kerbside collection.
- The proposed Container Return Scheme (CRS) is one form of product stewardship which aims to help increase recycling rates for beverage containers by incentivising Kiwis to return them to a collection facility for recycling. Each time a consumer drops off their beverage containers, they will receive a small refund back per container. It’s similar to what used to happen in New Zealand before we had the convenience of kerbside recycling.
While a working group has submitted a proposed scheme design for a CRS, a decision is yet to be made as to whether this is the best solution to increase New Zealand’s recovery and recycling rates.
It’s important to remember that as a consumer, under a Container Return Scheme (CRS) it’s likely you will pay the whole cost of running the scheme up front when you buy a full beverage container and receive only a partial refund when you return the container. The scheme is not free. Some cost may be offset by the scheme’s sale of glass.
All forms of regulated product stewardship have some cost, but we believe there is a more cost-effective and simpler solution for glass that would help New Zealand improve the glass recovery rate to 85% or better.
This is a common misconception. A CRS collects glass for recycling, not for refilling.
The GPF strongly supports refillables and has a stated strategy of supporting refillables projects through our contestable fund. The biggest and longest running refillables programme in New Zealand is supported by GPF members.
We have the opportunity through the co-design process to explore direct incentives or support for refillables programmes within a regulated scheme design.
They would not be covered by the Container Return Scheme (CRS) that has been proposed and would still need to be put into your kerbside recycling. This duplication of recycling services will inevitably be less cost effective for New Zealand as a whole, and be more confusing for consumers.
Container glass already has a 75% recovery rate. That includes things like peanut butter and sauce jars and bottles, not just beverage glass, and is a better recovery rate than in many places around the world.
Over the past 30 years, New Zealand has made significant investment in kerbside recycling services and community collection facilities. The current glass recovery rate is already higher than many countries/states who have recently introduced CRS schemes.
We believe that by adjusting market dynamics and enhancing existing systems, we can reach the same or better recovery targets for glass as the proposed Container Return Scheme (CRS) in a way that’s simpler to implement, and much more cost-effective without requiring people to change their recycling behaviour.
In New Zealand we currently have a voluntary scheme to improve the recovery and recycling rates of container glass, which is operated by the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) and accredited by the Minister for the Environment. Voluntary members are producers who pay levies on their glass packaging to fund this.
The scheme has so far achieved a national recovery rate of 75% – with communities up and down the country playing a big role in helping to make this happen. However, we believe we can do better – recovering 85% or more and making improvements to the whole glass life cycle.
All container glass would be included, not just beverage containers.
People would continue to put their glass in kerbside recycling, but there would be more financial benefit for collectors who would sell glass to the scheme. This would incentivise them to collect glass from communities or sectors (such as hospitality) that are currently not well served.
Right now, collectors are mainly councils and community recycling networks, but the incentive would also drive other community-led recycling. Community groups and organisations could collect and sell glass to the scheme for a financial benefit, for example the local rugby club, the marae in a rural community, or your kids’ school.
There will also be a fund to assist community groups with infrastructure that will help them to become collectors.
To achieve this, the GPF has asked Hon. David Parker, the Minister for the Environment, to enter into a co-design process with us to transition our voluntary MfE Accredited product stewardship scheme for container glass to a regulated scheme under the priority products framework.
- The Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) has an in-depth understanding of the glass supply chain, and we see better design for a regulated scheme for container glass. Those involved in beverage containers made of other materials will need to make their own decisions about supporting a Container Return Scheme (CRS) or an alternative for those materials.
- A co-design process that follows Ministry for the Environment guidelines for priority products. This is an inclusive process that will include a range of stakeholders and has multiple layers of consultation throughout the process.
- Depending on the outcome of the co-design process, then the next step could be declaration of container glass as a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
- Submit the proposed scheme for regulation
- Consultation on any regulations that might need to be implemented..
Regulated schemes must be run by not for profit entities with a range of stakeholders represented in their governance. Industry would be just one stakeholder alongside community and other interests.
Our motivation is to achieve the best possible recycling model for the New Zealand supply chain, and we’re confident this alternative model will achieve that. With the right support, we believe this could be put in place reasonably quickly and easily, given the aim is simply to adapt and evolve what we have in place today to achieve bigger and better gains.
Sustainability is central to business success for our sector. We understand and support the
Government’s strong desire to make measurable improvements in waste and recycling in New Zealand. We are committed to identifying the most cost-effective ways for New Zealand to improve its recycling rates for containers.
The research we have commissioned with NZIER casts serious doubt about the effectiveness of the proposed Container Return Scheme (CRS) in achieving the desired outcome and meeting the nation’s soaring expectations.
As an existing product stewardship scheme for container glass, it is our responsibility to advocate for the best possible outcomes for that material, not just the portion that is beverage packaging.
While this research comes after the development of the CRS design, industry had been waiting to begin this work alongside Government expecting a declaration of beverage packaging as a priority product. However, it was the decision to develop the CRS design without consideration of the existing voluntary stewardship scheme that prompted industry to present an alternative to ensure there is a fair and robust comparison to the CRS.
Our proposed alternative is anchored on a highly collaborative model involving input from grass root community groups, Iwi, industry and Government to create a smarter, long-term solution New Zealanders can be proud of.
We see an opportunity to enter into a co-design process to transition our voluntary MfE Accredited product stewardship scheme for container glass to a regulated scheme under the priority products framework. This leads the way for a community, industry and Government designed and built scheme.
Such a scheme would enhance current infrastructure, strengthen market dynamics, and importantly, keep the system as simple as possible for consumers – while still achieving significant gains on what we do today. In summary, the scheme would purchase glass off collectors, shifting the cost burden away from councils and producers.
- Yes, we’ve consulted with a number of local councils, Hospitality NZ and industry bodies including: Brewers Association NZ, Spirits NZ and New Zealand Winegrowers – all of which support exploring our proposal through a co-design process in line with Ministry for the Environment gazetted guidelines.
- Increased recycling and new opportunities for refilling – giving greater effect to circular economy outcomes and any future priority product guidelines.
- As well as councils and other existing collectors, community groups and organisations can collect and sell glass to the scheme for a financial benefit – the local rugby club, the marae in a rural community, even your kids’ school.
- There will be a fund to assist community groups with infrastructure that will assist them to become collectors.
- It will enhance New Zealanders existing recycling infrastructure and collection networks up and down the country.
- It will incentivise the best-practice collection methods that we know lead to higher recovery rates and better quality (colour-sorted) glass.
- It will focus on material quality alongside material quantity outcomes.
- It will incentivise the use of glass with recycled content where production standards allow.
- The overall cost to New Zealand will be lower than a CRS.
- It will compel all participants in the supply chain to submit data which can be used to continuously improve the scheme.
- There will be investment made available to improve and support the public place collection network.
Yes, with all of the information made available we are confident the Minister will want to investigate the alternative scheme ahead of going further with the Container Return Scheme.
Our intention is to work with government and other stakeholders to make this happen. Industry intends to play an active leadership role and we look forward to progressing talks with Government.
- There will be a cost associated with any form of regulation, and this is a price that has to be paid to help reduce the volume of waste being produced over the long-term.
While a co-design process is needed to validate costs, we are confident from our in-depth knowledge of the supply chain that our proposed scheme for glass would come at a much lower overall cost to consumers and business in Aotearoa than a Container Return Scheme (CRS). Some costs from both proposed schemes would be offset by the sale of glass.
The role of the Container Return Scheme (CRS) working group was to design a CRS for beverage containers, not to look at what options would deliver the best results for each material.Their design is currently under consideration by the Ministry for the Environment, but work is not yet underway to roll-out the scheme. That’s why the GPF is suggesting an alternative scheme for consideration to ensure all avenues have been explored before the CRS develops any further.
In New Zealand we currently operate a voluntary scheme to recover and recycle container glass, which is administered by the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) – made up of private industry participants. This scheme is generally well supported throughout the supply chain, from producers of containers to the end consumer, including local councils and waste collection companies in the middle.
The scheme has so far achieved a national recovery and recycling rate of 75%. This is a good result and communities up and down the country have played a big role in helping to make this happen. But the truth is we can and should be doing better and we know New Zealanders are willing to do so.
Norway is an example where industry operates a Container Return Scheme (CRS) for other materials, while glass is collected at kerbside and has a 93% recovery rate. We believe that under our proposed regulated scheme New Zealand can reach an 85% recovery rate or better.
No, all parties involved in the development of a successful alternative scheme stand to benefit if we get this right, including most importantly, the environment.
Ministry for the Environment gazetted guidelines recommend a range of stakeholders to be represented. That will include Māori, community recycling organisations, waste industry groups, and local government.
Any regulated scheme must consider how it takes responsibility for the material, including material which ends up as litter.
The proposed CRS will only be for beverage containers, which only make up 4% of the litter count, and glass is only one fifth of this, or 0.8% of litter in total. (Source: Keep New Zealand Beautiful 2018)
It’s not clear cut that a CRS by iteself reduces litter. A study in three German cities following the introduction of a CRS noted that significant litter reduction was not achieved in two of the three cities. (Source: Prognos 2007)
The problem of litter needs to be addressed in a broad range of ways, including increasing access to public place recycling and rubbish bins and influencing the attitudes and behaviour of those who litter.