The New Zealand Government has declared six new ‘priority products’ to be regulated under product stewardship schemes.
Products set to be regulated are: plastic packaging, tyres, e-waste, agrichemicals and their containers, refrigerants and farm plastics.
“Regulated product stewardship helps put the responsibility for waste and what happens to products at the end of their useful life on manufacturers, importers, retailers and users, rather than on communities, councils, neighbourhoods and nature,” Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said.
Currently, New Zealand has 15 voluntary accredited product stewardship schemes in place.
However, Sage said the voluntary schemes have had limited success in minimising waste for targeted products.
“Government’s decision to require the establishment of regulated product stewardship schemes follows a public consultation in 2019, with public support for government taking stronger action on these products,” she said.
Sage added that New Zealanders’ expectations about waste have changed.
“We need new approaches such as regulated product stewardship, which will help reduce the environmental impacts of waste by ensuring that products and materials currently lost to landfill or pollution are recovered, reprocessed or re-used,” she said.
The next step will be for the Ministry for the Environment to work with the manufacturers and retailers of priority products to co-design product stewardship schemes and regulations.
“Mandatory schemes for these problem products help level the playing field and ensure everyone involved in their design, production, sale and use contributes to diverting the materials in them from landfill at the end of their useful life,” Sage said.