Magazine article New Zealand Management

The Waste Minimisation Bill

Magazine article New Zealand Management

The Waste Minimisation Bill

Article excerpt

New Zealand needs some kind of economic levy to help the country come to grips with its solid waste mountain--but the only legislative cab off the rank currently comes with significant risks to business.

These flaws could see the Green Party's private member's bill on Waste Minimisation voted down at its third reading unless the Parliamentary select committee (to which it was quietly slipped on June 14) makes some amendments.

The concept of the bill is good and the use of solid waste levies has proved successful overseas. The funds thus raised can be ploughed back into public and private efforts to reduce, recycle and reuse the 3.2 million tonnes that go into this country's 93 landfills every year.

However, this bill is unlikely to get majority support from MPs if it keeps provisions to:

* extend the levy to another 3.2 million tonnes of waste going to cleanfills (which include waste such as concrete, rubble, plasterboard, wood, steel, brick and glass) each year;

* require every one of our 366,000 businesses nationwide to produce a waste minimisation plan;

* ban sales of all products which do not produce a product stewardship programme when required. (Product stewardship involves producers taking responsibility throughout the lifecycle of their products, including disposal.)

The product stewardship provisions may surprise brand owners, defined as "a person or organisation who manufactures or imports into New Zealand a product intended for sale or other distribution to another person or organisation in New Zealand, or for re-export'. The bill allows the Government to order compulsory stewardship programmes for products recommended by the director of a new national Waste Minimisation Authority.

Brand owners are compelled to produce plans, establish collection facilities for products at the end of their lives, keep them open for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, recycle or reuse a minimum of 75 percent of the product collected; advertise collection services, and offer incentives for people to bring back used products. …

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