We need to rethink our approach to plastic waste in New Zealand. Hard to recycle and single use plastic ruins our environment and harms our wildlife, particularly our oceans and marine life. Around 61% of waste that washes up on New Zealand beaches is due to plastic. By phasing out certain plastics, we can prevent and avoid waste in the first place. That’s why new environmental policy proposed by the government hopes to phase out hard to recycle and single use plastic by 2025. Progress has already been made, proven by the success of the plastic bag ban, but more needs to be done to make the switch to plastic free products in NZ.
Government to Phase Out Hard to Recycle Plastics
Following on from the success of last year’s plastic bag ban, the government are now turning their focus to tackle other single use plastics. The plastic bag ban has shown that New Zealanders do support urgent change in the area of reducing plastic waste. Harmful plastics include those that are single use and harder to recycle.
The government’s “Reducing the impact of plastic on our environment” proposes to phase out:
- Hard to recycle PVC and polystyrene packaging
- Seven single use plastic items, including plastic straws, drink stirrers, produce bags, tableware (e.g. plastic plates, bowls, cutlery) and non-compostable fruit stickers.
Protecting our environment from plastic is one of the biggest challenges our generation must face. Plastic pollution of our oceans is unacceptable; killing marine wildlife for the sake of single use plastic is a needless tragedy. Phasing out hard to recycle and single use plastic will reduce waste and increase environmental protection, as well as improving the efficiency of our recycling system.
Banning the Bag
Last year’s plastic bag ban has been successful, saving over 1 billion single use plastic bags so far. Kiwis have adapted well to the plastic bag ban, taking the initiative to shop with reusable bags way ahead of the environmental policy implementation. The actions of individuals have generated the enormous collective achievement of removing single use plastic from stores nationwide. The reason that single use plastic remains large among New Zealand environmental issues is that for a short time use, plastic takes decades to break down in our environment. The plastic bag ban came into effect as environmental protection for our wildlife and waterways. Plastic waste in general remains an even larger battle not yet won, with single use plastic contaminating the marine environment a particular cause for concern.
What will the Plastic Ban mean for Businesses?
Some businesses have already shifted to eco friendly packaging alternatives, showing that many kiwis support an active response to climate change in New Zealand. Many cafes and restaurants offering takeaway do also support the ‘bring your own container’ initiative, encouraging customers to bring their own reusable container. Paper-based alternatives and bioplastics are great eco friendly materials to be used instead of single use plastic.
Nature Pac favours plant-based materials including bamboo, sugar cane, and polylactic acid (PLA) for our eco friendly packaging. Plant-based replacements for single use plastic are readily available to serve the hospitality industry with a wide range of paper bags, coffee cups, and takeaway containers. Making the shift to serve up on plastic free products in NZ is a win for you and for our environment. Climate change in New Zealand has never been more at the forefront of our national psyche. Make the switch from single use plastic to plastic free products in NZ. Proving that your business will play a part in environmental protection is putting your best foot forward.