Government announcement a clear win for environment says Glass Packaging Forum

Glass Packaging Forum Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon

MEDIA RELEASE: Government’s announcement today (29 July) declaring a host of products, including single-use plastic packaging, priority products under the Waste Minimisation Act is a huge leap in the right direction in New Zealand’s war on waste.

This according to the country’s only voluntary stewardship scheme for glass bottles and jars, the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF). Forum Chair Karen Titulaer says the GPF took part in the consultation process in August 2019 after the Ministry for the Environment proposed beverage containers as one of the priority products under the Act.

“We note glass beverage containers were not included in today’s announcement. While we would welcome the level playing field inclusion in the announcement would have allowed for, we will continue to improve and build on our voluntary product stewardship scheme. We are already working on an alternative whole of life cycle model for glass that we are confident will cost consumers substantially less than a CRS scheme,” Karen says.

“There is currently a working group underway looking at a container return scheme for beverage containers, and we expect further announcements around this,” she says. However we’ll continue to work towards achieving our goal of capturing over 80% of the total glass going to market, by 2024,”

Today’s announcement by Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage, means all importers, producers and retailers of six product categories will have to take responsibility for their products post-consumption through regulated product stewardship schemes.

The product categories announced are: single-use plastic packaging, tyres, refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases, e-waste, agricultural chemicals and their containers, and agricultural plastics.

The GPF’s Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says their member brands have funded over $3.5 million in grants to date to improve the outcomes for glass. The scheme currently captures more than 70% of glass bottles and jars sold in New Zealand, preventing them from going to landfill.

“This is an enviable recovery rate for any recyclable material worldwide,” Dominic says.

The GPF prefers an approach which takes the whole lifecycle into account – from design right through to recycling, Karen says. “This is as opposed to a container return scheme, which focusses on just collection and which we believe will cost consumers more than the model we are working on”.