Ad campaign calls for government to bring in deposits on beverage containers

The Kiwi Bottle Drive is launching an ad campaign today, to encourage the government to immediately implement a beverage container return scheme.

Every year 1.3 billion beverage containers end up either littered or landfilled in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is more than half the total number of drinks put on the market, and equivalent to around 30 times the size of the Beehive.

A key solution to our rubbish crisis is a 20-cent refundable deposit on all beverage containers.

A well-designed Container Return Scheme would more than double New Zealand’s beverage container return rate, from the current rate of around 40%, up to 85% or even higher. The result would be less landfilling, less litter, more high-quality recycling, more green jobs, and the potential to wash and reuse more bottles too – like in the old days.

“We already know that 83% of New Zealanders and 90% of local councils, as well as organisations like Coca Cola and the New Zealand Beverage Council, support the introduction of a nation-wide beverage container return scheme,” said Olga Darkadaki, campaigner at the Kiwi Bottle Drive.

Local councils stand to make significant gains under an effective container return scheme, which could see collective savings in the tens of millions each year.

“The government already has a comprehensive proposed scheme specifically for Aotearoa, having funded a design process throughout 2019 and 2020. All that is now required is for the government to take the next step and agree to making this scheme a reality in New Zealand through law,” added Darkadaki.

“Rather than winding up on beaches, roadsides and in landfills, bottles and cans will be collected and made available for good quality recycling or better yet, reuse,” added Darkadaki.

New Zealand is lagging behind other countries when it comes to container return schemes. Such initiatives are commonplace throughout Canada, Europe, and increasingly, Australia, which will have a scheme in all states by 2023.

Countries with container return schemes see far higher return rates than countries without schemes, and much lower rates of litter. For example, Germany’s scheme, operational since 2002, achieves a return rate of 98%.

“We can’t afford to let these massive quantities of valuable recyclable materials simply become rubbish and marine pollution. Adopting a national container return scheme with a 20-cent deposit on beverage containers is essential. We urge the government to act and call on the New Zealand public to help us push the government to do this,” said Darkadaki.

The public can show their support for a comprehensive Container Return Scheme for Aotearoa by sending an email to Environment Minister, David Parker through the Kiwi Bottle Drive website

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Published 1 October 2021