Last month New Zealand unveiled a world-first Wellbeing Budget. It was announced that any new spending must advance one of Government’s five key priorities that are considered to be more reliable measures of quality of life than GDP. These five priorities are:

  1. Improving mental health;
  2. Reducing child poverty;
  3. Addressing the inequalities faced by indigenous Māori and Pacific island people;
  4. Thriving in a digital age; and
  5. Transitioning to a low-emission, sustainable economy.

A win for New Zealand’s waste industry, the Government announced it would provide $40 million over the next four years to help the Ministry for the Environment work on improving recycling and resource recovery and shifting New Zealand to a more efficient zero waste economy.

According to market research undertaken by the Ministry for the Environment, waste is the second most important issue for New Zealanders after poverty.

Following the National Resource Recovery Taskforce’s eight recommendations released in February this year, the Ministry for the Environment will now work on materials recovery and waste infrastructure investment, maximising the end product value from plastic and fibre recycling activities, packaging management, feasibilty studies to increase onshore reprocessing capacity, procurement and product stewardship.

Minister Sage speaking to members of WasteMINZ in early June

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage addressed members of the Waste Management Institute New Zealand (WasteMINZ) earlier this month, and expressed the Government’s strong intention to play a more significant role in product stewardship to create an even playing field.

“The Government wants to work with industry to co-design mandatory product stewardship schemes for some key problem products,” she said.

“We will soon go out to public consultation with criteria that will be used to design and assess extended producer responsibility schemes, and a timeframe for when Government expects schemes to be implemented by.”

Minister Sage indicated lithium batteries are a priority in the e-waste space, and their intention is to first test the scheme with this product stream, extending to include other forms of e-waste later. She said industry can expect this consultation period to begin within the next four months.

ANZRP has been strongly advocating for the inclusion of all types of e-waste from the beginning of such a scheme, and for it to be mandated as soon as possible.

In May we submitted our application to the Waste Minimisation Fund to expand our New Zealand TechCollect pilot program. The expansion would allow us to broaden our collection channel beyond retail sites to schools and local councils, and would give us further data and insights that would be useful for Government as it develops a product stewardship program.

We would welcome the involvement of our Members in the expansion of our pilot scheme – if you are interested please do not hesitate to get in touch.

To view the Minister’s presentation in full, click here.