New Zealand is set to ban a raft of single-use plastics such as plates, bags, cotton buds, drinking straws, fruit labels and polystyrene products by 2025.
The items will start to be phased out in three stages between late 2022 and July 2025, as announced by the New Zealand government this week. A new fund to help find alternatives to plastic has also been launched.
Environment minister David Parker says the types of plastics that will be banned often end up as waste in landfills and cause pollution in soil, waterways, and the ocean.
“We’re encouraging businesses and people to find reusable options. We know alternatives are readily available including recyclable plastic or paper-based containers,” spoke environment minister David Parker when discussing the decision. Parker also said that figures indicate New Zealanders are among some of the highest generators of plastic waste in the world, with each person throwing away an estimated 159 grams of plastic waste on an average day.
The ban will phase out hard-to-recycle food and drink packaging made from PVC and polystyrene, as well as some degradable plastic products. The 2019 plastic bag ban was well-received and supported by the public and businesses, Parker explained, and this is New Zealand’s time to “do more.”
Items to be phased out include drink stirrers, cotton buds, produce bags, cutlery, plates and bowls, straws, and fruit labels. The ban will NOT extend to single-use cups, wet wipes or some types of expanded polystyrene used to transport cold goods and protect large items.
“Phasing out unnecessary and problematic plastics will help reduce waste to landfill, improve our recycling system and encourage reusable or environmentally responsible alternatives” Parker added.
The policy is estimated to remove around two billion single-use items from landfills or the environment for each year that it’s in place.
A big step in the right direction 👏♻️