We want Government to acknowledge that plastic waste and pollution starts with the production of avoidable and single-use plastics, not the consumption of them, and that waste policies should target a Reduction of these products entering the economic system. We want Government waste minimisation policy to emphasise Reduction of these products with a focus on the importers and manufacturers of single-use and avoidable plastics. We want the Government to measure import volumes and set Reduction Targets for NZ imports of virgin plastic resins used for packaging and NZ imports of new single-use plastic packaging.
Why is this important?
New Zealand currently imports more than 250 000 tonnes a year of virgin plastic resins with 60% made into rigid and soft plastic packaging - the things that mostly go to landfill. We currently ‘recycle’ around 20% of all plastics each year, though this is largely by exporting large volumes to other countries and making it their problem.
Right now, the global oil industry is investing US$180 billion in new plastic production plants and upgrades in order to increase virgin plastic production by 40% in the next 10 years with an increase of oil diverted into plastic production from 6% now up to 20%.
There is no question that the global mass expansion of virgin plastic production will lead to further massive increases in single-use plastic packaging products here in New Zealand as that plastic finds a market. We have already experienced an explosion of single-use plastic products as virgin plastic production has more than trebled since 1990.
We simply cannot Recycle out of the current and exponentially growing plastics tsunami and waste minimisation policies and legislation must focus on the Reduction of these products coming into the economic system in the first place.
Plastic packaging and pollution, therefore, is not an individual Consumer Issue, it is a Production Issue which requires regulation of packaging manufacturers and food & beverage companies. This means Government intervention and makes plastic packaging a political issue.
As consumers we cannot realistically hope to write to the 100s and 1000s of individual companies to ask them to change out of single-use plastic packaging and we cannot individually push back against the millions of marketing dollars creating markets for these plastic products.
With plastic recycling rates at around 20%, recycling is not a solution - it's an ambulance with flat tyres and no driver.
We must focus on Reduction targets imposed by Government to force industry to change their packaging products and move out of polluting plastics.
Please sign my petition to the Minister and then join me at my campaign sending a strong message to all MPs in Parliament at:
How it will be delivered
I have yet to decide whether we will deliver this petition in person or to the media.
of 500 signatures
Sign the petition