INDEPENDENT NEWS

Plastics campaigners disappointed by announcement

Published: Tue 5 Jun 2018 03:48 PM
Artist Brydee Rood installs her art piece at Auckland's eastern viaduct this morning, 14 metres long made entirely of recycled single-use plastic bags. Photo credit: Veronika Rejskova
Plastics campaigners disappointed by government’s plastic announcement
Plastics campaigners and a local Auckland artist creating a plastic art installation for World Environment Day this morning, were disappointed to hear the government’s latest “red herring” plan to tackle plastic pollution.
“There are fantastic legislative tools we already have available to tackle our plastic waste, like bottle deposits and a plastic bag ban, but the government just isn’t stepping up,” says The Kiwi Bottle Drive’s plastics campaigner Holly Dove.
“Instead it’s allowing the industry who are creating the problem to provide false solutions and get away with the bare minimum - it’s a red herring and it’s not the solution to our plastic problem.”
Dove and a team of volunteers have spent the last week helping local artist Brydee Rood set up an art installation on Auckland’s Eastern Viaduct for World Environment day, installing a 14-metre windsock made entirely of single-use plastic bags this morning to raise awareness for plastic pollution.
“We were setting up this morning when we heard the news that government had joined up with businesses to declare a commitment to tackle plastic, which sounded great at first, but I was saddened to hear how unambitious their vision was."
“Our art piece, which we’ve got installed for a whole week down at Auckland’s waterfront was created by artist Brydee to highlight the devastating effects of plastic on the environment and to call on the government to take strong action on waste," says Dove.
“This isn’t strong action, this is industry greenwash."
All packaging will be recyclable or compostable by 2025 the declaration claims, but it hasn’t addressed the biggest issue, which is actually collecting this material uncontaminated and in a state where it can be recycled, Dove says.
“We need systems in place to collect recyclable material otherwise it will go into landfill, or worse, end up in our oceans, which is exactly what’s happening right now,” she says.
“With more than a billion plastic bottles being produced each day globally, we need to be cutting down on plastic, not business-as-usual where we’ll find bottles and bags, which already are recyclable anyway, still clogging up our oceans and communities in the years to come," she says.
“We’ve no time to waste on false solutions - let’s bring in mandatory product stewardship and build a circular economy which encourages re-design, re-use and industry responsibility.”
More than 30 countries across the world have taken legislative action on single-use plastics, by introducing a bottle deposit scheme, which has led to recycling rates of 85% plus and decreases in litter of more than 65%.
But it's something the New Zealand Government has failed to enact in legislation despite bottle deposits already being included in the Waste Minimisation Act, 2008.
“The solution is there, we just need to act on it,” says Dove.

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