New Zealand’s major city mayors are looking at compulsory refundable deposit schemes for glass and plastic bottles in an effort to avoid building new rubbish dumps.
The New Zealand Herald reports that mayors in Local Government New Zealand’s metro section, representing the country’s biggest cities, have set up a “zero waste” working party to look at measures including refundable deposits and levies on new products, to fund the cost of recycling them when they “die”.
Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, who co-chairs the group with North Shore’s George Wood, said New Zealand should force drink companies to pay refunds on empty bottles to stop people throwing them in the rubbish. “Manufacturers must be accountable for their products, particularly bottles, and I believe also packaging,” he said. “I believe in a real tough agenda. They will scream, but the fact is we are all in this together.” He said laws should be passed to require manufacturers of household items such as fridges to take back old products at the end of their lives. Fridge maker Fisher and Paykel already does this voluntarily. Mr Harvey also advocates up-front levies on new products such as tyres to pay for their eventual recycling, such as Canada’s $3.80 levy per tyre.
Environment Minister Marian Hobbs says she has no plans for compulsory deposit laws or other recycling legislation.
She opposed Green MP Mike Ward’s proposal for a levy on plastic bags – a measure that cut Ireland’s use of plastic bags by 90 per cent. In New Zealand, supermarkets are trying to cut bag use under the Packaging Accord. She said a discussion paper on a broader levy on all wastes going to rubbish dumps, which was drafted by the Environment Ministry before Christmas, was canned because of a “reprioritisation in the ministry”. Instead, officials were now working with key industries to encourage voluntary recycling.
Used vehicle oil, for example, is collected by the big oil companies and sent to a cement works at Westport for fuel. The oil giants wanted smaller firms, such as Valvoline and Pennzoil, to contribute too, but Ms Hobbs backed off. “We were looking at a levy but the little companies wouldn’t have a barge pole of it, so we were stymied, not wanting to do in the small companies,” she said.
National Party environment spokesman Nick Smith also opposes any new levies that would increase business costs. He said compulsory deposits or “take-back” laws would be unfair because they could not be applied to all the hundreds of thousands of supermarket products. “The best way is to have a proactive Zero Waste Authority that is working closely with industry to try and improve environmental performance, rather than a crude and blunt regulatory approach,” he said.
National supports laws that would force councils to charge the full costs of rubbish dumps. This included recovering the cost of the land, and allowing them to charge “a modest levy” on landfills that would pay for kerbside recycling
|Ano da Publicação:||2003|
|Fonte:||WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #23-2003: July 15, 2003|
|Autor:||Kit Strange, Warmer Bulletin|
|Email do Autor:||email@example.com|