5 May 2022

Christchurch City Council is backing Government plans to introduce a container return scheme and is calling for it to be implemented without delay.

It has made a submission on the Ministry for the Environment’s Transforming Recycling discussion document voicing its support for the idea of a container return scheme.

Such a scheme would shift the responsibility for beverage container collection and recycling from local authorities to producers and offer a refund to consumers on all eligible returned containers.

“We support the refund amount of 20 cents as this will provide a suitable incentive to encourage participation, without putting too much additional cost on the container at point of sale,’’ the Council’s says in its submission.

The Council is also supporting the Government’s proposal to standardise kerbside collections so that the same set of materials is collected across the country.

At the moment different Councils accept different items for recycling.

“Contamination of kerbside recycling is a significant issue and a large part of the confusion is due to mixed messaging of what can be recycled, combined with inconsistencies between collection services. The proposed standards would close the gap, reduce contamination, improving current levels of diversion nationally,’’ the Council’s submission says.

However, it warns regulation will be needed to achieve national consistency.

“National consistency will only be achieved with regulation and support with national recycling labelling (as in Australia) to give the public clear, consistent messaging and the confidence that they are recycling correctly. This would also motivate manufacturers to move towards packaging options that achieve the labelling standards.’’

In its submission the Council also:

  • Supports the proposals for separate collection of food scraps. However, it recommends that Councils should be able to choose whether to collect food scraps separately or combined with garden organics.
  • Calls for local authorities to retain the ability to decide whether they co-mingle glass, paper and cardboard for recycling or collect them separately.
  • Supports the idea of having a national network of convenient and easy places where people can recycle items that cannot be included for kerbside collection.

Read the Council’s full submission. 

Consultation on the Ministry for the Environment’s Transforming Recycling discussion document closes on 8 May.