Designing New Zealand's Container Return Scheme

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Designing New Zealand's Container Return Scheme

Auckland Council and Marlborough District Council are co-ordinating a project to design a container return scheme (CRS) for beverages.

Who is involved?

Auckland Council and Marlborough District Council are co-ordinating a project to design a container return scheme (CRS) for beverages. The project will bring together a multi-stakeholder working group that represents all sectors involved with beverage containers. The working group will be supported by a project team.

What is involved?

The working group will consider learnings from other CRS schemes internationally and then design a scheme that will work for New Zealand.

Why are we doing this?

Introducing a CRS needs careful consideration and input from all affected parties. The project will facilitate the opportunity to develop a CRS and consider what impacts it will have.

When are we doing this?

The project will run between November 2019 and September 2020. A final CRS design will be submitted to the Ministry for the Environment by August 2020.

Where is the project taking place?

The CRS design working group will meet regularly during the project period. Meetings will take place at the Rydges Airport Hotel conferencing centre in Wellington.

How is the group going to design a CRS for New Zealand?

The project team will provide information to the working group as part of the design process. Information will be supplied from a range of sources including, but not limited to, existing overseas CRS schemes, working group sectors, technical experts and government agencies. The assembled information will delivered in four blocks or tranches to the working group. In general terms the process will flow as follows:

Information generated - working group receives info and provides initial feedback – information is updated to reflect feedback and then tabled as an agenda item for a working group meeting – agenda item is tabled at working group meeting and design option(s) discussed and agreed, noting that some decisions may require further consideration as the design process progresses.

A record of the discussions and decision making process and outcomes are recorded as part of the project. The process continues until the final CRS design is achieved.

Project guiding principles and outcomes

The key project outcomes are:

  • change the way NZ values beverage containers that will see increased recycling and new opportunities for refilling
  • reduce the volume of plastics and other container litter currently ending up in our streams, marine environment, public spaces and landfills; and
  • give effect to circular economy outcomes and any future priority product guidelines.

The key project guiding principles are:

  • make it easier and convenient to return containers across New Zealand
  • design a solution that is cost effective and efficient
  • improve quality and marketability of recyclables and assess impact of design on current kerbside and other collection and processing systems
  • create new opportunities for employment, community participation and fund-raising for charities and social enterprises.

In addition, the CRS design will consider opportunities to:

  • use technology and innovations to optimise performance of the CRS
  • support greater investment in re-manufacturing and regional development
  • align objectives with the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Ao Māori; and
  • mitigate climate change.