The Packaging Forum has urged councils and community groups to apply for funding for recycling and recovery projects.

Last year, it allocated $501,000 in direct funding to support council, community and commercial projects in the year to end June 2016. It operates two industry funded voluntary product stewardship schemesecycling projects for glass recycling and public place recycling and last year it introduced a soft plastic recycling programme. Each scheme has its own contestable fund with allocations made on a quarterly basis by the relevant steering committee.
Lyn Mayes, communications manager for the Packaging Forum, says, “Over the past year, 48 per cent of our funding or around $240,000 was allocated to councils to assist with the purchase of public place recycling bins and infrastructure to increase the recovery of glass containers. We also contributed $81,000 to support community recycling and composting around the country as well as $180,000 in commercial projects including the introduction of soft plastic recycling collections at supermarkets and The Warehouse stores in Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury.
“Our schemes are funded by voluntary levies paid by members. Over the past year we increased membership by 30 per cent, adding 42 brands, showing that industry is behind the initiatives which we champion from supporting high value glass recovery to addressing litter and increasing recycling through our Love NZ branded public place recycling bins.
“Funding is allocated according to criteria set out by the various schemes but we are keen to support projects in regions which have relatively low permanent residents and high tourist / visitor numbers. For example, we have supported a number of projects in Marlborough, Thames Coromandel, South Taranaki, Rotorua, Mackenzie District and Ashburton.
“As a result of our projects every year we are increasing the amount of packaging which gets recycled. We are adding an extra 300 Public Place Recycling Bins every year and we monitor what gets recycled through these facilities and through our other projects.”
John Webber, manager of the Glass Packaging Scheme says voluntary product stewardship provides a value for money solution to increasing packaging recycling rates. He says, “We believe that our voluntary product stewardship schemes provide a best cost solution to increase recycling rates. Earlier this year, we commissioned research by economist consultancy Covec into the cost of introducing a mandatory container deposit system in New Zealand. Covec’s research shows compelling economic evidence that the cost of introducing a 10 cent charge on every beverage container in New Zealand far outweighs the forecasted increase in the recycling rate, which is already increasing through voluntary product stewardship at a fraction of the cost.
“The glass recycling rate in New Zealand is already at 73 per cent with a target of 78 per cent by 2017, having benefited from a decade of voluntary product stewardship. Our current systems (including industry-led solutions) are making gains in overall beverage container recovery rates which will see us bridge the gap between the current 69/70 per cent beverage container recycling rate and the target 80 per cent rate over time, without incurring the large expense which CDS would put on consumers.”

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