Media Release from Wanaka Waste Busters
5 November 2010
Grey Lynn has been chosen as one of five focus towns for a project about packaging waste.
Wanaka Wastebusters is coordinating the Demystifying Packaging Choices project, which was launched in Wellington today. Colinda van der Sluis said that the Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away focus group was excited about the opportunity to be part of the project.
“This project fits in well with goals of our group, which are to educate and to work with the local community to help reduce, reuse, recycle waste”
At the launch,Wanaka Wastebusters campaigner Angus Ho released a poll showing that a large majority (86%) of New Zealanders are concerned by the amount of packaging waste they have to deal with.
Mr Ho said the results clearly show that people are sick of over-packaging and want minimal packaging that they can reuse and recycle. Nearly all the people surveyed (94%) said they want to choose packaging they can reuse or recycle.
“This poll shows New Zealanders really care about the impact that packaging waste has on the environment. The vast majority recycle and reuse packaging when they get home.
Mr Ho said unfortunately a lot of packaging waste can’t be reused or recycled, so there is no alternative but to send it to the dump. “As the Government is not implementing mandatory product stewardship schemes, the burden of packaging waste is left with the end consumer.”
“You have to ask yourself why in this age companies are still using out-dated packaging which is going to end up in the landfill. There is no excuse, and there is no consumer support for that kind of packaging.”
Many people seized on the chance to talk about the packaging that annoys them,” said Mr Ho. The issue which raised most concern was over-packaging (78%), followed by green-wash claims (73%), no reusable or recyclable option (70%) and poor labeling (63%).
The next step will be to raise interest in town around packaging waste. Wanaka Wastebusters are putting together a travelling roadshow which will arrive in town in April 2011.
Wanaka Wastebusters roadshow organiser Ivy Wilmott and fellow staff-member Leanne Parkinson will be training at a circus workshop late this year to prepare for the roadshow.
“We want to entertain and inspire people about packaging choices” said Ivy Wilmott. “The more fun and colourful our roadshow, the more information people are going to take on board.”
There will also be a “best” and “worst” packaging competition to be nominated and chosen by the public through an online vote.
The website which will host the competition will also provide in depth information about good and bad packaging to help inform consumers.
Mr Ho said an interesting finding from the survey was that only 10 percent or respondents always checked whether packaging can be recycled before they buy it, even though more than 80 percent always recycled at home.
“All products should have minimal, recyclable packaging. That should be the producers’ job. The responsibility clearly lies with the producers.
“The consumers’ job is simple – to recycle and reuse when they get home. Our survey showed that the consumers are holding up their end, but there are a lot of producers who are letting everyone down with over-packaging, green-wash claims about packaging and non-recyclable packaging.
“We are going to send this survey report to the Government, the Packaging Council and major producers and we’re looking forward to their response.”
Gina Dempster (comms): 443 8606 x 9, 027 443 7116, (03) 443 7116 (hm)
Colinda van der Sluis: 021 582 600
*Wanaka Wastebusters conducted the poll with a sample size of 1,000. A full report is available from Angus Ho.
Wanaka Wastebusters is a community enterprise set up by the Wanaka community ten years ago. Our work includes recycling, reuse and education for sustainability services. All surpluses are put back into our services with the vision of achieving a 70 percent resource recovery target for our community by 2014.
The Demystifying Packaging Choices project has received financial support from the Waste Minimisation Fund, which is administered by the Ministry for the Environment.