Monday, June 24, 2024

Auckland chooses to reuse in container return trial

This Recycling Week, eco-conscious residents in Auckland are being asked to sign up to a container return trial.

With support from Auckland Council, the Drink Different Choose2Reuse trial is looking for 1,000 people in central Auckland suburbs keen to send a message to beverage manufacturers to reuse their packaging.

Participants who sign up will receive a crate for returning beverage containers. With up to 12,000 containers returned, results of the trial will help determine which beverages and brands consumers are keen to see in reusable packaging. An online survey is also open to anyone who wants to share their views.

Social enterprise Green Bottle is behind the initiative. Founder, Neil Pollett says companies are led by consumer demand when it comes to investing in sustainable outcomes.

“Customers have the power to make a difference with their choices. We know people prefer to support products and companies that are good for the environment,” he said.

“Choosing to reuse bottles has benefits both economically and environmentally. We can dramatically reduce our carbon footprint by reusing bottles, instead of recycling alone.”

Reusing glass bottles reduces the need for new glass production, conserving natural resources and lowering energy consumption. Significantly, reused glass bottles produce over 90% less carbon emissions than recycled ones, said Mr Pollett.

“Currently, only 1% of the almost one billion drink containers that Aucklanders buy every year are reused. Much of it ends up in landfill. Even if a container is recycled, it comes at a substantial cost to the environment,” he said.

Auckland Council is supporting the initiative with the Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre providing a central place for picking up and dropping off crates. Green Bottle received a Waste Minimisation & Innovation Fund grant from the council in 2022 to help promote reuse of beverage containers.

Auckland Council General Manager Waste Solutions, Parul Sood says reusing glass bottles is a positive and important step on the journey to a zero-waste, circular economy.

“Auckland Council has long advocated for product stewardship schemes, which support the reuse of packaging in their existing form.”

“Green Bottle’s initiative has the potential to change the mindset of both consumers and manufacturers. Recycling is definitely better than sending plastic or glass bottles to landfill, but reusing containers is the gold standard when it comes to packaging beverages.”

Several beverage companies are taking a keen interest in the trial and providing vouchers and prizes for participants.

How the trial works

Participants sign up to at www.drinkdifferent.co.nz. A crate is delivered for free to any participants living within 7km of Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre (CRC) in Western Springs or can be picked up from the centre. Participants buy their favourite beverages as usual from any shop where they are sold. Instead of placing their empties in their recycling bin, they can place up to 12 in a Green Bottle reuse crate. Any beverage container that fits in the crate will be accepted, whether glass, plastic or cans. The crate can be dropped off at the Waiōrea CRC or participating retailers or collected from participants’ homes.

Up to 12,000 bottles returned as part of the promotion will be catalogued by brand and type of beverage and used to show what beverages consumers most want to see marketed in refillable packaging.

Anyone can also participate online via a survey by listing brands and categories of beverages they most want to see made returnable. The survey is open until the trial end date of 30 November. Participants who return crates or complete a survey can go in the draw to win refreshing beverage prize packs before Christmas.

Sign up at www.drinkdifferent.co.nz by Tuesday 31 October to pre-register for free crate delivery if you live 7km or less from Waiōrea CRC at 990 Great North Road in Western Springs.

You can still take part in the trial if you live further out by visiting Waiōrea CRC from Thursday 2 November to pick up a crate.

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