Saturday, June 15, 2024

Lifting lid on first $50m plastics fund projects

The Government has today announced the first four investments to be made from the $50 million Plastics Innovation fund which was set up last year to help reduce the impact of plastics on the environment.

Environment Minister David Parker said total funding for the four projects amounts to $5.57 million.

“Together, these projects help to turn Kiwi innovation and imagination into reality, and change the way we make, use and dispose of plastics,” Mr Parker said.

“We are also utilising funding from the Waste Minimisation Fund to help design a regulated plastic packaging product stewardship scheme for New Zealand.

“Once in place it will require producers, brand owners, importers, retailers and consumers to take responsibility for collecting and dealing with plastic packaging.”

The projects are: 

  • Marley NZ, partnering with Waste Management and Unitec, to minimise construction waste by breaking down old plumbing pipes made of PVC and HDPE and using the material to make new pipes.
  • A research and development project by Pinehurst Associates, in collaboration with Scion, to develop bio-degradable nursery pots as an alternative to traditional plastics pots. The pots would degrade once planted, to support plant growth.
  • A partnership with Policon to expand New Zealand’s onshore recycling capability, by turning waste polystyrene, such as you find in appliance packaging, into innovative building products.
  • An initiative with Kaipaki Dairies that extends their reusable milk keg delivery service, removing up to a million single use plastic milk bottles per annum.

An estimated 60% of plastics imported into New Zealand is used by the packaging sector.

The Government is providing $994,900 to industry organisation The Packaging Forum to design a regulated plastic packaging product stewardship scheme over two years.

Mr Parker said the project will see representatives from across the plastic packaging chain come together to design a fit-for-purpose product stewardship scheme.

The Packaging Forum and the NZ Food and Grocery Council will also contribute funding to the project, which will cost a total of $1,361,000.

“Together, these investments will help reduce the amount of plastic waste that gets into the environment and into landfill.

“They build on the decisive action the Government has already taken to tackle the problem of plastic pollution, including the ban on single-use plastic bags, polystyrene food and drink packaging and other single use plastic items.

“The actions our Government is taking move New Zealand closer to using plastic in ways that prevent harm to the environment,” Minister Parker said.

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