Kiwi businesses get behind campaign to reduce NZ’s growing waste problem

More than 60 organisations supplying everything from road cones, paint and mobile phones to clothing, batteries and furniture have joined a nationwide campaign to reduce waste.

Every year New Zealanders send around 2.5 million tonnes of waste to landfill which equates to over a tonne of rubbish per household.

“That’s bad for the environment, it’s costing our country millions of dollars every year, it’s contributing to our carbon emissions and it’s a shocking waste of valuable resources,” says James Griffin, General Manager Projects and Advisory at the Sustainable Business Network (SBN).

The Aotearoa Product Stewardship Campaign was launched by SBN last August. The campaign’s website promotes a growing number of businesses that offer end-of-life solutions for their products, such as repairs and take-back schemes for repurposing, reusing and recycling.

An example in the construction sector is Inzide Commercial specialising in carpet and flooring and has been a member of  The Sustainable Business Network for over a decade.

Inzide has been recycling the products it supplies to the New Zealand market for over a decade, diverting 330 tonnes of carpet tile in that time back into new carpet tile through the Interface Re-Entry scheme.  View Building Industry Climate Takeback VIDEO featuring Andrew Eagles – NZGBCJerome Partington – Jasmax,  Aidan Mullan – Interface.

View Inzide Commercial Product Stewardship Video

Since launching, 67 initiatives have been listed across 10 sectors including electrical equipment, consumer goods, office supplies, packaging and primary industries. More than 10 of the schemes are also government-accredited. While some initiatives have been going for a while, this is the first time consumers have been able to find out about them in one place.

“We’re adding new initiatives all the time. It’s really encouraging to see that momentum is building,” says James.

“There’s an increasing awareness that businesses need to take responsibility for what they make and sell, from design to the end of their life, so they’re not ending up in landfill. More consumers are asking what happens to the product they’re about to buy when it reaches the end of its useful life. Based on that, a growing number are choosing to support businesses with product stewardship schemes over those that don’t.”

An SBN survey last year showed a massive 96% of respondents thought it was important that products were made of materials that could be repaired, reused or recycled. Furthermore, most thought businesses should take a product back when it reached the end of its life so it could be reprocessed rather than thrown away.

Currently product stewardship schemes are voluntary in New Zealand. However, the government announced last July that over the next three years it will be phasing in mandatory product stewardship schemes for six ‘priority products’ including tyres, e-waste and packaging.

The Aotearoa Product Stewardship campaign is being run in collaboration with Fuji Xerox, 3R Group, Inzide Commercial and Abilities Group. Financial support for the project has been received from the Waste Minimisation Fund, which is administered by the Ministry for the Environment.

Source: Sustainability Business Network