Recycling and Waste Management
We support measures to protect our environment, reduce litter and increase our recycling rates.
New Zealand boasts high rates of recycling, with 69 percent of the two billion beverage containers bought in New Zealand placed back into the recycling system.
Around 97 percent of New Zealanders have access to kerbside recycling or drop off recycling systems provided by councils.
This has helped see 73 percent of all glass bottles being recycled, and plastics from beverage containers being recycled at more than twice the rate of other plastics.
Thanks to our kerbside recycling system, New Zealand’s beverage container recycling rate is comparable with the European Union average across its 27-member states.
What about a container deposit scheme?
There has been increasing discussion in recent years around the potential of a container deposit scheme to further increase New Zealand's recycling rates and reduce litter.
A container deposit scheme would see a “deposit” of approximately 10c added to the cost of a beverage container. This deposit would be returned to the consumer when they recycle the container at a drop-off point.
Container deposit schemes are used in number of cities and countries worldwide, many of which do not have kerbside recycling.
While the New Zealand Beverage Council is open to discussions around any system that will improve recycling rates and reduce litter, we do not believe a container deposit scheme is the best answer for New Zealand.
Through kerbside collection, New Zealand already has high recycling rates and drink bottles. Further, cans and cartons represent only 10 percent of all litter.
The implementation of a container deposit scheme will result in increased costs to consumers, who are already paying for kerbside recycling through their rates, because most manufacturers would have little choice but pass on both the costs of the refund as well as associated handling costs to their customers.
A cost benefit analysis by Covec found that while a container deposit scheme might increase beverage recycling rates to 82% by weight, the costs outweigh the benefits of the scheme.
A cost of establishing and operating a scheme would be $97 million per year, while the benefits are estimated at $22 million, resulting in a net cost of $75 million per year.
This equates to a cost of around $2,200 per additional tonne of containers recycled.
In addition, a container deposit scheme would add $88 million in costs to kiwi households every year.