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NZ is rubbish at recycling 11 products‘ packaging

File photo.

The results are in and it seems New Zealand's clean green image isn’t so squeaky clean when it comes to recycling packaging from some chocolate, chips and water products. 

Consumer organisations, including Consumer NZ, from nine countries assessed packaging recyclability and labelling of 11 popular products. 

New Zealand ranked second to last in the trial, with 57 per cent of the packaging assessed as not recyclable – only Brazil fared worse. In comparison, Australia had a 14 per cent non-recyclable rate. France, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Portugal, and the United Kingdom also participated. 

Products assessed were available in each country. The five products that weren’t easily recyclable in Aotearoa were KitKat chocolate bar, M&M Peanut chocolates, Pringles chips, San Pellegrino Sparkling Water, and Toblerone chocolate bar. 

The packaging for Pringles was particularly bad, consisting of a tube made of mixed materials  - plastic, cardboard, foil and aluminium -  that can’t be easily separated. 

“It’s disappointing to see how poorly New Zealand fared when it comes to packaging recyclability. With 57 per cent of packaging assessed as not recyclable, there’s a lot of room for improvement. It certainly doesn’t line up with the clean green image we pride ourselves on,” says Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy.

“Part of the issue is that our recycling capabilities vary greatly throughout the country.”

The trial found that no product was 100 per cent recyclable and labelling was often unclear and confusing for consumers.

What can we do? 

Choose products with packaging that’s clear, sleeveless - or remove sleeves before dropping into your recycling bin, and made from plastics 1, 2 or 5.

Avoid mixed material packaging  - for example, the Pringles tube.

Call on manufacturers to use more recyclable or alternative packaging, and to have clear labelling explaining how to recycle their packaging.

Take a few moments in the supermarket to choose a product that’s more recyclable.

Choose products that use recycled materials in their packaging.

Check with your council about what can and can’t be recycled in your area, and recycle as much as you can, and make sure it’s clean. 

Read more about the global packaging recycling assessment here.

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3 Comments
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Never mind Yadick

Posted on 27-04-2021 08:20 | By Kancho

In a couple of months you can do your recycling at home . Trouble is a lot will still be exempt and go into general rubbish. I have no idea how I will get on not being able to go to Maleme street closure. I doubt my green bin will be enough every two weeks and I am not going to drive over the mount with dumping . I guess I’ll have to get in a mini skip guess it’s going to cost . Not happy but TCC basically doesn’t care.

Maleme St

Posted on 26-04-2021 22:19 | By

I took my recycling a while ago to Maleme St as I do every week. An arrogant worker there approached me and told me I couldn’t put my recycling in the bin that I had to take it to the tip. I told him he was wrong and showed him the numbers. He then proceeded to tell me that it was Chinese made and the numbers mean nothing, that they put whatever they want and I couldn’t put my recycling in there. Hence I told him that I recycle by the number not the manufacturer. He argued back as did I and continued my recycling. Tossers like this cause a breakdown of the whole system and eventually promotes roadside dumping. No, I would personally NEVER consider roadside dumping.

TCC

Posted on 25-04-2021 11:39 | By Kancho

Yes and Tauranga is way behind recycling only plastics number 1 and 2. And of course lots of other exemptions electronics, batteries, etc...all full of metals and chemicals. Rubber tyres?