Types of Waste
Packaging Accord 2004
The five year voluntary New Zealand Packaging Accord 2004 was launched on August 10 and is endorsed by more than 200 organisations.
Those signing the Packaging Accord are voluntarily committing to doing what they can to cut down on wasteful packaging to reduce the proportion of packaging in the total waste stream.
Accord signatories are aiming to save resources when they design, make and choose packaging and do their best to recover and reuse the materials. This means that producers and packaging users should take more responsibility from the beginning to the end of the packaging lifecycle.
The Accord was co-ordinated by the Ministry for the Environment and replaces the 1996 voluntary Accord. The new agreement was developed in association with the Packaging Council of New Zealand, Local Government New Zealand and the Recycling Operators of New Zealand.
Manufacturers repersenting 85 per cent of New Zealand’s packaging production have committed to the new partnership to reduce packaging waste. This showed that the industry was listening to people’s concerns about waste, said Environment Minister Marian Hobbs at the launch.
As well as packaging manufacturers, the accord has the support of 80 per cent of supermarket business through Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises, major brand owners, and retailers such as the Warehouse. Key packaging sectors involved are steel, plastic, aluminium, glass and paper.
The Accord is an example of ’extended producer responsibility’, a core principle of the NZ Waste Strategy 2002 supporting sustainable development.
It comprises of nine sector plans developed for the Accord’s main parties and key packaging sectors. These plans detail what each sector will do over the Accord’s five years to improve the design of new and existing packaging when changes take place. Companies will use the Packaging Council Code of Practice. The plans also address the production, use and recovery of packaging materials. This includes finding markets for reused and recovered packaging materials and adopting purchasing policies that assess the packaging lifecycle.
Each sector plan details the commitments and activities expected to be achieved over the next five years and how the sector will achieve them, both on its own and working with other sectors. Benchmarking activities and progress will take place in the first two years with measureable improvements expected in years three to five.
Joint targets include recovering a proportion of the five main packaging materials, so they can be used again. Recovery targets for 2008, (as a percentage of consumption by weight) are 65% of aluminium used in packaging, 55% of glass, 70% of paper, 43% of steel and 23% of plastic. Brand owners and retailers are also working to reduce the use of plastic checkout bags.
Evidence shows that legislative measures, such as container deposit legislation and packaging levies (known as Extended Producer Responsibility), also have a significant impact on reducing the amount of packaging waste going to landfill.