The latest Environmental News Stories from New Zealand and the world



Commerce Commission Releases Guidelines On Environmental Claims - July 2020


Plastics NZ is pleased to welcome the launch of the Commerce Commission's new guidelines to help traders understand their obligations when making environmental claims, including how to avoid breaching the Fair Trading Act.

Plastics NZ has been working with the Commerce Commision to ensure that these guidelines are fair and provide accurate information related to plastics claims. Consumers are increasingly considering the environment when buying goods and services and may be prepared to pay a price premium for a good or service that gives the impression that it is beneficial for the environment or has a lesser impact on the environment than an alternative good or service. Examples of environmental claims include statements made about recycling, biodegradability, and the use of recycled content or natural products. 

The Environmental Claims Guidelines cover general principles and include examples of cases taken by the Commission in the past. The guidelines remind traders to: 
• be truthful
• be accurate
• be specific
• substantiate claims
• use plain language
• not exaggerate
• take care when relying on tests or surveys.

Make sure you are not in breach of these guidelines. Download your copy of the Environmental Claims Guidelines today.

Stop the Greenwashing - Plastics NZ & WasteMINZ Press Release - February 2020


WasteMINZ and Plastics NZ have created the Guide to Advertising the Plastics Used in Compostable Products and Packaging. This was developed in collaboration with scientists, composting specialists and compostable packaging manufacturers. It answers some important questions and helps clear up the confusion for both companies and consumers.

WasteMINZ and Plastics NZ encourage producers and brands to upskill so they can avoid landing in trouble with the Commerce Commission. The guideline can be downloaded here.

A list of the most common bioplastics on the market at the moment and whether they are plant-based or oil-based and whether they can be recycled or composted can be found here

 WasteMINZ Truth About Plastics report can be found here

Best Practice Guidelines for the Advertising of Compostable Products

The Guide to Advertising the Plastics Used in Compostable Products and Packaging is the final in a series released over the last year. Included in the series is the infographic below which guides consumers and producers as to the end-of-life destination of their compostable packaging.
Other guides include:

Where can commercially compostable packaging and serviceware be processed in NZ? - March 2019


Most compostable coffee cups and packaging can only be composted in commercial composting facilities. This is because the compost pile needs to reach a temperature of 55 degrees or higher to break down these items, which almost all home composting systems don’t achieve.

There are eight industrial facilities in New Zealand and three community facilities that currently accept compostable packaging. Compostable packaging is not accepted in council kerbside food waste collections or privately provided greenwaste collection bins. In most cases, a waste company must be used to collect and transport compostable packaging to a composting facility.

See below for a list of these facilities, the compostable packaging they accept, and the waste companies that can be used to deliver packaging to the facility.  This list is accurate as of February 2019.

Read the full article Where can commercially compostable packaging and serviceware be processed in New Zealand?

Why anti-plastic zealotry could be harmful to the environment? - January 2019


It’s not that we are using plastic, it’s how we’re using it.

It’s no bad thing that buying or binning plastic is becoming the new smoking or drink-driving, but too much anti-plastic zealotry could be counterproductive. To borrow an alcohol adage, it’s not that we are using plastic, it’s how we’re using it.

Yes, single-use plastic bags have become an environmental menace, plastic packaging is often gratuitous and the reuse of plastic items is urgently to be championed.

But it’s essential to consider the counterfactuals, and to understand the ways in which some usage of plastic has helped and can increasingly help preserve the environment.

Read the full article Why anti-plastic zealotry could be harmful to the environment?

NZ PCE on biodegradable & compostable plastics in the environment - Web Resource available - July 2018

BioplasticsAndDegradableBInnerParliamentary Commissioner of the Environment on biodegradable and compostable plastics in the environment.

The Parliamentary Commissioner of the Environment Simon Upton today realeased a statement and some resources on biodegradable and compostable plastics in the environment.

Plastics New Zealand shared our views on these issues with the Commission when they met with us a couple of months back. 

The web page  provides  resource material to assist consumers to understand the emerging degradable and compostable material issues and calls for action on standards and end of life infrastructure.

Are compostable bags actually helping the environment? - 24th May 2018

TurtleEuropean researchers are warning companies and consumers to think twice about using a biodegradable bag over a plastic one.

Last week, The Warehouse Group announced it was replacing single-use plastic bags at its checkouts with compostable bags from the end of the year. ​This follows a move by Farro Fresh to do the same. However, the British review, which looked into how bags break down in water, found there were insufficient standards and testing methods to figure out how bags break down.

Read the full article Are compostable bags actually helping the environment?

Paper bags vs plastic: What's really best for the environment? - 18th May 2018

80061423Are paper and reusable bags any better? The answer, as it often is when it comes to environmental impacts, is that it depends.

Read the full article Paper bags vs plastic: What's really best for the environment?




Composting trial puts cups and plates under the microscope

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Do your biodegradable cups turn to dirt and your cutlery to compost?

The vanishing claims of throw-away eating utensils and drinking cups have gone under the microscope in front of inquiring Manawatu scientists.

Read the full article Composting trial puts cups and plates under the microscope


Baxter partners with Hospitals to reduce landfill - 2017

bottlesPETMainAn innovative recycling program from Baxter Healthcare is helping hospitals across New Zealand to reduce their environmental footprint. A leader in sterile fluids, aseptic compounding and products used in renal and surgical care, Baxter has played a vital role in the New Zealand health system for more than 30 years.

Read the full article Baxter partners with Hospitals to reduce landfill



ECCA Audit yields double payoff - 2016

EECAMainScrutinising energy use and cutting waste have not only delivered Hamilton firm Millennium Plastics more than $100,000 in savings but the Environmental and Energy Achievement award at the 2016 New Zealand Plastics Industry Design Awards hosted by Plastics New Zealand

Read the the full article EECA Audit yields double payoff



Bio Plastics - Confused? Understandably So

bigstockphoto Questions And Answers Signpost 4006719

The terms “biopolymer” or “bioplastic” have been applied to a wide range of plastics and have been subjected to a wide range of interpretations. The incorrect use of these terms is causing confusion for manufacturers, brand owners and, most of all, consumers. The terms 'biopolymer' and 'bioplastic' are also being used, incorrectly, to describe biodegradable, or compostable plastics, and this is adding to the confusion.We would like to try and clarify what this terminology means, and explain how these types of materials have come to exist.

Read the full article Bio Plastics - Confused? Understandably So


UN report warns of Biodegradable Plastics 

UNReportA UN report, “Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter: Misconceptions, Concerns and Impacts on Marine Environments,” argues that the adoption of plastic products labelled as ‘biodegradable’ will not bring about a significant decrease either in the quantity of plastic entering the ocean or the risk of physical and chemical impacts on the marine environment, on the balance of current scientific evidence.

Read the full article UN Report Warns about Biodegradable Plastics


NZ'S PVC Recycling Scheme - 2015

PVC 2PVC Pipe Manufacturers across New Zealand have joined forces to provide a recycling solution for their products.Most PVC plastic pipe in New Zealand is made by three companies: Marley, Iplex Pipelines and RX Plastics.  These three companies are now taking responsibility for their products at the end of their useful life, or when those products become waste.  As part of a nationwide pipe recycling programme, clean PVC plastic pipe can be delivered free-of-charge to recycling drop-off locations in Auckland, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Ashburton.

Read the full article NZ'S PVC Recycling Scheme


Plastic Shopping Bags Recyclable - July 2015

plasticbagsPlastic shopping bags will now be recyclable under $1.2 million government project. Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith has announced that the government is partnering with the retail sector and packaging industry to allow recycling of thousands of tonnes of plastics like shopping bags that currently cannot be recycled.

"The problem is that soft plastics like shopping bags, bread bags, frozen food bags and food wrap are not accepted by kerbside recycling services and cannot currently be recycled in New Zealand. We are investing in a new drop-off recycling service at stores and new recycling infrastructure that will enable soft plastics to be re-used," Smith said


 The initiative will be funded through a $700,000 grant to the Packaging Forum and a $510,000 grant to Astron Plastics Group from the Government's Waste Minimisation Fund.The Packaging Forum grant will part fund a trial of the new recycling service at The Warehouse, Pak 'n' Save, New World and Countdown stores across Auckland.

Read the full article Plastic Shopping Bags Recyclable

Where Road Cones go to die - 2015

Cones1MainNew Zealand road cone manufacturer, Proline Plastics, has closed the loop by taking back their old road cones to be shredded and recycled back into new cones. More than 15,000 road cones have been recycled by the company in the last 4 years at zero cost to their customers.

While road cones are a source of frustration to many New Zealand motorists, they are a necessary evil, as they play an important part in road safety. Every year, thousands of road cones come to the end of their useful life.  They become damaged, or lose their reflectivity, and roading companies have to dispose of them.  Auckland road cone manufacturer, Proline Plastics, has developed a process that enables them to recycle old cones into new ones. 

Read the full article Where Road Cones Go To Die

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