The Ministry for the Environment will begin engaging with food and grocery companies in coming months regarding next steps in the Government’s waste strategy.

A webinar organised by NZFGC and The Packaging Forum to update members on the strategy was told the ministry is now working on tranche 3, which involves banning all food and beverage PVC and polystyrene packaging not already banned in 2022 or this year, by mid-2025.

MfE officials said they want to talk to industry to understand where there may be challenges for items or products to meet the mid-2025 date.

Drafting of regulations will begin in the second half of this year with the aim of having them finalised by early 2024.

Tranche 2 will ban, restrict or phase-out the following from July 1 this year:

  • plastic tableware (plates, bowls, and cutlery)
  • plastic produce bags (used to pack fresh fruits and vegetables)
  • plastic drinking straws
  • plastic produce labels (phase-out begins)

Tranche 1 of the strategy banned, from October last year:

  • pre-formed PVC food trays and containers used for produce, baked goods, or meat only
  • polystyrene takeaway food and drink packaging from a restaurant, café, or food stall (eg trays, containers, bowls, cups)
  • expanded polystyrene food and drink packaging for takeaways and sold at retail (eg instant noodle cups)
  • plastics with pro-degradant additives
  • plastic drink stirrers
  • cotton buds with plastic stem or synthetic fibre bud

The importance of getting New Zealand’s recycling strategies up and running as soon as possible was highlighted by some numbers from the briefing: only about one third of the materials New Zealanders put on the kerbside for recycling are recycled; New Zealanders send to landfill an estimated 60kg of plastic per person per year.

Watch the briefing and the following discussion and Q&A