Bringing bottle deposits to Parliament!
At the end of 2018, The Kiwi Bottle Drive campaign delivered a petition with over 15,000 signatures to Parliament, calling on the Government to implement a nationwide container deposit scheme for beverage containers in New Zealand. The petition is currently before the Environment Select Committee, who will report back to the House later this year with their recommendations.
On Thursday 30 May 2019, APPA members Holly Dove (Campaign Coordinator for The Kiwi Bottle Drive) and Hannah Blumhardt (Coordinator of the New Zealand Product Stewardship Council) had the opportunity to submit on the petition to the Environment Select Committee. The submission was recorded, so you can watch it in full, including questions from MPs.
Overall, MPs on the select committee seemed supportive of the petition’s request that the Government implement a mandatory bottle deposit scheme. Earlier this year, the National Party proposed making such a scheme party policy in their ‘Our Environment – Discussion Document‘. Bottle deposits have been Green Party policy for some time. The other parties do not have an official position yet, but hopefully this petition will lead them to formulate one.
In the meantime, we won’t know what the Environment Committee’s final recommendations will be until they report back to the House later this year. Before they do this, it is likely they will invite other stakeholders and interested parties to appear before them to give further evidence for and against bottle deposits in New Zealand.
At our submission, we were very grateful to have the support of a team from Anglican Advocacy Wellington, who’d spent the days prior scouring beaches around Wellington, collecting all the beverage containers they found, and then turning them into quite eye-catching costumes, which were appreciated by the MPs on the committee (many photos were taken…). The one unfortunate plus-side of campaigning for any policy to address plastic pollution is that there’s always plenty of compelling visual material to work with.
Before making the submission, we spent the morning with these Anglican Advocacy Wellington peeps, who’d gone one step further and organised a bottle drive event on Lambton Quay. Any member of the public who brought an empty beverage container for recycling, received a 20c deposit per container; the idea being to give people an idea of what it would be like if we really did have a nationwide bottle deposit system in New Zealand. If you think this sounds like a fun thing to do, consider running a bottle drive event in your community – they’re easy to do. On their website, The Kiwi Bottle Drive has all the resources you’ll need to help you run a bottle drive event.