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NEW ZEALAND LEGISLATION EXPLAINED
Implementation of New Zealand’s single-use plastic bag ban in 2019 resulted in a reduction of 1.1 billion plastic bags ending up in landfills or the ocean.
In August 2020, the New Zealand Government took further action against single-use plastics through the release of the ‘Reducing the impact of plastic on our environment’ consultation document.
Feedback indicates that New Zealanders support the Government's approach to addressing single-use plastics.
As a result, Waste Minimisation (Plastic and Related Products) Regulations 2022 passed and product phases out will occur across three tranches.
Legislation addresses hard-to-recycle food and drink packaging, and single-use plastic items as these types of plastics often end up in landfill.
The Government has specified that legislation extends to all types of plastic including compostable and bio-based plastics.
As of 1 October 2022 it is now illegal to provide, sell or manufacture the following plastic products in Aotearoa New Zealand:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pre-formed, rigid food trays and containers
- Polystyrene (PS) takeaway food and beverage packaging
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage packaging
- Oxo- and photo- degradable plastic products
- Plastic drink stirrers
- Plastic stemmed cotton buds
From 1 July 2023 the following items will be banned:
- Plastic produce bags (including compostable and biodegradable bags)
- Plastic tableware - plates, bowls, platters and trays
- Plastic cutlery
- Plastic straws
- Non-home compostable produce labels
The following items will be banned:
- All other PVC food and beverage packaging
- All other PS food and beverage packaging
*Note: this information is subject to legislative changes
The Government recognises more work is required to phase out some particular plastic items and will work with industry to develop a plan for these products. This includes:
- Expanded polystyrene
- Single-use cups
- Coffee cups and wet wipes
The Government ensures that disabled people will continue to have fair access to plastic straws without discrimination.
Enforcement & Penalties
Officers from the Secretary for the Environment will enforce legislation – which includes compliance monitoring and auditing, as well as investigation and enforcement.
Read the full consultation document, here.
Read the Waste Minimisation (Plastic and Related Products) Regulations 2022, here.
More information about legislation is available, here.