Feb 29,2024

New Zealand extends plastic ban and will gradually cover most single-use plastic products

New Zealand is banning the sale or production of single-use plastic swabs, drink stirrers and most plastic trays from October 1, 2022 onwards.

  "These are the first of the most problematic plastic products to be phased out over the next three years," said New Zealand Environment Minister David Parker.

  "Stopping the sale of these plastic products will reduce landfill, improve our recycling system and encourage reusable or environmentally responsible alternatives."

  Plastics that will be banned from sale from October 1, 2022 include:

  Disposable plastic drink stirrers

  Disposable plastic cotton swabs

  Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prefabricated food trays and containers*

  Polystyrene takeaway packaging for food and drink

  Expanded polystyrene food and drink retail packaging (e.g. foam takeaway containers or some instant noodle cups)

  Plastics containing additives that break up the plastic into microplastics

  "On average, every New Zealander sends about 750 kilograms of waste to landfill each year. Some products can't be recycled and aren't necessary," says David Parker.

  "These are the first plastic products to be banned since the ban on single-use plastic bags in 2019. That means more than a billion plastic bags end up in landfills or the ocean," said David Parker.

  "The recently announced investment in the Plastics Innovation Fund, as well as funding to help co-design a plastic packaging product stewardship program, also demonstrates the government's commitment to tackling the problems caused by plastic waste," said David Parker.

  The next batch of single-use plastics to be phased out by mid-2023 will include single-use plastic boards, bowls, cutlery, single-use plastic produce bags and non-compostable produce labels, with other PVC and polystyrene food and drink packaging to be banned by mid-2025.

       Action to minimize waste and problem plastics is part of a partnership agreement between Labour and the Greens, building on progress made as part of the previous government's Confidence and Supply Agreement.

  Phasing out single-use plastic shopping bags is the first step towards a plastic-free New Zealand," said Green Party Environment Spokesperson Eugenie Sage. Today's announcement is further progress towards that vision.

  "The phasing out of plastic shopping bags shows that we can easily make changes at the retail and household level to avoid plastic waste and better protect nature. We won't miss these plastic items when they are gone. With a little support and advice, it's easy to replace these unnecessary plastics with reusable products." She said.