Kiwis are celebrating the plastic bag ban and rightly so – we made a lot of noise to show we care, and were listened to. Thanks Jacinda!

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, we’ve got Simon Bridges calling the ban “low hanging fruit” and Mike Hosking labelling it a “PR-stunt”. Maybe they want something more substantial?

Well, luckily for all of us, we can build on the bag ban by dusting off a kiwi classic that’s been ignored in the Waste Minimisation Act for 10 years, now ready to shine, reimagined.

It’s a round of drinks, to help us celebrate! Bottle deposits. Zero-waste infrastructure that will stop 800 million plastic bottles going to landfill each year, and reduce plastic bottles on beaches by 45%.

Simon, Mike, will you drink to that? Jacinda, join us for a milk?

A bottle deposit scheme, also known as a Container Deposit Scheme, could take those 800 million landfilled and littered bottles and recycle them effectively. It’s tragic to think we had the legislation for these in 2008 that could have already prevented billions of new plastic bottles from being made.

If Jacinda and Simon are paying attention to the zero-waste mood of New Zealanders, they’ll be following the bag ban with bottle deposits, soon. We could have a circular economy, reusing plastic to care for the sea, cut emissions and create jobs easily.

Although there have been questions about how the bag ban will work, bottle deposits have got their answers sorted. Germany’s system gets 98% recycling of plastic bottles while South Australia’s community-based model earns the Scouts $22 million/year running three collection depots.

And of course, half the population already has fond memories of finding bottles for pocket money as kids in the 60s,70s, 80s. That makes it no surprise that a poll on Stuff showed 91% public support for incentivised recycling. Two cost-benefit reports show huge environmental, economic and social benefits convinced 93% of councils to vote for them as well.

So just like the bag ban, let’s make some noise for bottle deposits. Our politicians need to know that there’s no time to waste. Bottle deposits are the next step in caring for our oceans, land and communities.

Sound like a worthy celebration?