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We’re inviting aligned organisations, businesses and community groups to show their support for bottle deposits by signing the open letter.

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Partner organisations

This open letter is a way for future-thinking organisations to join the call for bottle deposits

It’s time for a zero-waste society. Together we can motivate the government to act, and stop plastic entering our oceans.

Addressed to: Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern; Honourable Minister of Conservation & Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage; Honourable Minister for the Environment, David Parker; Honourable Minister for Fisheries, Stuart Nash; Honourable Minister of Health, Dr David Clark; Honourable Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw.

Dear Prime Minister Ardern, Ms Sage, Mr Parker, Mr Nash, Dr Clark and Mr Shaw,

Tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou, ka ora te whenua, ka ora te tangata, tēnei te mihi nui ki a koutou katoa.

Plastic pollution has become a major public concern, and together with climate change, poses a huge challenge for our generation, threatening ecosystems across the globe. This is underlined by predictions that without decisive action, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. In Aotearoa we buy over two billion beverage containers each year, nearly half of them plastic. But only 35-40% of these are recycled, with the rest going to landfill or being littered – often carried by waterways out to sea. These plastic bottles spend hundreds of years polluting ecosystems. They break down into micro-plastics, harm marine wildlife and enter the food chain, effecting humans in the process.

Thankfully, there’s something we can easily do to start reducing this marine plastic pollution. Bottle Deposit Schemes (also known as Container Deposit Schemes [CDS]) have been shown to reduce marine plastic litter by 40% in a recent Australian study. They’ve been demonstrated to reduce litter on land by 65%, and in Aotearoa could increase recycling to 85%.

Overseas, Bottle Deposit Schemes are becoming commonplace as an essential tool in tackling this issue of plastic bottles. They have been successfully implemented throughout Europe, in Canada, the US and parts of Australia (SA and NSW). Now even more governments are preparing to establish them, including England, Scotland and Ireland as well as the rest of the Australian states. Why? Because bottle deposits are best practice.

We are calling on you to introduce bottle deposits to Aotearoa. Looking after Papatūānuku is our collective responsibility. We need to act now as good ancestors to future generations, and bottle deposits will be active kaitiakitanga. Without them we will be left behind the rest of the world, neglecting our responsibility of kaitiakitanga for lack of foundational zero-waste infrastructure. We have the opportunity to quickly remedy this thanks to the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 which already contains the necessary legislation to introduce bottle deposits in Aotearoa.

By implementing bottle deposits soon, not only can the government address the impacts of plastic pollution, it also will deliver a projected 2000 new jobs and millions in savings for councils. Bottle deposits also allow for more efficient recycling of glass bottles and cans, creating further benefits alongside tackling plastic bottle waste.

We’re glad that the government is committing to reduce waste and strengthening its kaitiakitanga of our environment and resources. We were pleased to see New Zealand First and the Green Party including bottle deposits in their party policy and now look to see this championed in government. It’s time to change Aotearoa’s current position as 10th worst in the world for urban waste by using the legislation that’s ready to do this.

We’re calling on you and the government to bring in a bottle deposit scheme now, for the sake of our oceans and to grow a sustainable, circular economy. There is strong support for this from the waste industry, councils, academics, NGOs, and businesses .

Polls have consistently shown more than 85% of public in favour of the introduction of bottle deposits, and the petition that is running extends this. The Pre-1980’s generations of kiwis fondly remember bottle deposits and lament the loss of them, while younger generations who’ve travelled see them as an easy, effective solution.

It’s time to ensure that the problems posed by waste bottles are effectively addressed. This will mean going beyond voluntary recycling schemes and bringing in government regulations that address the whole system, from manufacture through to waste and then recycling. Bottle deposits achieve this. They ensure that the consumers and the council waste services don’t bear all the responsibility for waste created by an entire industry.

Bottle deposits are the best way to deal with marine plastic pollution created by plastic bottles, while delivering numerous benefits in jobs, council cost saving, and a community income stream. Please commit to bringing in a bottle deposit scheme now. The zero waste sector is full of expertise to assist in its design and ready to support you.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou