In June 2021, the NZ Government announced that it would be banning single-use plastics. The ban will start in October 2022 and cover a range of products including plastic straws, cotton buds, straws, and stirrers. It follows similar bans in the EU and other countries like Australia and Taiwan. The aim is to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our oceans but what does this mean for your business?
October 1st marked the first step in the government’s plan where some problematic plastics were officially banned.
Implementation of the ban
The NZ government has released a three-step ban to eliminate single-use plastics in Aotearoa (the first step will be implemented on the 1st of October 2002). It is clear that businesses will be required to obtain exemptions from the state government before they are allowed to sell single-use plastic products. The process for obtaining such an exemption is unclear at this stage and may or may not require an application fee.
It remains to be seen whether there will be inspections of businesses that continue selling single-use plastic items during the transition period. Businesses can expect random audits by the relevant State Government agency in order to ensure compliance with their exemption applications and other aspects of the law.
Why is the government introducing this ban?
The New Zealand Government has identified three main reasons for introducing this ban:
- To reduce littering
- To protect wildlife and the marine environment
- To help combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions (which are caused by burning fossil fuels)
What products are banned?
- Single-use plastic drink stirrers
- Single-use plastic cotton buds
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pre-formed food trays and containers*
- Polystyrene takeaway packaging for food and beverages
- Expanded polystyrene food and beverage retail packaging (such as foam takeaway containers or some instant noodle cups)
- Plastics with additives that make them fragment into micro-plastics
Switch to biodegradable today before you get into trouble!
Biodegradable packaging is the best way to protect your company, your customers and the environment. It allows you to use less plastic while making sure that there will be no harmful effects on the environment. Switching to biodegradable materials can help you keep your business running smoothly while also protecting those around you.
Are biodegradables more expensive than regular plastic packaging?
The short answer is: yes. But not as much as you’d expect! Switching to biodegradable packaging will only set you back about an additional 20% of what you’re currently spending on traditional plastic packaging. Sure this is an inconvenience, but it’s a lot cheaper than getting slapped with a whopping fine from the government! Plus, you’re doing the whole world a massive favour that will be felt for many generations!
The government’s move to ban single-use plastic is a welcome one. It will go a long way towards reducing the amount of plastic waste that pollutes our oceans and rivers and harms marine life. But it’s only the first step in solving this problem, and there are still many challenges ahead if we’re going to make a dent in the growing pile of non-biodegradable plastics cluttering up our world today.
So if you run a business and you’re still using single-use packaging, now is the time to make the switch.