New Zealanders use around 2 billion plastic and glass beverage containers each year. Unfortunately, only 35 - 40% of these make it to recycling with the remainder heading to landfill, or becoming land or marine litter.
Our 2015 report, The InCENTive to Recycle, looked at the effectiveness of bringing back bottle refunds (cash for containers) to lift recycling rates in New Zealand.
It found that such a scheme would only cost the beverage industry half a cent (0.5 cents) per container, but would increase beverage container recycling by 45,000 tonnes p.a. The move would create thousands of jobs and divert 180,000 cubic metres of waste from landfill - saving New Zealanders between $26 and $40 million dollars per year in waste disposal costs.
Since the report was published:
- Over 90% of New Zealand's local authorities have voted in favour of advocating central government to implement its findings
- A national public campaign, The Kiwi Bottle Drive, has emerged and supported numerous 'buy back events' throughout the country to demonstrate how the scheme would work and get public support