Case Studies

New Zealand needs a collaborative approach to recycling

Many manufacturers and retailers have signed up to the Packaging Declaration which requires all plastic packaging to be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.  What seemed like an achievable goal in 2018, when companies first signed up, is now just over three years away. Based on the current accessibility of kerbside collections, PET meat trays, aerosols, aluminium foil, mixed plastics 3-7 do not meet the Australasian Recycling Label threshold for "conditionally recyclable" and would need to be labelled "not recyclable" in New Zealand.

Download Report Here:  mad world report recycling & waste june 2020.pdf

In the 2019 Mad World Report ‘An Assessment of Materials Collected for Recycling at Kerbside New Zealand & Australia’, we identified major differences in levels of recycling across New Zealand’s councils and compared to Australia. There is awareness across industry, local and central Government of the confusion that such a postcode recycling lottery causes for the consumer and householder.

In June 2020, we have again assessed council kerbside collection services and found a 30% reduction in councils that accept rigid plastic 3-7 at kerbside as overseas markets for mixed plastics have become more limited. 33 councils have collection services for rigid PP containers (#5).

Since we undertook the initial research, councils, government and the waste sector have been working on plans to standardise the kerbside collection service. However organisations such as the Food & Grocery Council have not been engaged in this process. Why not? 

Industry is at risk of being presented with a policy that standardises collection nationwide based on the lowest common denominator. 

In this latest update, we suggest a different approach, which includes industry in the solution and ask questions about the future of kerbside collections and how better alignment with commercial collections might improve outcomes.