'Take the initiative': Nelson Council asks retailers to stop using non-recyclable plastic28/01/2020 5:18am
"We simply cannot in good conscience send these plastics overseas to potentially end up as someone else’s rubbish."
Nelson City Council has written to local supermarkets and other retailers asking for their support with upcoming changes to the way the city recycles its plastic waste.
From 1 July, Nelson’s kerbside collection service will only collect plastic types 1,2 and 5. Plastics 3, 4 and 7 are shipped overseas with no way of knowing whether they are processed sustainably.
The letter is signed by Infrastructure Committee Chair councillor Brian McGurk, who calls on supermarkets and other local businesses to “take the initiative” in phasing out the use of plastic types 3, 4, 6 and 7.
“Nelson was the first city council to declare a climate emergency and we have a duty to act ethically and responsibly. We simply cannot in good conscience send these plastics overseas to potentially end up as someone else’s rubbish, where employment practices may differ significantly from New Zealand, as well as incurring a significant carbon cost along the way.”
Annually, Nelsonians recycle around 1,500 tonnes of glass, 1,550 tonnes of fibre (paper and cardboard), 108 tonnes of steel, 72 tonnes each of plastics 1 and 2 and 90 tonnes (plastics 3 to 7).
Typical packaging made from plastic types 1, 2 and 5 includes soft drink and milk bottles, plastic fruit trays, ice cream containers and shampoo bottles.
Plastic types 3, 4 and 7 include items like make up containers, garden hoses, cling wrap, car parts and computers.
Council has not collected soft type 6 plastic for some time. Type 6 includes polystyrene cups and takeaway clamshells, cheap toys, foam meat trays and plastic cutlery.
As well as encouraging retailers to phase out the use of certain plastics, Council is also asking the public to seriously think about the packaging of the products they buy and consider avoiding these plastic types where possible.