Greens announce 'trash to cash' plan

The plan aims to protect Aotearoa's oceans and coastlines.
The plan aims to protect Aotearoa's oceans and coastlines. Photo credit: Getty

The Green Party has announced a plan to turn trash into cash.

It'll involve a ban on plastic bags, refunds on drink containers, a plastic packaging phase-out, and a commitment to sending zero waste to landfill by 2050.

"We love our beaches and our oceans. Our plan will protect the places we love from pollution and generate community jobs," said Green Party leader James Shaw.

The party would ban single use plastic bags by 2020, charging a 20 cent levy in the meantime with 15 cents going to community groups for environmental clean-ups and the rest for research and development into alternatives.

The plan would also see 'cash for containers' drinking container refund programmes to work alongside kerbside recycling nationwide.

"A refund programme for recycling drinking containers has been estimated by Envision to double recycling rates, create 2,400 jobs, generate revenue for community groups, and save councils $26-40 million each year," Mr Shaw said.

The plan would further involve the reduction of plastic packaging and products through mandatory product stewardship schemes, which the Ministry for the Environment defines as "the responsible management of the environmental impact of a product".

"Ninety percent of local councils endorsed the idea because they've seen that it's worked in Australia where South Australia, a state with a container deposit scheme, has the lowest rate of litter.

"It's time to embrace sustainable alternatives such as bamboo and move away from the overuse of plastics in packaging and utensils."