New Zealand needs to think about not recycling - Expert

  • 27/06/2018

A sustainability expert says New Zealand should consider moving on from recycling after China decided to stop taking our waste.

Our recycling is now stacked to the roof in some warehouses or being sent to Malaysia or Indonesia. In May the recycling industry warned the Government the system as it stands is currently broken.

"Without positive action to address the issue, recyclable material could be sent to landfill, councils and communities will suffer financially, and operators could go out of business," said WaseMINZ CEO Paul Evans.

Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Camden Howitt said it's not good enough to simply send it to another country.

He wasn't happy with Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage's plan to build more New Zealand based recycling facilities either.

"It's not a solution, recycling will not save the world," he told the AM Show.

Instead Mr Howitt says consumers should be refusing to take plastics and when they have to take them reuse it rather than believing it's so long as they recycle.

"The first thing we teach is refuse, just refuse that particularly single use plastics, can we reduce them anywhere, if we can't then reuse them, if you can't do that then yeah, sure recycle," he said.

"But at the moment our sector is going over such huge changes we don't know if [recycling] is actually going to actually help long term."

"We have to rethink the whole thing."