Final submissions
Emissions Reduction Plan

Final submissions can be found below

24 November 2021

The government has been consulting on a discussion document for a plan to transition to a low emissions and climate resistant future.

The Packaging Forum sought member feedback on its draft submissions.

Final submissions can be found here.

The Packaging Forum

Compostable Packaging Technical Advisory Group

The Packaging Forum 2020-2021 annual report

Our 2020-2021 annual report, which looks at the Forum’s performance, activities and plans for the future, is now available to read.
18 August 2021

The report also looks at the work of our two accredited product stewardship schemes for container glass, and soft plastic as well as our technical advisory groups, advocacy work, collaborations and more.

Read the report

Packaging Forum backs plastics phase-out

The country’s largest packaging industry group has welcomed Government’s move to phase-out difficult-to-recycle and some single-use plastics.

29 June 2021

The Packaging Forum CEO Rob Langford says the Forum, and its Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme (SPRS), had largely supported the proposal during its consultation period, and were pleased to see Government take the next step.

“There was a long consultation period, as there should be, and it’s great to see Government moving forward. It’s essential there are end-of-life solutions in place for packaging and in the case of the plastic types being phased out that is not the case.

“Oxo-degradable plastics are a prime example as they are neither recyclable or compostable,” Rob says. He added that it’s important to note bio plastics (often referred to as ‘compostable plastic’) will also be part of the single-use plastic item phase-out.

The Forum cautioned against the phase-out causing unintended consequences. As industry moves to alternative materials there must also be the development of recycling, reuse and other end-of-life solutions for these materials, as well as consideration around food safety, Rob says.

“We are therefore urging care when choosing alternatives,” he says.

Rob pointed out alternative materials, such as compostable and fibre (paper and cardboard) packaging also have challenges, especially when we consider New Zealand’s focus on a low-emissions and zero waste economy.

“Our Compostable Technical Advisory Group is currently developing a use-case for New Zealand and is busy consulting with industry and stakeholders,” Rob says.

Moving to alternative materials is a major undertaking for a lot of manufacturers, importers and retailers, he says.

The Forum’s submission during the consultation period called for a full cost benefit analysis, which follows Treasury guidelines, to assess impact on business, food safety, shelf life and cool-chain (particularly for export items).

“That’s where the $50 million Plastics Innovation Fund announced by Government is therefore very welcome and will be vital in helping industry transition and overcome challenges. We are watching with interest to see how those funds will be allocated and excited to see what innovative solutions are developed as a result.”

Phase-out timeline:

By late 2022:

  • PVC meat trays
  • PS (polystyrene) takeaway food and beverage packaging
  • EPS (expanded polystyrene) food and beverage packaging (including meat trays)
  • Degradable plastic products (e.g. oxo-degradable)
  • Plastic drink stirrers
  • Plastic stemmed cotton buds (including bio-plastics)

By mid-2023:

  • Plastic produce bags (not including pre-packaged produce)
  • Plastic plates, bowls and cutlery (disposable)
  • Plastic straws
  • Plastic produce labels

By mid-2025:

  • All other PVC food and beverage packaging
  • All other PS food and beverage packaging (e.g. yoghurt packs)

Read about the highlights of our work in 20220

15 December 2020

  • The Public Place Recycling Scheme (PPRS) submits its annual report to MfE.
  • The GPF awards seven grants through its contestable fund.
  • The SPRS resumes collections following lockdown.
  • The Container Return Scheme Working Group concludes and submits it report to Government. The Packaging Forum, represented on the working group by Rob Langford, voices its concerns as part of a minority report.
  • The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme returned 15 Auckland Countdown stores to its collection network.
  • Eight grants are awarded through our GPF contestable fund.
  • The Packaging Forum holds a member-only briefing on the proposed Container Return Scheme (CRS) and our alternative Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) model.
  • Submissions made on members behalf regarding proposed phase out of hard-to-recycle and some single-use plastic items.
  • The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme celebrates its five year anniversary.

Submissions have been made on behalf of members regarding the Government’s proposed plastic phase out proposals.

7 December 2020

The Packaging Forum, and its Soft Plastic Recycling scheme, have both made submissions largely in favour of the intent behind the Government’s proposed phase-out of hard to recycle plastics and some single-use plastic items.

However both are concerned about the phase out overlapping work being done on product stewardship, as required by this year’s declaration of all single-use plastic packaging as a priority product. There is also concern expressed about whether the timeframes are achievable. Both submissions support the government’s acknowledgement that some use-cases will require exemptions and want the process around exemptions to be very clear.

Public engagement

In a bid to engage the public, the consultation document was condensed down from 74 pages to an eight-page summary with an accompanying video. People were invited to submit by completing a short survey on the Citizen Space platform.

Ministry for the Environment Deputy Secretary Sam Buckle says more than 5,000 submissions had been received by 1 December, with the consultation closing on 4 December.

Businesses and industry organisations like The Packaging Forum were encouraged to make more detailed submissions based on the longer consultation document, which contained more background and nuance.

The Packaging Forum and Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme responses were formulated by consulting with members via a survey, online meetings and member meetings.

While the Forum’s membership is largely supportive of the proposals, it cautions against the creation of unintended negative consequences and advises a holistic approach be adopted:

  • Any phase-out must go together with the development of recycling and end of life infrastructure for alternative materials.
  • When identifying materials and/or items for phase-outs it’s important to include full lifecycle analysis of all packaging items (and possible alternatives) as well as food safety aspects.
  • Care must be taken to avoid unintended consequences through a largescale move to alternative packaging materials without standards, labelling and end-of-life solutions being in place.
  • Alternative materials, such as compostable and fibre (paper and cardboard) packaging have challenges. These include a lack of a New Zealand standard and currently limited recycling or reuse options.
  • Where packaging is already managed through kerbside or industry led recycling schemes such as the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme, there is no need for a ban.

The Forum also raised concerns around five issues:

  • A full cost benefit analysis which follows Treasury guidelines is required to asses impact on business, food safety, shelf life and cool-chain (particularly for export items).
  • The proposal overlaps with work by industry following the declaration of single-use plastic packaging as a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 – requiring regulated product stewardship solutions.
  • A lack of alignment with other work, such as the standardisation of kerbside collections.
  • More detail is needed for exceptions, such as packaging which maintains the integrity of contents. This is particularly relevant for export items.
  • The Forum notes this consultation calls the phase-out a starting point. More certainty is needed on any further phase-outs if business is to invest in replacement technology and processes with a long-term return.

Read The Packaging Forum submission

Read the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme submission