The Kiwi Bottle Drive & The Glass Industy

By Takeaway Throwaways
The Environment Select Committee have supported The Kiwi Bottle Drive's petition for a bottle deposit system for beverage containers in NZ. THANK YOU to all the people who used their democracy & signed the petition - this is a result! If the govt listens to the committee & implements bottle deposits, this will be the first mandatory, nationwide deposit return system for consumer packaging in NZ.

This is a big deal because deposit return systems are an essential building block for reusable packaging systems, including for takeaway packaging.

So, this is a precedent setting moment.

The report also reveals the problem of industry lobbying & what we're up against if we want to see change. And no, it's not the plastic lobby in this case, it's the glass lobby.

The glass industry told the select committee that glass should be excluded from a deposit scheme because littered glass doesn't harm the environment & NZ's glass recycler can't process the increased rate of glass that a bottle deposit would bring (an admission that bottle deposits really work for increasing recycling collection rates).

These arguments miss the point about the problems of single-use & overlook the big picture approach we need if we want to shift towards reusables at scale.

There are many reasons why glass must be in a deposit return scheme. One reason is that it's the material most likely to be used for reusable beverage containers. If it is excluded, the playing field between single-use & reusable glass won't be levelled. We may even see an uptick in single-use glass packaging, which is bad for the planet. The glass industry told the select committee that even now, NZ's glass recycler only has capacity to recycle about 1/2 of the glass NZ currently uses. 

We need more businesses using reusable glass bottles if we want to get out of the mess we're in. The single-use linear system is unsustainable. The pathway to less plastic packaging is through more reusable packaging, not single-use packaging of another material. Universal bottle deposits is one step forward to achieving this.