Govt urged to rethink cutting cartons from kerbside recycling

Laura James
Source: 1News

There's concern the Government's making a massive misstep by planning to exclude certain cartons from all kerbside recycling.

Liquid paperboard (LPB), also known as TetraPak, is used for the likes of alternative milks, juice and liquid stock.

It's currently only able to be put in kerbside recycling bins if you live in Auckland, but even that is set to stop as the Government looks to standardise home recycling rules nationwide.

Some say the proposal is limiting regions to the "lowest common denominator".

Otis Oat Milk is just one of many companies that use LPB.

Head of Sustainability, Hayley Pardoe said: "We chose it mainly because research had shown LPB had the lowest carbon footprint of packaging available.

"So we were really disappointed and quite shocked when we saw the recent Government proposal."

It's not that TetraPak packaging can't be recycled, in fact it's set to be included in a proposed Container Return Scheme (CRS).

That scheme's going to see refundable deposits added to certain beverages, which consumers will be able to claim back by returning the packaging.

Both Otis Oat Milk and Auckland Council are confused by the double standards.

"If a product can be recycled through a container return scheme, why not through the kerbside bin?" said Auckland Council Waste Manager, Parul Sood.

She's in support of the CRS as the first option for recycling, but it may not catch on for all.

In turn, she said, there's a risk that people told not to put cartons in their recycling bin will put instead send it to the landfill.

TetraPak collected in Auckland kerbside bins right now is sorted into bales with paper and cardboard, before being sent off shore.

But Sood said: "There is technology that can further sort that out and there's a company saveBOARD that has a plant in New Zealand, so you could give it to them."

She said Council facilities nationwide could be upgraded, to be able to make the most of that on-shore investment.

SaveBOARD turns LPB into a kind-of gib board.

"We think that solves a lot of problems, it solves the building supply shortage we are facing, but it also closes the loop," Pardoe said.

Otis Oat Milk already works with customers to divert some packaging to the recycling facility in Hamilton.

Upper Hutt City Council and Earthlink in Lower Hutt, Wellington also provide drop off points for the packaging, which they then send to SaveBOARD.

"They have more than enough capacity," Pardoe said.

"If we put all our TetraPak/LPB packaging into nationwide kerbside recycling, saveBOARD could totally take it on board."

Executive Chef of Ozone Coffee Roasters in Auckland, Joe O'Connell, told 1News their café alone uses up to 100 cartons a week of alternative milk.

"It's becoming more and more popular.

"To have an outlet which, we know where it ends up and we can see the end product if you like, gives us confidence we are able to use TetraPak products and not have a negative impact."

Pardoe is urging Kiwis to make a submission on the Government's recycling plan, before consultation closes on Sunday.

The Environment Minister, David Parker, said he can't comment on the matter during the consultation period.

But in a statement he said: "The aim of the consultation is to bring our recycling systems up to global standards, and minimise the amount of materials disposed of inappropriately.

"The Government welcomes and will seriously consider submissions from a wide range of stakeholders (including Auckland Council and Otis Oat Milk) to help ensure the best outcome for New Zealand."