Bottle deposit scheme is fizzing

Cash for trash - Hope Lawsen, Marty Hoffart and Satsuki Takenouchi adding value to empty plastic bottles at their pop-up bottle return depot. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

More than 12,000 people, including a large number from the Bay of Plenty, have attached their signatures to a petition aimed at convincing politicians that dumping plastic bottles in landfill is not okay.

Almost one billion plastic bottles are being landfilled, littered or ending up in our oceans and waterways each year, and action group Kiwi Bottle Drive wants to stop what it deems to be totally avoidable waste and pollution.

The group are calling on all MPs to back a bottle deposit scheme - a cash-for-trash scheme - to stop drink packaging waste.

“If drink bottles and cans had value, they will stop ending up in the sea,” says Kiwi Bottle Drive organiser Rowan Brooks.

This week, a pop-up bottle return depot was operating on Cameron Road outside the offices of Waste Watchers - the waste minimisation company. Manager Marty Hoffart has long been a champion of bottle deposit schemes.

The pop-up depot was a simple way of creating awareness on a national day of action.

Campaign coordinator Holly Dove says bottle deposits are already popular.

“There’s huge support for this amongst Kiwis who either fondly remember collecting bottles for pocket money as kids, or have been impressed by the effectiveness of schemes they’ve seen on holidays, in places like Germany,” she says.

“We want to get this system back in a modern form. It’ll look after our oceans, clean the streets and help our communities fundraise, like the Scouts used to do with bottle drives in the 1980s.”

The Kiwi Bottle Drive says a bottle deposit scheme will help create 2000 new jobs.

They claim it would also save councils and taxpayers up to $40 million a year, reduce carbon emissions, create community fund groups, supplement low incomes and foster a sustainable circular economy.


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