Tip campaign backs new recycling initiative

by Paul Campbell

A new government plan to attack New Zealand waste mountain has been welcomed by Kaipara’s Fight the Tip campaign, which is battling against a landfill for Auckland rubbish that poses a pollution threat to Kaipara Harbour.

Associate Environment minister, Eugenie Sage, announced last week the government is taking steps to improve kerbside and commercial recycling, reduce contamination of recyclables so more materials can be recovered, and increase onshore processing of plastics and other materials.

It is the result of a task force set up last year to respond to a Chinese government ban on the import of many recycling materials.

Fight the Tip is opposed to Waste Management, a Chinese-owned company, gaining Overseas Investment Office approval to buy 1,000 hectares in Dome Valley including a catchment for the Hoteo River running into the Kaipara.

“It is great to see these government steps along with a round of funding to minimise waste,” said spokesperson Michaelle Carmichael.

“Recent landfill disasters and the state of our environment really highlight the need to urgently change how we minimise and manage our waste.

When you compare how some other countries are dealing with waste, New Zealand appears to be sadly lagging behind.

“The New Zealand Waste Strategy goals since 2010 are to reduce the harmful effects of waste, and improve the efficiency of resource use. In light of this, we were astounded that offshore owned Waste Management received approval to purchase land for another landfill.

“We would think the government now has sufficient grounds and public support to reverse the OIO decision in order to protect our environment.”

Eugenie Sage said “as a country we have been sending our waste issues offshore. China’s National Sword initiative has been a wake-up call that we need to deal with waste here in New Zealand, still one of the highest producers of household waste in the developed world, per capita.

“This is despite waste being the second most pressing issue for New Zealanders according to research commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment.