Investing to tackle New Zealand’s waste and plastics challenges

Published: Jul 1, 2019

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  • News and announcements

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $40 million to minimise waste to landfill and derive greater value from our resources.

Minister Shane Jones and Minister Eugenie Sage announcing the investment.

Minister Shane Jones and Minister Eugenie Sage announcing the $40 million PGF investment to address New Zealand’s waste and plastics challenges.

The announcement was made at an event at Flight Plastics in Lower Hutt by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.

Support from the PGF will be targeted to projects related to plastic waste – this is of importance given recent changes to our ability to export this material offshore for processing.

To avoid low value plastics going to landfill, funding from the PGF will support projects that recycle plastic waste into new packaging or convert it into an input for other economic activity.

Flight Plastics provided insight into what better resource recovery looks like. The company operates the only plant in New Zealand capable of producing recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – the plastic which is commonly used for plastic bottles, meat trays and fruit punnets.

Minister Jones said that New Zealand has been plastics rich, but solution poor. The investment from the PGF is designed to create a shift to higher-value waste processing, at a greater speed than what has been possible solely through existing programmes like the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund.

The PGF is seeking applications significant in scale and ones which will have a material impact on the volume of New Zealand’s plastic waste or other waste resources. Projects seeking funding should be able to have construction of processing capability underway before the end of 2020.

Flight Plastics Chief Executive Keith Smith explaining plastics recycling

Flight Plastics Chief Executive Keith Smith explains how plastics are recycled at the company’s Lower Hutt facility and made into new packaging.