Product Stewardship

Regulated product stewardship is the concept that producers are responsible for specified problematic products at the end of life, and ensure the costs of proper waste management are paid by producers and consumers, not communities and the environment.

Where is New Zealand with Product Stewardship?

The Ministry for the Environment announced in August 2019 that they are taking submissions on a Regulatory Product Stewardship Scheme. The overall intent of the proposals is to reduce the risk of harm from waste and increase economic and social benefits from a more circular use of resources.

The criteria for determining the best products to target include:

  1. The product will or may cause significant environmental harm when it becomes waste, or
  2. There are significant benefits from reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, or treatment of the product, and
  3. The product can be effectively managed under a product stewardship scheme.

After consultation on the proposal, the government plans to co-design a stewardship system with multiple stakeholders. We encourage you to read the proposal and make a submission with your thoughts. The deadline for submissions is Friday 4 October at 5pm.

Examples of successful product stewardship schemes overseas include reverse vending machines in Europe, where a device accepts used (empty) beverage containers and returns money to the user;

For more information on Product Stewardship in New Zealand we recommend checking out The Rubbish Trip, The Kiwi Bottle Drive and New Zealand Product Stewardship Council.

For example submissions to work from we recommend The Rubbish Trip's in depth submission and the Dummies Guide to writing a Priority Products submission by Zero Waste Network

Voluntary Product Stewardship in New Zealand

There are numerous voluntary product stewardship programs happening around New Zealand. Most voluntary product stewardship schemes experience problems with participation and product recovery rates.

schemes that set a voluntary levy or fee for responsible end-of-life waste product management discourage participation by producers and consumers, lead to low rates of collection for recycling or treatment, and often do not collect enough levies or fees to cover a full service * non-members of a voluntary scheme with a levy can charge less for their product and have a market advantage over participating brand owners * accredited voluntary schemes that deal with only one company’s products (as do seven of the 14 accredited schemes) can have excellent results but will not influence most of that product group.

Council kerbside recycling services

Glass Packaging Forum

Public Place Recycling Scheme

Fonterra Milk for Schools

Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme