Container return scheme announcement welcomed

Container return scheme announcement welcomed

Published: Thursday 26 September 2019

Marlborough District Council and Auckland Council have welcomed today’s funding announcement by Associate Minister of the Environment, Hon Eugenie Sage, for the design of a container return scheme (CRS) for New Zealand.

The two councils jointly applied for funding to the Waste Minimisation Fund to set up a project team and working group to co-design a CRS for New Zealand, with a final design due to be presented to the Government by August 2020.  The project seeks to design a scheme that has positive economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits and gives a monetary value to beverage containers, leading to increases in recycling and refilling. 

Project Manager George Fietje said that, subject to Government approval, the scheme could be ready for implementation in 2022.

“Overseas results have shown that a much higher percentage of materials are recovered and recycled when a return scheme is in place, alongside kerbside recycling. It also keeps useful resources out of landfills and our environment, and creates new jobs and other benefits for local communities.

“Placing a value on containers means people ‘return and earn’ instead of disposing of containers, and councils receive a cleaner, less contaminated stream of recyclables."

“Many countries, states and provinces overseas have CRS schemes. In the past two years a number of Australian states have enacted legislation to join the long-running South Australia and Northern Territory schemes.

“The New Zealand project will deliver a CRS design that includes a cost benefit analysis to ensure the scheme’s benefits outweigh the costs.”

The project team expect to provide regular updates to the media and public as the project progresses over the next 11 months. The project is seeking to appoint a Researcher and a Programme Manager. The Request for Proposal process for these positions can be found at

The Scheme Design Working Group (SDWG) will include representatives from a wide range of stakeholders including beverage companies, community groups, recyclers, and local authorities. The SDWG will actively work together with all interested parties to co-design a bespoke scheme that meets New Zealand’s needs.