NZ’s trash trou­ble ex­ported over­seas

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

am­[email protected] use all of that ma­te­rial in New Zealand.’’

There did need to be new fa­cil­i­ties to process the plas­tics here, he said.

In Au­gust, Welling­ton City Coun­cil staff trav­elled to Malaysia and found their ‘‘re­cy­clable’’ plas­tic meat trays from Welling­ton were be­ing dumped.

It came as a shock, as meat trays had been touted as a re­cy­clable op­tion to poly­styrene foam trays.

But Evans said it was not fea­si­ble for every coun­cil to travel to South­east Asia to see where their waste was go­ing.

Lay Peng, who works as a com­mu­nity ac­tivist for the Kuala Lan­gat en­vi­ron­men­tal group, said she would leave home in the mid­dle of the night to find plas­tic be­ing burned in se­cret fires in her vil­lage of Jen­jarom.

The fumes from burn­ing plas­tic were harm­ing Malaysian res­i­dents in vil­lages and lin­ger­ing in their homes, she said.

In a state­ment, a spokes­woman for As­so­ciate En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Eu­ge­nie Sage said the En­vi­ron­ment Min­istry had asked re­source re­cov­ery op­er­a­tors to con­sider en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues in their in­ter­na­tional con­tracts.

‘‘Some of our lo­cal coun­cils have this as a con­tract re­quire­ment with their ser­vice providers.’’

The re­cy­cling sys­tem in New Zealand was good and had de­vel­oped over many years, she said.

‘‘We should con­tinue to in­vest in this. How­ever it’s ob­vi­ously not the whole an­swer – we need to pre­vent waste from the out­set by de­sign­ing it out of the sys­tem, in­clud­ing cre­at­ing prod­ucts that last and can be re­paired or have com­po­nents that can be reused.’’

There was no need for Ki­wis to stop re­cy­cling, she said. Fur­ther­more, New Zealand should not stop ship­ping re­cy­cling to South­east Asia.

‘‘But I do sup­port those coun­tries set­ting stan­dards about what they want com­ing into their coun­try,’’ she said.

‘‘For our part, this Gov­ern­ment has started a sig­nif­i­cant pro­gramme of work to re­duce our waste and sup­port more on­shore pro­cess­ing.

‘‘Change will take a while be­cause we’ve had decades of not do­ing enough.’’

Rub­bish be­ing burnt in the open in Malaysia, where some New Zealand re­cy­cling is be­ing dumped.

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