Cashing in on recycling

13 June 2013

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A student group has enjoyed a successful campaign to raise awareness of the need to avoid, or at least recycle, single-use disposable packaging, offering monetary incentives to students who return for recycling their bottles.

Plastic Diet, an activist group founded this year, offered twenty cents for each recyclable bottle submitted, to a limit of 100 containers per person. Over 1,100 containers were recycled and over $200 in refunds were given out.

“This event was a positive way to encourage students to reduce, re-use and recycle because a small cash incentive is something most students really appreciate,” says Florence Reynolds, a third year student studying towards a conjoint degree in Arts and Science.

20 volunteers from Plastic Diet greeted recyclers, giving them information about a consumer dependency on single-use plastic and possible legislative actions that would increase rates of recycling in New Zealand, primarily Container Deposit Legislation (CDL).

CDL is a deposit and refund system, where a small charge is added to the cost of beverages at the point of purchase. This charge is refunded to the consumer when they return the container for re-use or recycling.

It is a legislative approach that has been adopted in countries across Europe, including Germany and Denmark, as well as provinces and states in America, Australia and Canada.

“If NZ had CDL, we would boost re-use and recycling rates, create jobs and reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill. We’re hoping to stage more events like this in the future, to encourage New Zealanders to call for better packaging policies and to show how effective refundable bottle deposits are.”

Find out more about Plastic Diet on Facebook