WELLINGTON, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government on Wednesday announced changes to the way people make, use, recycle and dispose of waste, ushering in a new era for the country's waste system, said Environment Minister David Parker.
The changes will ensure that where waste is recycled, for instance by households at the curbside, it is less likely to be contaminated by material that cannot be used.
New Zealand is one of the highest generators of waste per person in the world, every year producing about 750 kg per person, said Parker.
These improvements will bring New Zealand's waste and recycling systems up to global standards, Parker said, adding households in urban areas will have a standardized recycling service by 2027 and a household food scraps collection by 2030. A standardized service will make it clear what can or cannot be recycled from home.
Standardized recycling collections will ensure collection of glass bottles and jars; paper and cardboard; plastic bottles and containers from plastic types 1, 2, and 5; and aluminum and steel tins and cans.
Curbside food scrap collections will be a new service for many households, he said, adding ensuring food scraps are separate from landfill collection and can be disposed of responsibly will reduce emissions and make it easier to find new uses for that waste.
"In 2019, waste was responsible for 4 percent of our total gross emissions, most of which was methane from decomposing of organic material in landfills," Parker said, adding by 2035, curbside food scrap collections will be preventing approximately 45,000 tons of CO2-equivalent of methane emissions.
Working with local authorities, the changes to household collections will be phased in from 2024 to 2030 as supporting infrastructure is expanded, the minister said, adding the waste issues are one of the top 10 concerns for Kiwis.
Wednesday's announcements showed the commitment to protecting the environment and tackling climate change, he said.