Sorting the plastics problem

Publish Date : 01 Jul 2021
Sorting the plastics problem

With Plastic Free July ahead, the Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment have checked out how Auckland Council’s getting the problem sorted.

They went on the tour of Auckland Council’s material sorting facility a few days before the announcement that problem plastics and some single-use plastics will be phased out by July 2025.

Jacinda Ardern and David Parker were shown through the facility in Onehunga to see first-hand what over $16 million dollars from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund will do for the plant.

The investment’s going into technology to improve the sorting of material and increase the amount we can recycle by about 28 per cent, allowing us to recycle more in New Zealand, rather than overseas.

The new optical sorting technology for plastics is already in use with the next, more extensive phase of the upgrade due to be carried out next year, allowing for better processing of paper and cardboard.

Auckland Council’s General Manager Waste Solutions Parul Sood says it was great to host the Prime Minister and Minister Parker at the plant, to get an idea of how the funding will improve the future of recycling.

Ms Sood says other important steps can take place far earlier in the product cycle. “The Government’s deadline for the phasing out of problem plastics is very welcome and will remove a layer of materials from the system altogether. An extra step would also be better labelling so that consumers can more clearly see what they are buying and how it can be recycled.”

Plastic Free July

Join people around the world taking the Plastic Free July Challenge and be part of the solution as well.

Try out our 12 simple tips for saying goodbye to plastic waste in your kitchen and other ideas at

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