Chia Sisters, the Nelson-based beverage company, is calling on the NZ Government to implement a nationwide bottle reuse system as a part of the Container Return Scheme.
The proposal suggests that a bottle reuse system would involve washing, sanitising, de-labelling and returning bottles to producers so they can be re-purposed. The proposal has already received support from other New Zealand food producers, such as Fix & Fogg, Karma Cola, Raglan Food Co and Ārepa.
“While recycling is better than landfill, it is not the best option when the bottle could be used again. Recycling is carbon-intensive and inefficient. Re-using will save carbon emissions, water, energy, and waste. If we are already collecting the bottles, why not re-use them?” Said Chia Sisters Co-Founder Florence Van Dyke.
“Re-using bottles is not a foreign concept to anyone that lived in New Zealand before the mid-1990s. For me, a twice-weekly childhood chore was to place empty milk bottles at the kerb with tokens for purchase. Glass bottles were washed, sanitised and refilled hundreds of times each. So how is it that in less than three decades New Zealand has transitioned to a single-use economy?"
“The Container Return Scheme is New Zealand’s greatest opportunity to shift back to re-use. We know it's possible because we’ve done it before, and other countries and communities are already re-using bottles before recycling them. In countries like Germany, glass bottles are re-used up to 50 times and PET plastic bottles are re-used up to 10 times before being recycled.”
Over two million plastic bottles are consumed in New Zealand each year and contribute to one of the country's largest sources of waste. To Support the Chia Sisters' proposal, head to their website.