Container Deposit Schemes

For almost twenty years the organisation Envision has specialised in the community waste sector. We asked Envision Manager Matthew Luxon what he thought of the recently announced research into introducing a container deposit scheme in New Zealand. Matthew specialises in the establishment and operation of community-led, resource recovery enterprises nationally. Here is what he said.

Remember the days of the old school bottle deposit, when you could take empty beverage containers to a dairy or a depot, to be recycled or reused, and you’d get a deposit for your efforts? New Zealand moved away from this system back in the ‘80s, but many countries and states around the world held on, or have since reintroduced it, resulting in impressive lifts in their bottle recycling and reuse rates, and marked reductions in the number of empty beverage containers escaping into the natural environment.

For over a decade, Envision has supported bringing this system back to New Zealand through a container deposit scheme (CDS) policy. After years of researching and considering the issue, we are yet to find an initiative that will match or exceed the 85% recycling rates we expect a mandatory, nationwide CDS will have. If we were able to identify such a scheme, we would switch to supporting and advocating for that.

We’re not the only ones convinced CDS is a great idea. At the end of 2018, The Kiwi Bottle Drive campaign delivered a petition (with over 15,000 signatures) to Parliament calling on the Government to introduce a mandatory CDS for New Zealand. The petition is now before the Environment Select Committee, who have already heard submissions from several organisations supporting a CDS, including The Kiwi Bottle Drive, The New Zealand Product Stewardship Council, Zero Waste Network Aotearoa and Greenpeace New Zealand.

Committee chairperson, Labour MP Deborah Russell, has stated that once submission hearings are over, the committee intends to produce a “really good report”. There’s reason to be optimistic that this report will recommend the Government implement a CDS. The Kiwi Bottle Drive petition has put CDS back in the spotlight at a time when public appetite to do something about waste issues is stronger than ever. Furthermore, political parties seem more open to CDS than they’ve ever been. The Green Party has officially supported CDS for years, but earlier this year, the National Party proposed making CDS party policy too. Labour and NZ First are yet to put out official positions, but have not indicated opposition.

A “really good” select committee report would certainly help advance the case for CDS in New Zealand. However, the power to make CDS happen lies with the Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, and her support for CDS remains tempered. In mid-June, Minister Sage announced that the Ministry for the Environment is looking into CDS, but reiterated that the Government would still not commit to introducing a scheme for Aotearoa.

While it’s encouraging to hear that the Ministry may be giving CDS greater attention, the reality is that we don’t need to do more investigating to prove that CDS is a good idea for New Zealand. In 2015, Envision released The InCENTive to Recycle, a thoroughly researched report laying out the case for CDS. In 2017, an independent Auckland Council-commissioned cost-benefit analysis found that the benefits of CDS would be at least double the costs, but could be as high as six times the costs.

The time has come to shift gears, give CDS the greenlight, set an implementation date, and begin designing the best scheme possible for New Zealand. Although successive Governments have dragged their heels over CDS, with mounting public interest and a growing waste crisis, this position is increasingly outdated. CDS should be a dream environmental policy for any Government - it’s both effective and relatively non-controversial, attracts high levels of public and local government support, demands little in terms of Government funding, and is backed up by screeds of overseas evidence showing that CDS:

  • reduces littering rates of beverage containers;

  • elevates recovery rates to facilitate more recycling or reuse of containers;

  • can inject money back into communities; and

  • shifts the responsibility for dealing with beverage container waste on to manufacturers and consumers of these products, rather than the public at large and the natural environment.

So, what are we waiting for? In the words of Marty Hoffart, Chairperson of the Zero Waste Network Aotearoa, “there is no good reason” that New Zealand still does not have a CDS.

Love in the time of Climate Change

In April this year local inspiration and founder of Crop Swap Aotearoa, Franziska von Hünerbein, travelled to Scotland to participate in the Climate Change and Consciousness 2019 conference. We asked her if she would share some reflections on her experience so that the community can benefit from her journey. Here's what she said

“The Climate Change and Consciousness Conference 2019 at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland is over and what a week it has been: Seven days full to the brim of keynote speeches, workshops, sharing circles and many, many conversations amongst the 340 passionate participants from all over our planet. I had the privilege to attend the conference as a representative of our Crop Swap Aotearoa movement and many of you have been following the journey with heartwarming interest! 

How was it? Amazing, gut wrenching, uplifting, scary, shattering, hopeful, devastating and hugely inspiring! If it did one thing: It shook us, and, if we weren’t already, it woke us up from our sweet “she’ll be right” dreams.

What we have learned? Climate change is real, it is happening already, it is the most serious threat for humanity, and the future of life on this planet depends on the priorities that we are setting right now. The work has just begun.


What now? We know it already: The answer is always LOVE. Just to get this clear: I am not talking about fluffy romantic feelings here, I talk about love as action. As more and more of us realise, Climate Change is actually a symptom of disconnection from ourselves, our communities and our very planet. So every step to reconnect with any of these areas is a loving act that contributes to the healing of all.

Self Love: Taking responsibility for ourselves and meeting our true needs are acts of self love that ripple out to those around us.  So: Eat and sleep well, go for that walk, dance, hug a friend, meditate, have a swim, be kind to yourself, plant a garden and come to Crop Swap.

Community Love: Humans are social beings and true connection with others gives us contentment, safety and a sense of belonging. So, meet your neighbour, listen to your child, throw that street party, volunteer, get involved in schools, clubs, work together, have fun together, weave that diverse tapestry of people around you, plant a garden and come to Crop Swap.

Planet Love: Planet Earth is not a commodity for us to consume but an incredibly complex living being in her own right that we are part of. So: Grow wildflowers, protect that wetland, protest, speak up, show up, have honest conversations, pick up rubbish, switch to an electric car now, get to know the people who are representing us in Council, vote, plant a garden and come to Crop Swap.

Life on Planet Earth is incredible. What a place to be, learn, play!!! Let’s love her tenderly, passionately, fiercely. Let’s love her as if she was our one and only. Because she is.

You can find more information about our almighty Crop Swap Aotearoa / New Zealand movement on our website

Franziska von Hunerbein, Crop Swap Aotearoa

2018 Impact Program Update - A Year of Change Makers

2018 has been another great year for Sustainable Taranaki's Impact program, with 143 youth undertaking 15 fantastic student-led sustainability projects throughout the Taranaki region. We have been impressed by the creativity and dedication of the youth we work alongside. These youth are not only undertaking practical real-world improvements in their local environment and communities, but through the program they are empowered to know that they can be the change makers of the future.

Many thanks to our key funders Ministry of Youth Development for their support to make this empowering experience available to Taranaki youth. And ngā mihi nui to Oranga Tamariki and the many local project partners, sustainability champions, teachers, and supervisors who have supported us. Your time and knowledge is much appreciated in supporting young people to create local sustainability solutions in our region.

This year we had a number of great new project ideas from youth, such as a bike maintenance day by the NPBHS Green Team to encourage sustainable transport, and a pest trapping project at Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae initiated by Oranga Tamariki youth. We also saw some fantastic videos being created by students. Check out Egmont Village School's water conservation video and Devon Intermediate’s rubbish bin sculpture video

2018 Impact Program Participants

Egmont Village School
Inglewood Primary
Spotswood College
Norfolk Primary
Devon Intermediate
Pātea Area School
New Plymouth Boys High School


Activity Centre
Manukorihi School
Oranga Tamariki
St Patrick’s Inglewood
Coastal School
Puketapu School
Hāwera Intermediate

Project Videos

Egmont Village installed a 1000l water tank to collect water for their school vege garden. NPDC are interested in using their water conservation video to educate the wider North Taranaki community.

Devon Intermediate students undertook a litter clean up and identified the area around their playground as having no rubbish bin. They secured support from their Principal to install an upcycled bin and made a great litter education video.

2018 Impact Youth Projects Summary

Beach and Litter Clean Ups 

Activity Centre, Devon Intermediate and Puketapu School wanted to reduce waste in their community. Each group participated in a litter cleanup and then undertook a waste audit to identify what the most common items are that are being thrown away or littered, to support education and changes by students.

Upcycling Projects

Devon Intermediate, Norfolk and Inglewood Primary, Coastal Area School, St Patricks Inglewood, Puketapu and Pātea Area School wanted create objects out of waste materials, in order to reduce waste going to landfill. Thought this they learned an appreciation of how things can be repurposed, and some great practical design and building skills.

Conservation Projects

Manukorihi Intermediate, Oranga Tamariki, Egmont Village Primary, Hāwera Intermediate, Inglewood Primary, Devon Intermediate, St Patrick's Inglewood and Activity Centre all created projects focused on conservation or biodiversity. These included weed control, pest management, water conservation, river monitoring and riparian planting.

Community Garden Projects

Spotswood College, Pātea and Coastal Area Schools wanted to help people in need by providing them with free produce. Alongside this they also learned about the idea of food miles and the impact of our food and purchasing choices on the environment.

Plastic Free July

In July this year the Impact team ran two events for Plastic Free July. First up we held an upcycling day as part of the YMCA school holiday program. Youth made a number of sculptures out of reclaimed plastics that were then collated to form a miniputt obstacle course.

The following Saturday, alongside Taranaki Enviroschools, Rethinking Plastic Revolution, Upcycle Taranaki, NPDC and Karen's Kits we held a youth Plastic Free July event at Puke Ariki. This showcased the opportunities there are for youth to lead the way in reducing the impact of single use plastics on the environment. On the day YMCA youth were interviewed for the TV show WhatNow, showcasing their learning and media skills.

Thanks for joining us on this Impact journey. We look forward to working with you in 2019!

Erin, Laine and the Sustainable Taranaki team.

IMPACT Students Support Taranaki Predator Free Efforts During Term3

At the start of Term 3 the Impact Facilitators started working alongside Oranga Tamariki, Devon Intermediate, Activity Centre and Manukorihi School. The recent launch of Restore Taranaki and Towards Predator Free Taranaki had the young people eager to get involved in conservation focused projects.  

Devon Intermediate students began their project with a rubbish clean up around the school grounds.  They had a field trip to the Community Resource Recovery Centre to learn about recycling and afterward decided to make an eco-brick structure.  They took the rubbish that they had collected from the school grounds to make the eco-bricks - plastic bottles filled up with soft plastics to form a hard brick. With these they created a rubbish bin sculpture.  The rubbish bin sculpture and installed bin is to be placed in an area identified by the students as a litter problem area, in the hope to reduce the amount of rubbish dropped. 

Activity Centre were very busy this term with a focus on Back Beach.  The students where shocked by the amount of rubbish that ends up in our oceans and wanted to help. They planned a beach clean up at Back Beach to pick up the litter.  They went one step further in creating an educational sign for the carpark area to ''Keep NZ Clean". They also supported the Restore Taranaki project by writing to the New Plymouth District Council and bringing donated Paritutu specific native Harakeke that they planted. 

The students from Manukorihi Intermediate showed a lot of interest in the recreational hunting in their area and how this can have a positive impact on their natural environment. Their project focused on predator trapping to support the Taranaki Regional Councils Towards Predator Free Taranaki goals. They upcycled some real estate advertising signs to make tracking tunnels around the school and then used this information to learn what types of predators were in the area and identified which areas were best to set traps.  The group set up five traps around their school grounds as well as native planting to help grow their nature areas. The school have also collected 100 traps for the students to build and sell for their community, these proceeds go towards further environmental initiatives within the School. 

Sustainable Taranaki Impact program partnered with Oranga Tamariki for the first time during Term 3.  The partnership has been a great success with five young people taking part in the Impact Program. They learnt about the Towards Predator Free Taranaki project and explored the pest trapping work being done around Pukekura Park with Taranaki Regional Council staff. The group decided to help with predator trapping at the Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae, so they made some tracking tunnels and identified that rats and mice were present in the area. They built the traps themselves and set them out in the orchard area.  They also planted pear trees and a feijoa to contribute to the space. 

A huge thanks to the Taranaki Regional Council for all of their support around Predator Trapping and meeting with the young people engaged in the program.  Thank you also go out to New Plymouth District Council for support with native tree planting at the Back Beach Reserve, Katere Ki-Te Moana Marae for welcoming us into your space and by so supportive of the youth project.

We also really appreciate all the support from school staff members and local residents who support all of the young people in achieving their projects, we are always amazed at their creativity and dedication to taking positive environmental and sustainable action. 

Young People Contribute to Making Taranaki Predator Free 

Press Release – 25 September 2018 

For Immediate Release 

Oranga Tamariki has teamed up with the Sustainable Taranaki IMPACT program for the first time this term. Young people being supported by Oranga Tamariki through the Youth Justice system have chosen to become part of the IMPACT program, and with IMPACT’s support have chosen to help Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, a region-wide project supporting biodiversity. Working with a New Plymouth Marae, they have been busy creating upcycled trapping tunnels and learning all about what they can do to help restore and protect native wildlife and plants in their local area. 

The Sustainable Taranaki IMPACT program supports young people to generate and initiate their own local sustainability projects. IMPACT teaches them team building skills as well as growing their individual strengths while they work together to design and implement the project they’ve initiated.  

The group of rangatahi supported by Oranga Tamariki has chosen to create practical pest management solutions at Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae in Waiwhakaiho. “It’s great that the young people have chosen to get involved, focusing on something they all agree is important in their own backyard. This means that they really get to own the project, see it through and can see the impacts of it at every stage,” says Laine Phillips, IMPACT Coordinator. 

Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Social Worker Tess Carter says the program has been a fabulous opportunity for the young people to be involved in something that makes them accountable for their offending whilst giving back to their community.  

“It has also been beneficial for our young people to make connections with Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae, who have been very supportive of this project by sharing their knowledge and resources. IMPACT has helped our young people gain community and environmental awareness, whilst fostering individual strengths.” 

“The rangatahi have particularly enjoyed learning about the impact of pests on our environment; the protocols and tikanga of the Marae, as well as the practical activities they have been involved in,” says Tess. 

An entire pest management plan has been developed by the young people through the Sustainable Taranaki-Oranga Tamariki partnership. Starting with a field trip to Pukekura Park to check trap lines with one of Taranaki Regional Council’s Environment Officers, the rangatahi then made tracking tunnels from recycled real estate signs and placed them at Katere Marae to monitor pest levels and locations. The data collected from the tunnels was then used to plan a pest trapping program at the Marae.  

On 26 October Sustainable Taranaki, Oranga Tamariki, Ngāti Tawhirikura and Taranaki Regional Council will be celebrating the outcomes of this group of young people and their great work creating practical pest management solutions at a New Plymouth marae. The youth will lead a tour of the developed pest traps and fruit trees donated and planted in the Marae gardens.

Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Manager for Taranaki, Trudi Baker, says the project is a wonderful collaboration that enables the young people to learn about environmental sustainability, and then engage in a relevant project that connects them to their local community.   

“We have seen some enormous benefits for the young people as it has given them a sense of achievement whilst developing some practical and leadership skills.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sustainable Taranaki into the future.”

August 1st 2018 is Earth Overshoot Day - This Year We Will Use 1.7 Earths, Globally

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date each year when we have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year.

This year Earth Overshoot Day is Wednesday 1st August, the earliest date in human history.  Each year scientists at the Global Footprint Network calculate the date using our demand for available resources and services, compared with the Earth’s capacity to absorb our wastes. They then calculate the number of days of this year that Earth can provide for our global human Ecological Footprint within its natural limits.

The date is occurring earlier each year: last year it was August 3rd. For 2018, after 1st August we are using stocks of ecological resources and accumulating our waste for future generations to deal with.  This happens through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb, for example.

For the rest of the year, we’re effectively in ecological deficit, since we can’t import more resources to the planet. By the end of the year, globally we will have used up the equivalent of 1.7 Earths. If we continue on this course Global Footprint Network data show that we would need two Earths by 2030 to keep up with our level of resource demand.

“Worryingly, the planet’s budget is now in deficit. But there are so many every day things we can do to use resources more efficiently, and help move that date forward,” says Kati Freeman, General Manager of Sustainable Taranaki.

“We want to congratulate all the Taranaki residents and organisations who are valuing Earth’s valuable resources and getting more use from the things we’ve already produced – the opshops, second hand boutiques, kids markets, tool hire companies, and organisations focused on environmental stewardship.”

Sustainable Taranaki believes that by reducing our use of resources we can live better quality lives and also save money, as well as having less of an ecological impact.

Here are some simple ways we can do this:

  • Use less new resources, and make use of things that have already been produced from valuable resources.
  • Buy good quality items that last, and look after them really well, maintaining them, getting them serviced and repairing or fixing them if they break down or get damaged, rather than automatically buying a replacement.
  • Start sharing: loan a tool you don’t use often to your family, friends or neighbours, or hire something if you’re only going to use it once or twice a year.  Most power drills are used for an average of 12 minutes across their lifetime, for example, so can easily be shared.
  • Use resources more efficiently in our own households. A second car, for example, can be avoided by using the bus or biking or walking, which also saves thousands annually on household costs, as well as reducing your contribution to climate change.
  • Buy things second hand. There are some great opshops, high end second hand clothes shops, buy and sell Facebook groups, Kids Markets and garage sales to support, or set up a clothes swap with friends.
  • Get creative when giving presents. Choose to give experiences over things.
  • Substitute shopping for fun with having satisfying experiences with friends and family in beautiful places.
  • Buy products that have recycled content in them, like recycled content copy paper, which avoids new trees being cut down to make virgin paper.

“While these are simple steps to take, they all add up to helping reduce our ecological impact, and moving the date of our ecological overshoot globally,” encourages Freeman.

For more information about Earth Overshoot Day visit:


Sustainable Backyards Trail 2018 has been launched!

Sustainable Backyards Trail 2018 website - now live!

We are excited to announce that Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail 2018 website is now LIVE! Check out this year's fabulous line up of family, marae and community gardens that are opening their doors to inspire us with their creativity, innovation and dedication to living a more sustainable lifestyle.