The Ministry for the Environment (MOE) has announced it is consulting on proposed priority product declarations and product stewardship scheme guidelines.
Priority product declarations could have significant implications for producers and users of a broad range of consumer and commercial products, as well as for other stakeholders. They follow-on from recent bans against plastic microbeads in certain products and single-use shopping bags, and would be an initial step toward potentially introducing the first compulsory product stewardship requirements in New Zealand.
Currently no products are declared “priority products” under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. Participation in a waste minimisation framework by producers and other stakeholders is presently voluntary in New Zealand. Overseas, regulated life-cycle product stewardship is becoming increasingly common – the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) for electronic products being one example.
The MOE is now looking to use product stewardship and other tools available under the Act to put in place a more sustainable and potentially compulsory model around waste that shifts the costs of minimising harm from waste away from the wider community and environment, to producers and users.
As an initial step, the MOE proposes the introduction of six priority products groups:
- electrical and electronic products,
- agrichemicals and their containers,
- farm plastics,
- refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases, and
The MOE has also proposed a set of declared guidelines for the contents and expected effects of product stewardship schemes for priority products under the Act. These are included in the consultation, and address issues like governance, fees, service procurement, reporting and public accountability.
Once a product is declared a priority product, the Act provides a stewardship scheme must be developed and accredited. However, participation remains voluntary until regulations are put in place. This and other regulatory tools for waste minimisation will be subject to a stage 2 consultation and “co-design” process with stakeholders over 2019 to 2022.
Interested parties have an important opportunity to express their views before decisions are made on the declaration of these six priority products and associated stewardship guidelines.
The Stage 1
Consultation Paper is freely available on the MOE website. Consultation closes at 5pm on
Friday 4 October 2019.
If you would like assistance with making submissions, please contact the authors listed or your usual
Bell Gully advisor.
This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.