Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand: Resources

Below are some resources for the #rethinkplastic project. 

You can download a device friendly PDF of this page: Rethinking Plastics Resources.pdf


Circular Economy


Product Design

Design for Recycled Content Guide – Sustainable Packaging Coalition (2019) An online guide providing practical recommendations to inform strategy and decision making by outlining existing challenges to address an array of environmental considerations across the packaging life cycle.

Considerations and Criteria for Sustainable Plastics from a Chemicals Perspective – OECD (May 2018) The report identifies design principles for developing new sustainable plastics from a chemicals perspective.

Reuse and recycling of plastic packaging for private use – Danish Forum for Circular Plastic Packaging (2018). A manual for designing plastic packaging intended for use in consumer products.—Reuse-and–recycling-of–plastic-packaging–for-private-use.pdf

Tesco Preferred Materials List – Tesco (April 2019) A traffic-light approach outlining the materials that this UK-based retailer will stock and those that will be removed from their shelves.

Product Stewardship

Product Stewardship: what our members think – WasteMINZ (May 2018) A survey of WasteMINZ members (101 responses) showed that most were in favour of some sort of mandatory product stewardship scheme for problematic waste streams.


Container Deposit Scheme (CDS)


Waste to Energy

  • Municipal Waste Management Strategy Review and Waste-to-Energy Potentials in New Zealand – Perrot et al. Sustainability (August 2018) An academic paper discussing municipal waste management and Waste-to-Energy potentials in New Zealand. WtE options were explored Zealand.



  • Waste Minimisation Act 2008 – Parliamentary Counsel Office (January 2018). The purpose of this Act is to encourage waste minimisation and a decrease in waste disposal in order to — (a) protect the environment from harm; and (b) provide environmental, social, economic, and cultural benefits.
  • Trashing waste: unlocking the wasted potential on NZ’s Waste Minimisation Act – Blumhardt,H. Policy Quarterly (November 2018). This academic article outlines a range of policy solutions available to the government under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, analyses why these policy tools have been underutilised to date, and proffers a roadmap for overcoming the identified obstacles.



Volumes of Plastics Produced

  • Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made – Geyer et al. Science Advances (July 2017) Research article identifying and synthesizing dispersed data on production, use, and end-of-life management of polymer resins, synthetic fibers, and additives, to present the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever. Source of the widely used figure of 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced since their discovery.



  • New Zealand’s Plastic Packaging System: an initial circular economy diagnosis – Circular Economy Accelerator, Sustainable Business Network (November 2018) An overview of the use of and end-of-life of plastics used for packaging in New Zealand with recommendations to transform the system into part of the circular economy.
  • Review of packaging mass balance measurements – Infometrics for the Packaging Council of New Zealand (April 2015). A review of the method, data sources and present initial estimates of the mass balance of packaging materials in New Zealand. The approach relies on Statistics New Zealand export data for estimates of recovery volumes and to calculate recovery rates as a proportion of population or GDP measures rather than material specific estimates of consumption or usage. A critical aspect of the choice of method is to allow reliable and easily calculated international comparisons of packaging material recovery rates.


  • UK Plastics Pact Roadmap – Waste Resources Action Programme (November 2018) Brief report from the charity, in conjunction with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, on how the UK can meet targets to eliminate unnecessary single use packaging, have 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging, 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted and 30% recycled content in plastic packaging. Lists challenges and potential solutions.

Life Cycle Assessment and Material Flow Analysis

  • Norway – østfoldforskning research institute – Publish a variety of research on sustainability issues and lifecycle analysis, including:

Comparison of recycling and incineration of PET bottles (2017). This study compares the environmental impacts of a consumers’ choice to whether: a) use Infinitum’s deposit system in order to recycle their PET bottles; or b) dispose of their PET bottles together with their residual waste to incineration.

LCA of beverage container production, collection and treatment systems (2016). This study assesses and compares the potential environmental impact of beverage container production with different collection and treatment systems in Norway.

  • APCO Packaging Material Flow Analysis 2018 – Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) (February 2018). A report from the Institute for Sustainable Studies at the University of Technology Sydney characterising waste material flows through the Australian packaging system using material flow analysis methodology.

Waste Management


  • The New Zealand Waste Strategy: reducing harm, improving efficiency – Ministry for the Environment (October 2010). A revision of the New Zealand Waste Strategy, released in 2002, the report outlines progress to date -including introduction of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 – and enables a more flexible approach to waste management and minimisation through two high level goals: reducing harm and improving efficiency.
  • Local Government Waste Management Manifesto – WasteMINZ’s Territorial Authority Forum (January 2018). The report sets out 5 priority actions for central Government to enable the local government sector to reduce waste.
  • Economic Factors of Waste Minimisation in New Zealand – Covec for Ministry for the Environment (November 2012). This report examines a number of economic issues relating to waste disposal and alternatives in New Zealand. Specifically the report addresses: the rationale for government intervention in waste minimisation and the place of the waste disposal levy within this rationale; issues surrounding disposal pricing in New Zealand and the extent to which it is providing efficient incentives for waste minimisation; and the overall costs and benefits of waste minimisation and the contribution of the waste disposal levy towards increasing net benefits.
  • Waste assessments and waste management and minimisation planning: a guide for territorial authorities – Ministry for the Environment (December 2015) Guide for councils to prepare waste assessments and waste minimisation plans. The Waste Minimisation Act 2008 (WMA) gives councils the responsibility to promote effective and efficient waste management and minimisation within their district. The WMA requires councils to adopt a waste management and minimisation plan, which must be reviewed every six years.

o   For example see: Auckland’s Waste Assessment 2017 – Auckland Council

o   And: Auckland’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018

  • National Waste Data Framework, WasteMINZ. This project to develop a waste data framework was to establish the following:

o   Definitions for waste data terms

o   Protocols for gathering waste data that meets the definitions

o   Protocols for managing and reporting waste data

o   Roles and obligations of key parties

o   Information system requirements if we were to move towards consolidated national waste data reporting

o   Reports produced include:

o   National Waste Data Framework: Review of International Waste Data Practice – WasteMINZ (February 2015)

o   New Zealand Waste Data Framework Protocols – WasteMINZ (August 2015)

o   New Zealand Waste Data Framework Implementation Report – WasteMINZ (August 2015)

o   National Waste Data Framework – Standard reporting indicators for territorial authorities – WasteMINZ (August 2015)


  • What a waste 2.0 – A global snapshot of solid waste management to 2050 – World Bank Group (2018) The report aggregates extensive solid waste data at the national and urban levels. It estimates and projects waste generation to 2030 and 2050. Beyond the core data metrics from waste generation to disposal, the report provides information on waste management costs, revenues, and tariffs; special wastes; regulations; public communication; administrative and operational models; and the informal sector.


Resource Recovery and Recycling




Waste Disposal Levy





  • A Scientific Perspective on Microplastics in Nature and Society – SAPEA Consortium (January 2019). A comprehensive review of the current evidence on health, environmental and societal impacts of nano- and microplastic pollution.