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A joint initiative between the retail sector, the packaging industry and the Government to enable the recycling of soft plastics was launched in Dunedin today.

“The Love NZ Soft Plastics Recycling Programme will be available at 14 New World, Countdown, FreshChoice, PAK’nSAVE and The Warehouse stores in Dunedin.  The programme is already running in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Canterbury regions,” Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson says.

“This programme has, for the first time, enabled soft plastics and soft packaging such as shopping bags, bread bags, frozen food bags and food wrap to be recycled. Over 215 tonnes of soft plastics have been collected for recycling.

“The objective is for 70 per cent of New Zealanders to have access to a drop-off facility for soft plastics within 20 kilometres of their home. This project provides a great example of how businesses and New Zealanders can make changes every day to divert large amounts of waste from ending up in landfill.”

The $700,000 contribution from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund is being matched by contributions from retailers and selected brands, bringing the total funding for the project to over $1.6 million. The programme is being run by the Packaging Forum, which was set up to promote the recycling of packaging.

The Waste Minimisation Fund provides financial support to projects that reduce environmental harm and provide social, economic and cultural benefits. It is funded from a levy introduced by the National-led Government in 2009, which is charged on waste disposed of at landfills to discourage waste and to fund recycling initiatives. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.

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