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On 12 December 2022 New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment published a notice on the enforcement plan for the measure to ban plastic products under the waste management policies. Certain plastic products were already banned on 1 October 2022.
New Zealand prohibits manufacturing and selling hard-to-recycle materials and single-use plastic products. The rules are being enforced under the following regulations:
- Waste Minimization (Plastic and Related Products) Regulations 2022
- Waste Minimization (Plastic and Related Products) Amendment Regulations 2022
The phase-out plan applies to different plastic product types and groups over three stages between 2022 and 2025. The following products are covered on this list:
1 October 2022
- Single-use plastic drink stirrers and cotton buds (all plastic types)
- Certain polyvinyl chloride (PVC) preformed food trays and containers
- Polystyrene takeaway packaging for food and beverages
- Expanded polystyrene food and retail beverage packaging
- Any product that contains plastic with pro-degradants
1 July 2023
- Single-use plastic produce bags
- Plastic tableware (e.g., cutlery, bowls, utensils, straws) sold for eating food
- Non-home compostable plastic produce labels (imported products only; companies have until mid-2025 to be in compliance)
- All other hard-to-recycle plastic, including all PVC and polystyrene food and drink packaging. A detailed list of products will be finalized under the upcoming regulation.
Some business types or operations such as public services are qualified as “exempted entities under the regulations."
Apart from waste management policies, the changes are also part of the effort to phase out PFAS chemicals (including PFOA, PFOS, etc.) commonly used as ingredients in food contact materials. Companies engaged in selling, manufacturing, or distributing food and plastic container products should review if they are covered by the scope and seek alternative options such as recyclable plastic or other materials. Any noncompliant acts may lead to a fine under the Waste Minimization Act 20008.