Major PGF investment to help address NZ’s plastics challenges

  • Hon Shane Jones
  • Hon Eugenie Sage
Environment Regional Economic Development

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest in projects to tackle waste in New Zealand, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage have announced today.

The Ministers are marking the start of plastic free July by announcing a $40 million allocation from the PGF as part of the Wellbeing Budget.

“The funding will be used to invest in projects that convert waste, including plastic waste, into materials and products useful to businesses and consumers,” Shane Jones said. 

“The volume of waste going to landfills has increased by 20 per cent since 2008 and it is time we increased our support for ways of reducing this flow of material. A high proportion of this waste, particularly recyclable plastic waste, has other uses and can be converted into new products,” Shane Jones said.

Eugenie Sage said as a country, we have been sending our waste offshore for too long.

“China and other countries refusing to take our waste is the wake-up call we need. I’m proud to be part of a Government that is investing in building the infrastructure to improve materials recovery, and create more business opportunities and jobs,” Eugenie Sage said.

“Tonnes of plastic, fibre, organic materials, e-waste and construction materials are currently going to landfill as waste. If more materials are recovered and re-used here in New Zealand, we can help our economy shift from its current ‘take, make and waste’ approach to one that designs waste out of production,” said Eugenie Sage.

Shane Jones said Ministers have asked officials to seek out investment-ready proposals of significant scale in regional locations close to our main urban centres where much of the plastic waste is generated.

“We’re looking for projects where resource consents that allow waste processing are already in place and where any construction of processing capacity could get underway before the end of 2020,” he said.

“We will engage with the sector over the coming weeks on the PGF investment. We are particularly interested in hearing from those with experience in the plastics recovery and recycling sector about potential projects and other actions the Government can take to improve management of plastics and other problem waste streams,” he said.

“We are also interested in possible commercial partnerships with Māori,” he said.

“This Government is committed to cleaning up New Zealand’s record on waste. We know New Zealanders want less waste, and to manage the waste we do create better,” Eugenie Sage said.