Waste reduction

Responsibility for the whole life of a product needs to be shared across the supply chain.

At the landfill Redwin Law CC By 2.0

Waste production continues to grow year on year, despite the efforts of the waste industry and other parts of the supply chain to improve the recovery of products and materials that have reached the end of their usefulness. Consumption of virgin material continues to accelerate in response to the single-use, throwaway culture, that underpins current economic activity.

In an attempt to address the increasing amounts of waste being generated, the New Zealand Government has signalled its intention to introduce mandatory Product Stewardship. This policy intervention is intended to reset market behaviour. Mandatory Product Stewardship envisages a new set of trading relationships that share responsibility for how we manage waste.

Alec McNeil has been involved in the waste space since the 1990s, in both the public and private sectors. His research for a Doctor of Professional Practice degree explored how Mandatory Product Stewardship is being received by those with an interest in its impact. To achieve optimum outcomes, Alec's overarching recommendations are:

  1. Definitions of waste related terminology and waste management practices need to be distinct and unambiguous.
  2. All supply chain participants need to work together to maximise the usefulness of all materials used in the production and consumption cycles of economic activity.
  3. Independent facilitation services must work to achieve consensus.
  4. Current trading relationships within the economic system must be recalibrated for consistency and collaboration.
  5. The underpinning framework of Product Stewardship must focus on beneficial outcomes for New Zealand society.

May 2022

Image credit: Redwin Law. Creative Commons Attribution licence CC BY 2.0

Published on 03 May 2023