Foxes Guarding the Hen House?

Industry-led design of product stewardship schemes

Authors

  • Hannah Blumhardt

Keywords:

product stewardship, zero waste, circular economy, industry capture

Abstract

For the first time since the enactment of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, New Zealand is applying regulated (or mandatory) product stewardship to several priority products. By making those who manufacture, sell and use products responsible for minimising the waste those products cause, well-designed product stewardship schemes can act as a critical tool in the transition to a circular economy. However, the New Zealand government has put its faith in industry to lead scheme design. Such an approach threatens to vitiate robust, ambitious schemes and foreground industry interests over those of wider society and the natural environment. This article juxtaposes the radical potential of product stewardship against the probable outcome of industry-led schemes, and recommends reforms that the minister for the environment should pursue in order to shift the dial towards more inclusive design of product stewardship schemes.

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Published

2021-05-18