As the end of 2023 looms nearer, it’s easy to wonder where the last 12 months have gone. It might seem like a flash since my introductory article in the February newsletter, but we’ve squeezed a lot into that time! Safe to say, it’s been a good year for our Circular Economy programme - read on to review the highlights!


CircularConnectCC advert

Our CircularConnect co-funding closes in June 2024, meaning six more months to support projects! 

Over the last year we have seen eight phase 1 and four phase 2 projects through to completion. Project scope has varied broadly from packaging audits to product redesign. Notable projects have included the IP Plastics oversized PP take back scheme, Juvenates packaging redesign to enhance recyclability, and Greenlea’s packaging downgauging to decrease waste plastic volumes.

We strongly advise companies seeking to advance their plastics circularity to make use of the funding while they still can! Reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.

Lids and Caps

Logo Good CapsOne of my first tasks as Circular Economy Manager was to review the Good Caps pilot findings report. This highlighted the challenges surrounding kerbside lids and caps collection, and the substantial volume of material that would be lost from the circular economy if not addressed.

The Good Caps initiative was successful in collecting three tonnes of material in the Hawkes Bay over 10 weeks and left us wondering how much more could be collected through a well-advertised nationwide scheme.

The Good Caps pilot finding report was submitted to the ministry in April. Since then, it was announced that lids and caps will be excluded from kerbside recycling when the national kerbside standardisation comes into effect in February 2024. Stakeholders engaged with the Good Caps programme were keen to commence further work to ensure valuable materials are diverted from Landfill.

With lids and caps including both plastic and metal material, The Packaging Forum took ownership of leading the development of a new lids and caps collection scheme. Plastics NZ have continued to engage to support this schemes development and comms will be shared with members as the work progresses.

EPS Packaging

Protective packagingOur 2022, EPS Phase Out working group reported not only where the material could be removed or replaced, but how product stewardship could support circularity for products that will still require EPS for the foreseeable future. This year, a follow up group progressed towards designing what EPS product stewardship might look like.

The project has tracked well towards key milestones including mapping EPS packaging material flow, developing estimates around volumes of material within NZ, understanding global EPS recovery and recycling practices, and analysing which of these are feasible within Aotearoa.

With a good cross section of industry players involved in the work, we have a good understanding of the challenges faced along the value chain. Moving into 2024, we plan to facilitate trials to combat some of these challenges.

C&D Plastics

recycling aucklands construction and demolition waste 3Our construction and demolition (C&D) plastics working group kicked off in the second half of the year. Data from previous research supported us in quickly narrowing our scope to cataloguing the applications, sources, post use options, and waste hierarchy opportunities for EPS, soft plastics, and PVC/HDPE pipes and fittings.

With three subgroups each focusing on one of these material types, work has begun to identify the current state of each plastic. Within the next six months, we aim to generate a material flow diagram showing both current state, and possible opportunities to improve circularity.




 For more info on any of the projects mentioned, please reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.