Plastic products now banned (tranche 1)

  • PVC food trays and containers* (plastic type #3) 
  • Polystyrene takeaway food and drink packaging (plastic type #6) 
  • Expanded polystyrene food and drink packaging (plastic type #6) 
  • Plastic with pro-degradant additives, eg oxo and photo degradable plastics (subset of plastic type #7) 
  • Plastic drink stirrers (all plastic types)
  • Plastic stemmed cotton buds (all plastic types)

*The scope is limited to pre-formed trays used for produce, baked goods and meat.

For more information see:

Plastic products to be phased out on 1 July 2023 (tranche 2)

Single-use:

  • Plastic produce bags
  • Plastic plates, bowls and cutlery
  • Plastic straws*

The use of plastic, non-compostable produce labels will start to change. From 1 July 2023, labels on domestically grown produce intended for the New Zealand market must have a label that is more compostable. Industry is working towards developing a fully home compostable label by mid-2025.

*Supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitality businesses and health and disability services will still be able to provide plastic straws on request to people with a disability or health condition.

For more information see:

Plastic products to be phased out from mid-2025 (tranche 3)

  • All other PVC and polystyrene food and drink packaging

For more information see:

Plastic products banned from mid 2025

plastic phaseout
Illustration showing plastic items and materials being phased out across the three tranches.

plastic phaseout
Illustration showing plastic items and materials being phased out across the three tranches.

Why we are phasing out these plastics

Plastic is one of our greatest environmental challenges. It regularly ends up as waste in our landfills, our moana and whenua. Hard-to-recycle packaging and products can interfere with our recycling systems and are often used only once before being disposed of. 

Shifting away from hard-to-recycle and single-use plastics will help reduce plastic waste, improve our recycling systems and protect our environment. This shift is also part of a wider ambition to move Aotearoa New Zealand towards a low-emissions, low-waste economy.

Phase-out decisions follow public consultation

The Government consulted publicly on its phase-out proposals in 2020. This was part of a broader response to the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand report released by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor in 2019.

We received close to 8,000 submissions during the consultation. Most were in support of the proposals. There was a high level of response from the general public, affected businesses, environmental and community groups, and local government agencies.

Read the summary of submissions we received

Read the individual submissions we received

Read a summary of the proposals we consulted on 

Read Rethinking plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand

About the timing of the phase-outs

Items that are easier to replace are being phased out sooner than those that are more challenging to replace. This approach strikes a balance between public feedback for fast action and providing businesses with adequate time to prepare.

Providing information early on the phase-outs allows time for businesses and the public to adjust (eg, use up old stock, make changes to product lines and find suitable alternatives).

Alternatives to items being phased out

Practical alternatives are readily available for some of the items and plastic types being phased out. Many businesses and individuals have already made changes. Alternatives may include reusable items (eg, metal spoons or reusable containers), non-plastic alternatives or easier to recycle plastics (such as types 1, 2 and 5) instead of PVC and polystyrene packaging.

Compostable and bio-based plastic alternatives

Bio-based and compostable plastics have emerged as alternatives to some traditional plastics. Compostable alternatives often require processing in a commercial composting facility to break down. These are not available everywhere in Aotearoa New Zealand. In general, bio-based plastics behave in a similar way to conventional plastics and will not degrade in the same way as their original source material. If these plastics become litter they can harm wildlife in the same way as conventional fossil fuel plastic products.

The phase out of drink stirrers, plastic-stemmed cotton buds, plastic produce bags, plastic plates, bowls and cutlery and plastic straws extends to all types of plastic including compostable and bio-based plastics.

We encourage businesses looking for alternatives to the hard-to-recycle plastics being phased out to consider reusable or recyclable alternatives in the first instance.

Read the Ministry’s position statement on compostable products

Identifying plastic types

The illustration below shows the different types of plastic and how recyclable they are in Aotearoa New Zealand. Plastic types are usually identifiable by a small number inside an arrow triangle.

resin code fact sheet v3

Plastic resin identification code – quick reference guide

      Common products of each category
Easier to recycle      
  Plastic type 1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  • water bottles
  • fizzy drink bottles
   Plastic type 2 High-density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • milk bottles
  • shampoo bottles
  • laundry detergent containers
Difficult to recycle      
   Plastic type 3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • vinyl
  • tubing/pipe
  • biscuit trays
  • commercial cling wrap
Possible to recycle      
  Plastic type 4

Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE)

  • soft plastic products
  • bread bags
  • squeeze bottles
  • plastic film
 Easier to recycle      
  Plastic type 5  Polypropylene (PP)
  •  most temperature resistant containers
  • takeaway containers
  • ice-cream tubs
Difficult to recycle      
  Plastic type 6 Polystyrene (PS) 
  • yoghurt pots (six-packs)
  • solo cups and CD cases
  • expanded polystyrene cups (eg, styrofoam)
  Plastic type 7 All other plastics
  • toys
  • compostable packaging (eg, Polyactic Acid)
  • sippy cups
  • CDs/DVDs and lenses
resin code fact sheet v3

Plastic resin identification code – quick reference guide

      Common products of each category
Easier to recycle      
  Plastic type 1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  • water bottles
  • fizzy drink bottles
   Plastic type 2 High-density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • milk bottles
  • shampoo bottles
  • laundry detergent containers
Difficult to recycle      
   Plastic type 3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • vinyl
  • tubing/pipe
  • biscuit trays
  • commercial cling wrap
Possible to recycle      
  Plastic type 4

Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE)

  • soft plastic products
  • bread bags
  • squeeze bottles
  • plastic film
 Easier to recycle      
  Plastic type 5  Polypropylene (PP)
  •  most temperature resistant containers
  • takeaway containers
  • ice-cream tubs
Difficult to recycle      
  Plastic type 6 Polystyrene (PS) 
  • yoghurt pots (six-packs)
  • solo cups and CD cases
  • expanded polystyrene cups (eg, styrofoam)
  Plastic type 7 All other plastics
  • toys
  • compostable packaging (eg, Polyactic Acid)
  • sippy cups
  • CDs/DVDs and lenses

Next steps

  • Now the regulations for the 2023 phase-outs (tranche 2) have been published we are preparing for their implementation.
  • Drafting the regulations under the Waste Minimisation Act for the mid-2025 phase-outs (tranche 3)

Contact

If you have questions contact the plastic phase-out team at plastics@mfe.govt.nz

Further information