Plastic items and materials for phase out: detailed information

Detailed descriptions of hard-to-recycle and single-use plastics to be phased out, the intended method of phase-out, and exemptions and alternatives. This information is indicative only and subject to change.

The information below reflects the decisions Cabinet has made for proposed regulations. These decisions are still subject to refinement as we develop the proposed regulations, and subject to final Cabinet decisions on the wording of those regulations. More information on the proposed regulations will be available from early 2022.

To be phased out by late-2022

Material/item   Description  Common examples Intended policy Not in scope or possible exemptions Potential alternatives

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) meat trays

A PVC meat tray is a flat, shallow container with a raised rim, made primarily from polyvinyl chloride plastic, used to package or contain meat for sale.

 

  To stop the use of PVC meat trays. Not applicable Clear PET (1) including recycled PET (rPET)

Rigid polystyrene (PS) takeaway packaging

   

Rigid polystyrene takeaway packaging is a single-use container (either with lids, without lids, or clamshell), plate, bowl or cup made from rigid polystyrene, used to contain food and carry it from the point of sale for consumption.

 

 

Sushi trays To stop the use of rigid polystyrene food and beverage packaging used in the hospitality sector. Polystyrene cup lids Reusable or paper and fibre-based alternatives, and other recyclable plastic alternatives (eg PET (1) and Polypropylene (5))

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage packaging including takeaway containers

 

Expanded polystyrene food and beverage packaging is a container (either with lids, without lids, or clamshell) plate, bowl or cup made from expanded polystyrene, which is used to contain food and carry it from the point of sale for consumption.

 

Styrofoam noodle cup

Foamed cups and containers

To stop the use of food and beverage packaging made from expanded polystyrene packaging including takeaway containers. EPS bins used in cold-chain supply lines PET (1)

Polypropylene (5)

Reusable or paper and fiber-based alternatives, and other recyclable plastic alternatives

Degradable plastic products (eg, oxo- and photo-degradable) 

 

 

A degradable plastic is a material made of plastic which includes pro-degradant additives to accelerate the fragmentation of the material into smaller pieces.

Dog poo bags, bin liners, straws, cups and takeaway packaging, clothing packaging To stop the use of degradable plastic products including oxo- and photo-degradable.  Not applicable These products can be replaced by any other conventional plastic or other non-plastic and reusable alternatives

Plastic drink stirrers

 
A drink stirrer is a short plastic stick used to stir drinks made partly or wholly of any type of plastic including degradable, biodegradable, and compostable plastics.     To stop the use of all plastic drink stirrers.  Not applicable Not always required, wooden stirrers or metal spoons
Plastic stemmed cotton-buds A plastic stemmed cotton-bud is a small rod made wholly or partly of any type of plastic including degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics, with cotton wrapped around one or both ends; not designed or intended for reuse.    To stop the use of cotton-buds with a plastic stem.  Medical or scientific uses Stems made from paper or bamboo

To be phased out by mid-2023

Material/item Description  Intended policy Not in scope or possible exemptions Potential alternatives

Plastic produce bags

A single-use plastic produce bag is a lightweight bag under 70 microns thick without handles made from any type of plastic including degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics, and used for the purpose of carrying fruit or vegetables from the point of sale. To stop the use of single-use plastic produce bags. Pre-packaged produce bags Reusable bag  

Plastic tableware (plates/bowls/cutlery)

  

Plastic tableware includes plates, bowls, trays and cutlery designed for single-use and made primarily of any type of plastic including degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics and sold for the purpose of eating food. Cutlery includes any utensil that can be used to eat food – spoons, forks, knives, sporks, splayds and chopsticks.

 

To stop the use of plastic tableware including plates, bowls, trays and cutlery which are designed to be used once or a limited number of times before being thrown away, including bulk-packs. Plastic bowls made with attached lids. Plastic lined paper alternatives Reusable tableware, paper, cardboard or bamboo alternatives
Plastic straws

 

Plastic straws are thin tubes used to suck liquid into the mouth made wholly or partly of any type of plastic including degradable, biodegradable, and compostable plastics; not designed or intended for reuse. To stop the use of plastic straws. We will work with the disability community before regulations are made to ensure there will be access to plastic straws for those that need them No straw, reusable metal, bamboo or silicon straw, edible straw or paper straws
Non-home compostable produce labels

 

A non-compostable produce label made from plastic is a label on fruit or vegetables sold in New Zealand, and made partly or primarily of plastic which is not certified as home compostable. To stop the use of compostable produce labels that are unable to be composted at home.  Not applicable Home compostable label or no label

 

 

To be phased out by mid-2025

Material/item 

Description 

Common examples Intended policy Not in scope or possible exemptions Potential alternatives

All other PVC food and beverage packaging

 

 

PVC food and beverage packaging is a tray, container (either with a lid or without a lid), packet, bowl, cup, film or wrap sold as packaging that contains food and beverage products or with the purpose of containing food and beverage products for sale and made from polyvinyl chloride.

 

Some biscuit trays and containers To stop the use of food and beverage packaging that is primarily made from polyvinyl chloride sold either full or empty. Not applicable

PET and Polypropylene plastics, which are recyclable

Other alternatives may include glass, cardboard or reusable/refillable packaging

All other polystyrene food and beverage packaging

 

 

Polystyrene food and beverage packaging is a tray, container (either with a lid or without a lid), packet, bowl or cup sold as packaging that contains food and beverage products or with the purpose of containing food and beverage products and is made from rigid polystyrene including high-impact polystyrene.

 

Yoghurt and some dairy pottles To stop the use of food and beverage packaging that is primarily made from rigid polystyrene packaging sold either full or empty. Not applicable

PET and Polypropylene plastics, which are recyclable

Other alternatives may include glass, cardboard or reusable/refillable packaging

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  • the information does not alter the laws of New Zealand, other official guidelines, or requirements.
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