3R Group Chief Executive Adele Rose.

3R Group Chief Executive Adele Rose was invited as one of the speakers at Government’s announcement of six products as priority products on 29 July. Below is her speech:

Good afternoon all, thank you Minister Sage for the invitation to speak today, and our hosts for accommodating us.

For taking the steps that have been announced today, I’d like to acknowledge the Coalition Government, Minister Sage and the team at the Ministry for the Environment.  In my role as CE of 3R Group, I have worked with many of you at MfE for well over 13 years, and I know that this moment means as much to your team as it does to ours.

Congratulations to the ANZRP/TechCollect and NZ based e-Waste team here today, I could not think of a better combination of experienced stewardship providers combined with New Zealand representation to finally deliver a regulated stewardship framework for e-waste for us all. 

We’re right behind you.

I’m speaking to you today wearing a few different hats; 3R Group design and deliver product stewardship programmes for industry.  We have been doing this since 2004, and we are involved in some way with most of the products that have been declared as priority products today. 

Today marks a game changer in NZ’s history of resource recovery using the tools available to us within the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. 

The founders of 3R had a vision that product stewardship was the future for responsible resource recovery, and launched the not-for-profit trust, the product stewardship foundation, to incubate stewardship schemes in development for industry – a platform where competitors can be bought together and be led through a process compliant with the Commerce Act.

When people ask us how 3R came about, the story always starts with “well it all started with two men in a shed with a pile of paint packaging and agricultural chemical containers, a gem of an idea with industry representatives who wanted to step up and take responsibility – the rest is history”.

Amongst the industry groups 3R has worked with over the past few years, assisting them as they design a framework for regulated stewardship, in focus today are the tyre and synthetic refrigerants industry.

It has been a journey of persistence and perseverance – bringing the often competing and sometimes disparate supply chain stakeholders along for the journey as we enable them to develop their regulated framework.

For all of us around the table, this has meant exercising our two ears more times than our one mouth so that industry led solutions can play out for genuine discussion.

Inappropriate disposal of end of life tyres have been in the news for years. 

Recently, we were presented with footage of tyre fires from uncontained tyre dumps.  Forced to use ratepayers money, Territorial Local Authorities and Local Councils have paid out many many millions of dollars to clean ups tyre stockpiles, fight tyre fires and remediate illegal dumps.   Meanwhile, environmental fees paid by consumers when they changed their tyres did not always find their way to cover the cost of recycling the tyre. 

Today, the decision to declare tyres as a priority product and placing that advanced disposal fee at point of import, means the end is in sight.

Tyrewise is an industry led co-designed regulated product stewardship solution.  Since 2012, the industry insisted that to future proof the outcomes for end of life tyres, a regulated solution was required.  They stuck to their vision that without regulation, there was little that the industry could do should some of the supply chain not participate within a voluntary framework.

So, in part thanks to tyre stewardship being one of the commitments of the coalition government agreement, we have seen this finally come to pass here today. 

Congratulations to the tyre industry, you are now on the pathway to realise recovery of the resource that is embedded in end of life tyres and stop making the front-page news. 

For consumers, when you get a tyre changed at your friendly tyre retailer, you will be assured that the advanced disposal fee will actually be used to send your old tyre for recycling, and know that what you have paid for, will happen.  And if it doesn’t, we now have enforcement mechanisms to fall back on.

And, you can be sure that whether you live in Kaitaia or Bluff, the amount you pay will be the same wherever you live.  That is one of the hallmarks of a regulated product stewardship solution – fair and equitable for all throughout the supply chain – including consumers.

Synthetic Greenhouse Gases have also been declared a priority product today. 

Since 1993, Not for profit trust RECOVERY have delivered a voluntary stewardship solution for their industry.  Knowing that their product was likely to be declared a priority, they set about bringing their industry together to transition their voluntary framework in preparation for a regulated one. 

A working group was established that represented the interests of the refrigeration/air conditioning industry, automotive air conditioning sector of the motor trade industry, wholesalers of refrigerants to industry, the chemical companies who manufacture and distribute refrigerants, together with the dairy industry and the retail grocers association.

3R led this group through a process over the past 18 months.  No one would say it was easy, but we got there! 

It is counter-intuitive to unstitch a voluntary solution that on the face of it today is still effective, but when looking to the future, not as effective as it could be, and reframe this voluntary approach to ensure that it captured all of the product within scope, and that it delivered fair and reasonable, and environmentally sound outcomes for those impacted. 

Once again, as consumers we can be confident that when it comes time to recycle your aging fridge or have your car’s air-conditioning re-gassed, that silent and unseen product will be captured and recycled or disposed of appropriately eliminating damage to the ozone layer. 

There’s a catch however, as gas is unseen and we feel the effects of its mis-management years ahead, this solution will only work if we all play our part – from bulk importers to installers, service people and recyclers.

Congratulations to the RECOVERY stewardship programme for the insight to solve a future problem for all of us.

In closing, I want to briefly acknowledge other industry groups that we are working with; the packaging industry and their customers are racing headlong into significant change – whatever product we might consume – whether it be oil for our machinery and vehicles or the packaged lollies we buy with our groceries – today, we are all on notice that we must think about the way we use our resources more carefully.  As industry and as consumers, we must demand circular solutions, we must reduce the use of raw materials and we must find and support onshore solutions to capture the embedded resources in our packaging waste streams for our economic and environmental benefit.

My final call out is for industry to be courageous.  No one is saying it will be easy, but the outcomes benefit us all and our future generations, long after we are gone.  Industry, its your time to take a lead.

Industry led co-designed product stewardship solutions will endure.

Whether they are have to be regulated or are voluntary. 

As the importers, manufacturers and distributors of products, industry is responsible for providing solutions for capture of their products at end of life, and it is for this reason that industry is incentivised to be truly circular. 

Ngā mihi nui