New Zealand’s waste policies are stuck in the 19th century as ever-rising levels of rubbish are dumped to landfill instead of systems fit for the 21st century of more and better recycling and possibly waste incineration, a leading environmental law expert says.
Waikato’s Professor Al Gillespie told the ICUN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium held at Waikato University last week that New Zealand is struggling to find sustainable, long-term waste solutions despite years of rhetoric about how clean and green we are.
He says we only recycle what is easy and go out of our way to avoid solutions that have proven successful in other countries, such as controlling waste streams such as plastic bags.
“If you live in a country like Japan or in some parts of Europe, you have to make different choices and that’s why they have opted for new methods based on the highest technological and corporate standards. These new methods are the way of the future but not what we are doing at the moment,” he said.