A company that specialises in diverting waste from landfill, and turning waste into a resource, says renewed calls for refunds on empty bottles are off the mark.
The focus should be on products with no current recycling options, not products that already achieve relatively high recycling rates.
"New Zealand should be focused on other products which unnecessarily end up in landfill despite international examples of recycling success, such as tyres," 3R Group chief executive Adele Rose said.
3R Group was the project leader for Tyrewise, an initiative that gained widespread industry support for creating a programme diverting a significant portion of the four million passenger and one million truck and bus tyres going to landfill every year to recycling.
"The government has been resistant to the idea of an industry-backed request for mandatory product stewardship for tyres, despite similar schemes in Canada, South Africa and Australia having proven recycling rates between 90 and 100 per cent," Ms Rose said.
"Why spend time and energy trying to get mandatory stewardship for plastic and glass bottles, which have existing recycling pathways, when there are so many other products that would benefit from our focus?"
New Zealand already achieved a 73 per cent collection rate for waste glass, but countless other products were still going to landfill when they could be reused or "repurposed."
3R was currently working with industry around recycling options for the estimated 300,000 mattresses dumped every year in New Zealand.
"Our work shows that more than 90 per cent of mattress materials by weight can be recovered and reused or recycled, instead of going to landfill, where they create headaches for operators and are a waste of valuable resources.
We should use our collective energy to tackle everyday items like tyres, e-waste and many other common products."