10 Jul 2018

Vanuatu analysing next stage of plastics ban

11:54 am on 10 July 2018

Vanuatu's foreign minister says a national audit currently underway will help determine the next stages of the country's plastics ban.

A discarded plastic rubbish bag floats on a  coral reef

A discarded plastic rubbish bag floats on a coral reef Photo: 123RF

Ralph Regenvanu said the audit would also examine ways of reducing plastic use, recycling and alternative materials.

It followed the first stage of a ban this month on single-use plastic shopping bags, polystyrene takeaway boxes and plastic straws.

Mr Regenvanu said Foreign Affairs was the lead agency on this as it forms part of the National Oceans Policy.

He said the ultimate goal is to eliminate all single-use plastics going into the ocean.

"There's going to be a number of options. There are some items we can obviously ban outright like we did with the three items we just banned. But then of course there's options for container return, return and deposit schemes.

"That's seems to be something that is very successful in other jurisdictions. Having a levy which is charged and then people get given a refund for the return of a particular item."

Vanuatu water bottler hopes for import levy

Meanwhile, a water bottling company in Vanuatu said it is hoping for environmental policies from the government that encourage local industry.

A partner in the bottling company Azure Blue, Yael Sakker said anything further that can be done to limit plastic imports and encourage local manufacturing is a good thing for Vanuatu.

"There is more incentive for local manufacturers to look after their own back yard than there is for imported brands like Perrier, Evian, Coca Cola, who don't live here in Vanuatu. This isn't their back, this is not their immediate environment."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs