New Zealand Container Return Scheme - Single Use Beverage Containers

Client Name
Ministry for the Environment Funded Project
New Zealand
  • Sustainable waste management


In 2019, the Associate Minister for the Environment announced the progression of the development of a container return scheme for single use beverage containers for Aotearoa New Zealand. Acknowledging the approximate forty container return schemes operating globally including the majority of states in Australia, project approval for the design of
a bespoke Aotearoa (New Zealand) Container Return Scheme (NZ CRS) was given.

The intent of the design process was to develop the best scheme based on best international practice, that was bespoke to the country and developed in alignment with social, cultural, economic and environmental scheme outcomes.

The three key aims of the project were related to changing the way the region values beverage containers, reduces the volume of plastics and other container litter ending up in our awa (waterways), moana (marine environment), wāhi tūmatanui (public spaces) and ruapara (landfills), and to give effect to ōhanga āmiomio (circular economy) outcomes and any future priority product guidelines.

To facilitate the design, a range of stakeholders were actively engaged through the project to ensure collective views and considerations were received and integrated where possible in the design of the NZ CRS.


An SLR expert was seconded to the project and had a dual role comprising Programme Manager and Lead Researcher and was responsible for day-to-day delivery, client liaison, stakeholder engagement, progress reporting and risk management as well as researching, developing and designing the bespoke NZ CRS.

To achieve this, our representative actively and collaboratively worked with a core team to establish the foundation design for consideration by Manatū Mō Te Taiao (Ministry for the Environment) and the Cabinet of New Zealand.