The New Zealand government has passed legislation that will restrict a wide range of plastic products to be sold in New Zealand, including non-compostable produce stickers. Produce stickers for domestically-produced fruit and vegetables in New Zealand are required to be compostable by 2023, while imported produce will need to have compostable stickers by mid-2025.
Groups affected by the regulations
The regulations will apply to any individual, business, or retailer who sells (including suppliers) or manufactures any of the targeted plastic item(s) in New Zealand. This includes:
- Businesses selling the prohibited plastics (this includes providing them for free)
- Hospitality businesses providing these products
The government plans to place restrictions on non-compostable produce stickers (including fresh fruit) based on a two phased roll out. This will start with a mandate for domestically produced fruits and vegetables in 2023, and then in mid-2025 will include a requirement for imported produce. The aim of this later requirement for imported produce is to allow suppliers time to prepare their systems to change to a compostable sticker by 2025. Compostable stickers on produce exported from New Zealand are not included in the regulations.
For the mandate on domestic produce in 2023, the government is providing a transitional period until mid-2025 to help producers meet the deadlines by requiring:
1) Functional purpose labels only (country of origin, PLU, database, brand authentication, variety identification).
2) Minimum of industrial compostable certification.
3) Permit hybrid home compostable technologies where the entire construction may not be home compostable, but a majority is.
4) Permit the use of fully home compostable products that are still in the process of achieving final certification.
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