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Product stewardship

Product stewardship schemes are a ‘cradle to grave’ tool that helps reduce the environmental impact of manufactured products. In product stewardship schemes, producers, brand owners, importers, retailers, consumers and other parties accept responsibility for the environmental effects of their products – from the time they are produced until they are disposed of.

New Zealand already has a number of existing product stewardships schemes, all voluntary and industry-led, and would like to encourage more.

Product stewardship scheme participants take responsibility for the environmental effects of their products and take these costs into account when making decisions about the production, purchase and disposal of their products.

This means more efficient and responsible use of resources, rather than dealing with the waste problem at the point the product is thrown away.

Existing schemes in New Zealand focus on products including:

Current issues

There have been concerns about ‘freeriding’ by businesses that are benefiting from the programmes but are not contributing.

These concerns have reduced the impact of existing schemes and restricted the number of new schemes that have been able to be developed.

The Government is working on legislation to enable it to support product stewardship schemes, especially for products that cause particular environmental harm or pose disposal problems.

Experience with existing schemes, previous consultation on product stewardship and stakeholder views on the Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill is informing this work.

More information

For more information on waste management issues, see our waste web pages.

For more information about product stewardship, please contact

Last updated: 17 August 2007