The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Wellington distillery calls for more support to tackle sustainability

The Bond Store – New Zealand’s only distillery to operate a bottle recycling scheme – is calling on local and central government to provide better support to small businesses innovating to reduce waste and emissions.

The Bond Store operates a bottle recycling scheme, collecting its own used bottles from cafes, restaurants and bars, which are then sanitised, refilled and returned to customers.

The bottles are used up to seven times before they’re eventually recycled.

Since 2019, thousands of bottles have gone through their scheme, resulting in significant savings and reduction in waste – for both the business and its customers.

The Bond Store co-founders Chris Barber and Bec Kay say small businesses like theirs are driving much of the innovation to address climate change with little to no additional support from councils or the government.

Barber says most of the innovation occurring in sustainability is being driven from the ground up – by business owners.

“While we don’t support the now deferred container recycling scheme, it sent an important signal to consumers and showed commitment to reduce waste,” he says.

“As a small business, we’re getting on and doing it ourselves. We’ve designed and run a smart solution that saves money and reduces waste.

“It’s time the engine house of New Zealand – SMEs – had more support at both local and national levels to support work and initiatives already happening to address sustainability.”

The Bond Store is also calling on the government to address how it indexes excise tax, adjusted annually for inflation.

From 1 July 2023, it’s projected to increase by a minimum of 7%, in line with inflation.

“Currently, distillers pay $60.55 per litre of alcohol, and the projected increase will place additional pressure on small businesses like ours, which are also dealing with supply issues and increasing costs,” says Barber.

He says that recognising initiatives like our bottle swap scheme and providing rebates for projects like this would provide immediate, much-needed relief.

“Many passionate small businesses are working hard to create jobs while tackling critical issues like sustainability.

“Coordinated and cohesive support for these businesses – from both levels of government – will enable them to build on the significant impact they’re already having in communities all over the country and their contribution to reducing New Zealand’s emissions and waste.”

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