Government steps up action on waste

As part of a broader plan to reduce the increasing amount of rubbish ending up in New Zealand’s landfills, the Government is to fund new recycling infrastructure and expand the national waste levy scheme.

Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage said “New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation. Yet rubbish disposal to New Zealand’s municipal landfills increased by a staggering 48 per cent in the last ten years. We can’t allow this situation to continue.”

“Increased investment in waste minimisation and resource recovery infrastructure will ensure New Zealand emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic with a far better resource recovery and recycling system, creating hundreds of permanent jobs and incomes across New Zealand.

The Government has decided to:

  • Level the playing field by expanding the waste levy to cover additional landfill types, including construction and demolition fills (progressively from 1 July 2022). At present the waste levy only applies to municipal landfills that take household waste, with no levy on the remaining almost 90 percent of landfills throughout the country.
  • Progressively increase over four years the levy rate for landfills that take household waste from the current $10 per tonne – set in 2009 – to $60 per tonne. The current plan is for first changes to the levy to take effect from 1 July 2021. Current economic conditions will be considered before implementation timelines are confirmed later this year.
  • Collect better data about the waste we are creating, and how we are disposing of it, so ensuring our waste can be better managed.
  • Invest the additional revenue from the waste levy in initiatives that support waste reduction, such as building New Zealand-based recycling infrastructure. This includes helping businesses such as Green Gorilla, which takes construction, commercial and industrial waste materials and re-purposes them so they are not thrown away.