Government steps up action on waste - funds recycling infrastructure and expands levy scheme

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.

  • $124 million Government investment in recycling infrastructure
  • Plans confirmed to increase and expand the waste levy to divert material from landfill, and recycle revenue into resource recovery and waste minimisation
  • Innovative construction and demolition facility opened in Auckland with $3.1 million in support from Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF).

Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, made the announcement today at the Green Gorilla waste service provider in Auckland.

Green Gorilla received $3.1 million in WMF funding for a new commercial and industrial waste line, which is able to process mixed commercial and industrial waste and divert it from landfill. 

“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,” said Eugenie Sage.

“We need large scale and urgent action because much of what is currently sent to New Zealand landfills could be recycled, composted or reused.

“As part of the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) the Government is investing $124 million in a number of initiatives across the country. This will include plastic recycling and reprocessing plants, weighbridges for improved waste data collection and improved material and community resource recovery plants.

“This $124 million is a massive investment in reducing waste – about as much as the entire Waste Minimisation Fund allocation in the past decade.

“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.

“This up-front funding and investment in waste and recycling infrastructure will speed progress in filling the major gaps in our waste infrastructure while phasing in an expanded and increased waste levy.

“Expanding and increasing the waste levy is one of the best tools we have to incentivise reduced waste to landfill and prevent valuable resources from being thrown away. We are making it easier for households and businesses to do the right thing,” said Eugenie Sage.

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.

“Incredibly, New Zealand currently has one of the highest rates of waste production per capita in the developed world, punching way above our weight in the wrong direction.

“Expanding the levy will help recognise the real costs of waste, make it fairer for everyone, and incentivise materials reuse and recycling, rather than just ‘taking it to the tip’. The CRRF investment will also provide people with better options for recycling their waste.

“The proposed levy increases are likely to have a minimal impact on a family’s weekly budget. The Ministry for the Environment estimates that when fully implemented, the new levy could increase the cost of the weekly council kerbside rubbish bag by about 25c, depending on individual council decisions.

“After years of advocacy and engagement with councils and the waste sector, I am proud to announce the expansion of the national waste levy, which is key to the Government’s wider plan of reducing the ever-increasing amount of rubbish ending up in landfill.  Two previous reviews of the levy have recommended expanding and increasing the levy. This is the first Government which has implemented those recommendations.

Eugenie Sage thanked the almost 500 local councils, iwi, businesses, NGOs and individuals who made submissions during the waste levy public consultation process.

“More than 80 percent of submitters agreed the status quo needs to change, and most were broadly in support of increasing and expanding the levy.”

Expanding and increasing the waste levy will also:

  • Help reduce climate pollution (waste currently represents about 5 per cent of all New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions)
  • Make New Zealand more resilient to volatility global markets post-Covid as there will be more New Zealand-based recycling capacity.

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Green Party commits to stronger urban tree protection and no new mines on public conservation land

The Green Party is the only party in Parliament which is explicitly committing to protecting public conservation land and the indigenous plants and...
Read More

Story

Greens must be at table during RMA reform to protect environment

The Green Party welcomes Labour’s commitment to reform the Resource Management Act, but says a Green voice is crucial to ensure the environment is ...
Read More

Petition

Take action to protect our oceans

We’re taking the health of our oceans seriously and our Thriving Oceans Plan sets out exactly how the Green Party will protect them so we all can e...
TAKE ACTION

Thriving Oceans

Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet and home to thousands of taonga species, providing us with nourishing food to feed our families, supporting...
Read More

Farming for the Future

Here in Aotearoa, we can have a thriving and sustainable farming sector that is good for farmers, good for people, and good for the planet. By mak...
Read More

Story

More action on waste – Government funds recycling infrastructure, moves to standardise kerbside collections

$36.7m Government investment in high-tech recycling plants nationwide Plan to standardise and improve the nation’s kerbside collections As part o...
Read More

Latest Waste Announcements

Story

More action on waste – Government funds recycling infrastructure, moves to standardise kerbside collections

$36.7m Government investment in high-tech recycling plants nationwide Plan to standardise and improve the nation’s kerbside collections As part o...
Read More

Story

New rules for the outdoor storage of tyres

The Government is introducing environmental standards for tyres stored outdoors announced Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage. “A ...
Read More

Story

Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem p...
Read More

Story

Government to regulate environmentally harmful plastic packaging, tyres, e-waste

The Government is stepping up action to deal with environmentally harmful products – including plastic packaging, tyres and e-waste – before they b...
Read More

Story

Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes

Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361...
Read More

Story

Reducing waste and creating jobs - Minister announces 2020 Waste Minimisation Fund applications open, focus on COVID-19 recovery

Creating jobs in the vital waste reduction sector is the focus of the latest application round for the Waste Minimisation Fund, which opens today.
Read More