15 Jul 2020

Plans to reduce waste released by government

11:49 am on 15 July 2020

The levy rate for landfills that take household waste will increase over four years from $10 a tonne to $60, and council rubbish bags will cost about 25 cents more.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage says China's National Sword initiative had been a wake-up call that government needed to deal with waste in New Zealand.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

The first changes to the levy will start from 1 July 2021.

Landfills that take waste other than household rubbish, including construction and demolition fills, will also start paying a levy.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said the expanded levy would help recognise the real costs of waste with only "minimal" impact on a family's weekly budget.

A $124 million investment will go towards recycling infrastructure such as plastic recycling and reprocessing plants.

"Rubbish disposal to New Zealand's municipal landfills increased by a staggering 48 percent in the last 10 years. We can't allow this situation to continue," Sage said.

The investment was about as much as the entire Waste Minimisation Fund allocation in the past decade, she said.

She said it the system would also result in hundreds of permanent jobs.

"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."

Almost 500 submissions were made by local councils, iwi, businesses, NGOs and individuals during the 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."

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