The government is proposing bringing in new regulatory powers, strategy to drastically cut down the amount of rubbish going to landfill over the next three decades.
A consultation document out today is seeking feedback on a new national waste strategy.
Minister of Environment David Parker said the government was committed to building a low carbon, circular economy.
Parker said the proposed strategy sought to get recycling systems working well, stimulate innovation for long-term change and remediate past damage.
"The strategy will also set targets to reduce total waste volumes, methane emissions from waste and litter by 2030," Parker said.
New Zealand was among the highest generators of waste per capita in the developed world, with each person on average sending 750 kilograms to landfill a year.
In 2019, waste contributed to about 4 percent of New Zealand's total greenhouse gas emissions.
Suggestions in the document included the right to return packaging to businesses, and legal requirements to support products lasting longer or being able to be repaired.
The Green Party said anything less than a transformational national waste strategy and waste legislation would not be enough.
Its waste spokesperson, Eugenie Sage, said to tackle the climate crisis the country needed to think about waste completely differently from the old fashioned approach that successive governments had encouraged.
"We need to go from an economy that is inefficient and degenerative by design to one that is regenerative by design. We need to think about waste as something to avoid, not something to send to the landfill," Sage said.
"Whether it's food scraps from home, or construction waste from building new homes, most of what we use should be able to be repaired or the component materials recovered and transformed back into the same or better products."
Submissions close on 26 November.