Why waste minimisation is important

Every year, New Zealanders send around 2.5 million tonnes of waste to landfill that is over a tonne of rubbish per household. The majority of this waste is not reprocessed or recycled, and doesn’t break down over time.

Disposing of waste at landfills is a sign that we’re not using our resources efficiently, and are contributing directly to pollution.

To improve the environmental future of New Zealand, we need to start taking responsibility for the waste we produce by finding more effective and efficient ways to reduce, reuse, recycle or reprocess it.

On 25 September 2008, the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 (the Act) was introduced to ‘encourage waste minimisation and decrease waste disposal in New Zealand’. Under the Act, a $10 per tonne levy (excluding GST) on all waste disposed of to landfill was imposed from 1 July 2009.

Significant progress has been made on managing and reducing waste in New Zealand (see progress and outcomes) but there is still more to be done. There are, and always will be, challenges in better managing waste in New Zealand.

Last updated: 31 January 2011