Hazardous wastes

Hazardous waste comes from many sources - industry, small businesses, school laboratories, households to name a few. A waste is considered hazardous if it poses a risk to people or the environment if it is not properly managed, stored, transported and disposed of.

For several years the Ministry for the Environment has been working towards a national hazardous wastes policy with the objective of seeing that this policy framework was in place by the end of 2005. This is the target established in the New Zealand Waste Strategy. The policy framework outlines the regulatory and non-regulatory tools of hazardous waste management.

Significant work has already been done to ensure the policy framework is comprehensive, and it was first published in December 2005. The policy framework was presented to the Ministry’s Hazardous Waste Advisory Group in February 2006. The group has indicated support of the policy approach taken. Some elements still under development, such as an effective waste tracking scheme, are progressing well.

Some of the specific elements or tools contributing to the management of hazardous wastes include:

The policy framework was updated again in June 2006 to reflect recent changes, in particular the recent amendment to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act which created a new approval mechanism known as group standards. A group standard can be established for a group of hazardous substances (or hazardous wastes) that are of a similar nature or type, or have similar circumstances of use. The risks posed by substances (or wastes) in a group standard will be managed by a similar set of conditions.

Last updated: 17 September 2007