About the waste disposal levy

This page explains the levy, its purpose and administration costs.

What is the waste disposal levy?

The levy is $10 per tonne (excluding GST) on all waste sent to landfill. The levy was introduced under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. 

Disposal facility operators must pay the levy based on the weight of material disposed of at their facility. However they may pass this cost on to the waste producer such as households and businesses.

A conservative approach was taken to setting the levy amount so it:

  • is less likely to result in behaviour such as illegal dumping
  • reduces the impact on businesses and households
  • reduces the risk of inefficient spending of the revenue
  • allows the effects, both positive and negative, resulting from the levy to be assessed.

What is subject to the levy?

Any waste that is disposed of at a waste disposal facility as defined under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 [New Zealand Legislation website]. 

The purpose of the levy

The levy encourages New Zealanders to start taking responsibility for the waste they produce and to find more effective and efficient ways to reduce, reuse, recycle or reprocess waste.

It also creates funding opportunities for waste minimisation initiatives. 

The levy funds waste minimisation activities

Half of the levy money goes to territorial authorities (city and district councils) to spend on promoting or achieving the waste minimisation activities set out in their waste management and minimisation plans (WMMPs).

To find out more see Role of local government.

The remaining levy money (minus administration costs) is put into the Waste Minimisation Fund. The fund is for waste minimisation activities in New Zealand.

Levy administration costs

Administration costs associated with the waste disposal levy can be recovered in accordance with section 30 of the Waste Minimisation Act. The amount of levy revenue that may be used to fund administration costs is agreed by Cabinet.

Administration costs include the initial one off costs involved with the implementation of the Waste Minimisation Act. This included developing business processes for the Ministry and developing guidance for councils and landfill operators on their new responsibilities, as well as new IT systems to manage levy collection, processing payments and funded projects.

On-going administration costs cover the following activities:

  • administration of the Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF)
  • collection of the levy from disposal facility operators (including collecting returns, issuing invoices, receiving payments and collecting debts)
  • payment of 50 per cent of levy revenue to territorial authorities and monitoring to ensure territorial authorities are using the funds for the intended purposes
  • monitoring  activities associated with the levy (ie, compliance reviews of disposal facility operators, territorial authorities,)
  • managing offences and enforcement actions associated with the levy, including investigations and prosecutions.

Contact us

Further information about the waste disposal levy is available from:

The Ministry for the Environment
Phone: 0800 WDLEVY (0800 935 389)
Email: info@wastelevy.govt.nz
OWLS website

When you contact us via 0800 WDLEVY, depending on your query, we may need to verify your identity. We will do this using information you provided when you registered.

Reviewed:
09/05/17