Ministry for the Environment's role and responsibilities

The Ministry for the Environment's primary role in minimising and managing waste in New Zealand is to administer the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. This page describes our main functions under the Act.

Waste disposal levy

This levy is a charge on waste disposed of at waste disposal facilities.

The Ministry is responsible for administering the levy including:

  • collecting the levy and associated reporting information from liable disposal facilities
  • distributing half of the levy money to local councils to spend on waste minimisation and the remainder (less administration costs) through the Waste Minimisation Fund
  • supporting a review of the effectiveness of the levy which is required to be undertaken by the Minister for the Environment every three years.

Find out more on the About the waste disposal levy web page.

Waste Minimisation Fund

This fund supports waste minimisation projects. To be eligible for funding, projects must promote or achieve waste minimisation by encouraging the reduction of waste and the reuse, recycling and recovery of waste and diverted material. The Minister for the Environment approves all funding decisions.

The Ministry is responsible for:

  • organising funding rounds and accepting funding applications
  • supporting the Independent Assessment Panel, which reviews applications and provides recommendations to the Minister
  • assisting project managers with project planning
  • administering funding deeds.

Find out more on the About the Waste Minimisation Fund web page.

Distribution of levy money to territorial authorities

Territorial authorities (city and district councils) receive half of the total waste disposal levy money collected. The Ministry is responsible for distributing these payments to local government on a population basis. Territorial authorities are responsible for the records and information about their spending of levy money. Payments are made quarterly and must be spent by territorial authorities on promoting or achieving waste minimisation in accordance with their district's waste management and minimisation plan.

Find out more on the following web pages.

Waste disposal levy payments to territorial authorities

Territorial authority levy spending

Product stewardship

Product stewardship is the responsible management of the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle. The voluntary product stewardship accreditation process was created by the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

The Ministry for the Environment oversees this process by:

  • being the point of contact for pre-application support and information
  • commissioning an external assessor to determine whether schemes meet the requirements for product stewardship as outlined in the Waste Minimisation Act 2008
  • providing advice to the Minister for the Environment on applications for accreditation.

Find out more on the About product stewardship web page.

Supporting the Waste Advisory Board

The Waste Advisory Board provides independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on matters relating to the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and waste minimisation. The Ministry acts as the Board's secretariat.

Find out more about the Waste Advisory Board including the functions of the board, its terms of reference and the board's members.

Love NZ

Love NZ is a government brand that aims to help Kiwi communities reduce, reuse and recycle. The Ministry for the Environment manages the Love NZ brand.

In 2014 the Minister for the Environment accredited the Public Place Recycling Scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act. The Packaging Forum operates this voluntary product stewardship scheme and is licenced to use the Love NZ brand for the purposes of promoting public place recycling.

For more information about the scheme see the Public Place Recycling Scheme website.