Waste Minimisation Act

This page explains the Waste Minimisation Act and its history. It provides links to further information about provisions of the Act including the Waste Minimisation Fund and Waste Advisory Board and product stewardship.

About the Waste Minimisation Act

The Waste Minimisation Act encourages a reduction in the amount of waste we generate and dispose of in New Zealand. The aim is to reduce the environmental harm of waste and provide economic, social and cultural benefits for New Zealand.

For a copy of the Act, see the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 [New Zealand Legislation website].

How the Act encourages waste minimisation

To encourage waste minimisation, protect the environment and provide wider social, economic and cultural benefits, the Act:

  • imposes a levy on all waste disposed of in municipal landfills to generate funding to help local government, communities and businesses minimise waste
  • establishes a process for government accreditation of product stewardship schemes which recognises those businesses and organisations that take responsibility for managing the environmental impacts of their products
  • requires product stewardship schemes to be developed for certain ‘priority products’ where there is a high risk of environmental harm from the waste or significant benefits from recovering the product
  • allows for regulations to be made to control the disposal of products, materials or waste, require take-back services, deposit fees or labelling of products  
  • allows for regulations to be made that make it mandatory for certain groups (eg, landfill facility operators) to report on waste to improve information on waste minimisation
  • clarifies the roles and responsibilities of territorial authorities with respect to waste minimisation
  • establishes the Waste Advisory Board to give independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on waste minimisation issues.

Provisions of the Act

Provisions of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 are outlined in the following pages on our website:

  • Waste disposal levy
    What the waste disposal levy is and why we have one, information for waste disposal facility operators and findings from the three-yearly reviews of the effectiveness of the levy.
  • Product stewardship
    What product stewardship is, and how schemes are implemented and managed.
  • Waste Minimisation Fund 
    What the fund is, eligibility and assessment criteria and guidance on how to apply.
  • Role of local government
    Obligations of local government under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
  • The Waste Advisory Board
    An overview of the Waste Advisory Board which provides independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on matters relating to the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and waste minimisation.

Help for territorial authorities

We have a dedicated adviser working with territorial authorities on implementing the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

Territorial authorities who have questions on the Act can contact us by calling (04) 439 7400 or emailing waste.ta@mfe.govt.nz.

We are also keen to hear about any waste problem-solving, best practice and shared initiatives in local government.

History of the Waste Minimisation Act

The Waste Minimisation Act was the result of a Private Members Bill called the Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill [New Zealand Parliament website], introduced to Parliament by the Green Party on 4 May 2006. The Act was passed in September 2008.

Related documents

The following documents of relevance were produced before or while the Act went through the Parliamentary process.

Supplementary Order Paper that contains amendments to the Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill [New Zealand Parliament website]

Towards a Sustainable New Zealand: Measures to minimise solid waste - Cabinet paper
Cabinet paper about measures to manage and minimise waste in accordance with the New Zealand Waste Strategy.

Regulatory impact statement: Towards a Sustainable New Zealand – Measures to Minimise Solid Waste
Solid waste and measures to minimise waste.

Regulatory impact statement: Towards a Sustainable New Zealand – Proposals for Product Stewardship
Assessing priority products and product stewardship schemes.

Recycling: Cost Benefit Analysis report (April 2007)
Report of the costs and benefits of recycling, in particular household kerbside recycling relative to landfill disposal.

Reviewed:
24/03/17