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National environmental indicator

See chapter 1, ‘Environmental reporting’, for more information on the core national environmental indicators and how they are used.

There is one national environmental indicator for reporting on waste in New Zealand: solid waste disposed of to municipal landfills.

This indicator tracks changes over time in the quantity and composition of the solid waste disposed of to landfills. It provides valuable information on waste flows, including the quantities and types of materials that can be recycled or recovered to avoid their disposal.

Limitations of the indicator

The indicator includes only solid waste disposed of to municipal landfills. It does not include disposal to cleanfills or other disposal sites, such as construction and demolition waste landfills. Liquid, gaseous, and hazardous wastes are not specifically measured by the indicator (although hazardous waste is included in estimates of solid waste disposed of to landfills).

The indicator does not measure any activities aimed at minimising waste and increasing resource efficiency, such as improvements to production methods. Nor does it measure the decoupling of waste generation from influencing factors, such as population and economic growth.

To present a wider picture of waste disposal in New Zealand, this chapter also draws on information about landfills, cleanfills, waste recovery and recycling, liquid waste including wastewater, sewage sludge (biosolids), and hazardous waste.