Thursday, April 18, 2024

National waste strategy on the table

New Zealanders are being invited to have their say on proposals for a new waste strategy and options for new waste legislation.

“Reducing waste is one of the issues all New Zealanders – especially younger Kiwis – care deeply about,” Environment Minister, David Parker said.

“New Zealand is one of the highest generators of waste per person in the world. On average, every year each New Zealander sends approximately 750kgs of waste to landfill, and much of this could be recycled, re-processed or reused.

“In 2019, waste contributed about 4% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions and around 9% of its biogenic methane emissions. We can do better, and New Zealanders are demanding change.

“We need to catch up with those countries showing the way, and then move forward.”

Minister Parker today released the consultation paper Taking responsibility for our waste, which seeks feedback on a new national waste strategy that sets a bold new direction for the next three decades.

“The Government is committed to building a low carbon, circular economy. We have already taken some important steps including banning single-use plastic bags and our plan to phase out other single-use and hard-to-recycle plastics.”

“We are also investing in new infrastructure to support resource recovery efforts and funding projects to reimagine how we make, use and dispose of plastics.

“We urgently need to change the way we think about and manage materials and waste in Aotearoa New Zealand – and everyone has a role to play to minimise waste and its impact on the environment.

“Our focus for the next decade is ensuring that we have the right foundations in place,” he said.

The proposed strategy seeks to:

  • Ensure the data, regulations and strategy are in place for transformational change;
  • Get resource recovery and recycling systems working well;
  • Reduce emissions from organic waste;
  • Stimulate innovation and redesign for long-term change;
  • Understand the scale and best approach for remediating past damage, and
  • Establish long-term information and education programmes.

“The strategy will also set targets to reduce total waste volumes, methane emissions from waste, and litter by 2030,” Mr Parker said.

He said feedback will help shape the final proposals for reform. Once developed, new legislation will replace the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and Litter Act 1979.

Proposals for the new legislation include building on the duty-of-care model (used in other jurisdictions) to improve how we deal with unwanted material, a national licensing system for the waste management industry, enhancing the existing regulatory tools to encourage change, and how legislation supports product stewardship schemes.

“We are designing new waste legislation that will support the transformation New Zealand needs,” the Minister said.

Consultation will run for six weeks until 26 November 2021. The consultation document and submission forms are available on the Ministry for the Environment’s website:

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