Waste Management has mixed views on various aspects of the Government’s announcement in relation to proposed changes to the Waste Disposal Levy in mid-July.

Waste Management supports the expansion of the waste levy equally across all types of disposal facilities, and is pleased that Minister Eugenie Sage’s announcement included expansion across Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4 landfills within the next few years.

That said, we were disappointed to see that the increases in the levy will be unequally applied to these disposal facilities and that implementation will be delayed. All waste imposes costs on the environment, society, and the economy and therefore all disposal points should have the levy equally applied.

Class 1 landfills are the most regulated and environmentally secure modern landfills in New Zealand. Applying the levy to waste being disposed in these landfills at a greater differential in the future – currently proposed to increase from $10 per tonne for a Class 1 landfill and $0 per tonne for any other landfill, to $60 per tonne for a Class 1 landfill and $10 per tonne for Class 3 and 4 landfills by 2024 – will only divert more waste from Class 1 landfills to another lower environmental standard class of landfill, which will actually increase the environmental risks. This results in an additional cost to society and potentially higher climate change impact with no gain other than diverting waste from one facility to another.

Class 1 landfills, like Redvale Landfill & Energy Park, are the most regulated and environmentally secure modern landfills in New Zealand

Improved data collection from these facilities by the government is welcome, so a true picture of the amount of waste being disposed can be ascertained.

We appreciate a stepped approach has been proposed and support that methodology as a means to achieve an equal application of the levy by the end of the five year period.

We look forward to further detail outlining how the substantial increase in levy funds will be distributed. We maintain that in order to sufficiently support investment in the appropriate infrastructure necessary for New Zealand to achieve circular economy outcomes – with no negative impacts on our country’s carbon footprint – the funding should be fully contestable by all capable parties.

We also look forward to final details regarding the work in progress by the Government with regards to product stewardship schemes, which will be another critical piece of the puzzle for New Zealand to move to a circular economy.

Finally, we feel that the proposed levy increases and implementation will have little effect on reducing the amount of waste produced, which is the primary purpose of the levy.

Waste Management’s team is happy to answer questions or clarify our position – email us at communications@wastemanagement.co.nz