Waste bill gives economic incentives

Friday, 20 June, 2008

New waste legislation will offer economic incentives and rewards to businesses and councils that do their bit for waste reduction, said Environment Minister Trevor Mallard during the second reading of the Waste Minimisation Bill.

"This bill will provide benefits that go beyond reducing what we throw away. It will offer economic incentives and rewards for those who do the right thing. Businesses, councils and the public will also find that reducing waste can save money as less material is used in the first place, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and new business opportunities are created," Mallard said.

The legislation builds on the progress made by the New Zealand Waste Strategy 2002 by putting more emphasis on investment in ‘front-of-pipe’ solutions. Innovative product design will encourage material efficiency, which will lead to a reduction of waste rather than just managing it.

Under the bill's product stewardship clauses, producers, brand owners, importers, retailers, consumers and other parties take responsibility for the environmental effects of their products — from ‘cradle to grave’. Examples of product stewardship could be businesses taking back unwanted products from their customers for reuse or recycling or manufacturers choosing environmentally friendly materials when making a product.

The bill will also result in:

  • the introduction of a $10 a tonne (plus GST) levy on all waste disposed of in landfills;
  • the introduction of a contestable fund to use the revenue from the waste levy to help communities and businesses minimise waste. In addition, this will help reduce waste of all types going to landfill by encouraging people to consider alternatives to disposal;
  • requirements for territorial authorities and operators of landfills and recycling facilities to report on waste;
  • clarification of the role and responsibilities of territorial authorities in waste minimisation; and
  • the introduction of a new board to give independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on waste minimisation issues.

For more information, visit www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/waste.


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