The Government is calling on people to have their say on proposals to bring New Zealand's recycling systems up to standard.
Environment Minister David Parker says its current recycling systems are "inadequate", and had resulted in lower rates of recycling than in other countries.
The new proposals aim to reduce litter, emissions and pressure on the environment.
"Every year New Zealand generates more than 17 million tonnes of waste and sends almost 13 million tonnes of that to landfill," Parker said.
"We currently have inadequate rubbish collection and recycling systems. As a result, our recycling rates are low compared to other countries with better systems, and we have too much litter in our environment.
"Today I am asking New Zealanders to have their say on our Transforming Recycling proposal to improve the way we recycle and deal with our rubbish."
It is estimated that just 28 per cent of materials here are recycled, with the rest going to landfill, compared to over 50 per cent in Germany, Austria and Wales.
Parker said the Climate Change Commission's emissions reduction target could only be met by better dealing with our rubbish, especially separating food waste and green waste from landfill.
The consultation will cover three connected proposals.
The first looks at improvements to household kerbside recycling systems and access to food scrap collections.
Under this proposal kerbside recycling would be standardised around the country.
"We want to bring our systems up to global standards and for recycling to be more straightforward and less confusing for everyone," Parker said.
People would also have access to a kerbside food scraps bin, in recognition that food scraps make up a third of a household's rubbish each week.
The second proposal is for a container return scheme for beverages, to incentivise people to return empty drink containers in exchange for a small refundable deposit.
It would pay people 20 cents for every drink container returned for recycling.
More than two billion drinks are currently sold every year in New Zealand but less than half get recycled and this scheme aims to increase those rates to between 85 and 90 per cent.
Fresh dairy milk containers would be excluded from the scheme, consistent with overseas trends.
The third focuses on diverting business food waste from landfill to reduce their carbon footprint.
The food scraps can then be used to enrich soil or feed animals.
"We're going to make it simpler and easier for people to recycle right. Standardising kerbside recycling will reduce confusion and help businesses design packaging that is recyclable anywhere in New Zealand," Parker said.
"We want a future where everyone reduces waste, reuses, and recycles. We know New Zealanders want to do the right thing. With these proposals, we're putting the right foundations in place to bring our recycling systems up to global standards."
Green MP Eugenie Sage welcomed the proposals.
"These are exciting initiatives. We are changing the way we view waste. That benefits nature with less litter, more materials being re-used, and less climate pollution from landfill," Sage said.
People will have until Sunday May 8 to have their say. The consultation document and online submission forms are available on the Ministry for the Environment's website: Transforming Recycling consultation document.