Written by RNZ

More funding is being proposed to tackle New Zealand's growing waste problem.

The government has this morning released its plans to expand the national landfill levy scheme.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said the government wants to progressively increase the levy rate for landfills that take household waste.

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"In the past decade, people have sent nearly 30 million tonnes of waste to municipal landfills around the country - a 50 percent increase in waste that can often be recycled, composted or reused," she said.

That cannot be allowed to continue, Ms Sage said.

The proposals are to:

• Encourage more reuse and recycling by progressively increasing the levy rate for landfills that take household waste from the current $10 per tonne - set in 2009 - to $50 or $60 per tonne by mid-2023.
• Even the playing field by expanding the landfill levy to cover all landfill types including industrial and construction and demolition fills, but not cleanfills or farm dumps, at a proposed rate of $10 or $20 per tonne depending on the type of landfill.
• Improve the way waste is managed across the country by collecting better data about the waste we are creating, and how we are disposing of it.
• Invest the additional landfill revenue in solutions that support waste reduction, such as building New Zealand-based recycling and reprocessing infrastructure to recover more materials.

Ms Sage said half of the revenue raised from the levy will go to local councils and the remainder will go to the Waste Minimisation Fund.

The fund provides grants to businesses and community groups to reduce waste.

"This is a great way to make sure we can reduce waste and deal with rubbish we create here in New Zealand, creating jobs and innovation, and not send New Zealand's waste offshore for other countries and communities to deal with," Ms Sage said.

"It is also a great boost to the story our businesses, exporters and tourism industry can tell about clean, green New Zealand. We have a good reputation but we must keep working to protect and enhance that advantage," she said.

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Public consultation on the proposals will close in February next year.

- RNZ