Government announces $124m boost for recycling infrastructure, waste levy expansion

The Government has today announced a $124 million investment into recycling infrastructure and a national waste levy scheme expansion.

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The Government admits our reliance on overseas waste disposal has left us vulnerable. Source: 1 NEWS

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage made the announcement today at Green Gorilla in Auckland.

She says New Zealand’s municipal landfills have increased by a staggering 48 per cent in the last decade and "urgent action" is needed.

"As part of the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, the Government is investing $124 million in a number of initiatives across the country," Ms Sage said.

"This will include plastic recycling and reprocessing plants, weighbridges for improved waste data collection and improved material and community resource recovery plants."

Ms Sage also confirmed that following consultation, the levy increases proposed last year, will go ahead.

The levy will be increased from $10 a tonne, to $60 a tonne, over four years. The first increase is scheduled for July next year.

"These changes will increase levy revenue from around $30 million annually at the moment to around $274 million annually by 2024/25," Ms Sage said.

The Government says it is likely to have a "minimal impact" on a family's weekly budget, estimating it could increase the cost of the weekly council kerbside rubbish bag by about 25 cents, depending on individual council decisions.

The waste levy will also be introduced at other landfills for the first time, to "level the playing field".

"Expanding and increasing the waste levy is one of the best tools we have to incentivise reduced waste to landfill and prevent valuable resources from being thrown away. We are making it easier for households and businesses to do the right thing."

However, there are concerns how the extra costs could affect people's behaviour. 

"Waste will always find its lowest price of disposal, so we need to be very mindful of waste flight -people dumping products in landfills that may or may not have the adequate infrastructure," Wasteminz CEO Janine Brinsdon warned.