Rubbish & recycling  |  30 Jan 2020

Christchurch City Council says the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) proposal to increase the levy rates for landfills is a positive step forward.

However, it wants the Ministry to consider going further because it is worried about the increasing levels of waste going to landfill.

The Council is also calling on central government to urgently legislate so that the full disposal cost of any product is included as part of its manufacturing or production costs.

“New Zealand’s level of consumption and reliance on landfills for disposal of materials is out of step with the majority of the developed world,’’ the Council says in its submission on the MfE’s Reducing Waste: A More Effective Landfill Levy consultation document.

“A significant change is required to drive a more resourceful society, where materials currently thrown away, due to cheap costs of disposal, are valued and recovered.

“The primary driver for this change will be an increase in the costs of disposal (levy) as well as substitution and investment into resource recovery,’’ the Council’s submission, which was finalised today by the Finance and Performance Committee, says.

MfE announced in November 2019 that it was proposing to increase the levy on municipal landfills, which are those that take household waste. Currently the levy is $10 per tonne. Under MfE’s proposal the levy would increase to $50 or $60 per tonne by mid-2023.

It is also proposing to extend the levy to cover more landfill types, including industrial, construction and demolition fills, but not cleanfills or farm dumps. The newly levied landfills would be charged at a rate of $10 or $20 per tonne depending on their type.

In its submission, the Council says it is generally supportive of the proposals but believes a uniform levy should apply across all landfill types.

“The proposed expansion and increase of the waste levy is a positive step forwards further using the powers in the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 to incentivise diversion from landfill.

“The levy should address all waste types by the ability to influence diversion of recoverable resources and should not focus solely or preferentially on municipal waste. A higher, broadly applied levy will have the greatest potential to divert waste from landfill,’’ the Council’s submission says.

Read the full submission.