Go back to "Publications"

Te whakawehe i ngā para kai ā-pakihi Separation of business food waste: Snapshot of the consultation

This snapshot provides an overview of the consultation on the separation of business food waste. The consultation runs from 13 March to 22 May 2022.

Other proposals in the consultation document include container return scheme and improvements to household kerbside recycling.

Read the full consultation document and have your say.

We all want to do the right thing

Recycling rates in Aotearoa New Zealand are low compared to other countries with better systems, and we have too much litter in our environment.

  • Large amounts of recyclable materials are lost to landfill. This results in lost resources and business opportunities.
  • We want to reduce waste, litter, and emissions and increase resource recovery and the recycling of materials into new products. Importantly, it needs to be easy for people and businesses to do the right thing.
  • We need to transform our systems to build a more circular future where everyone reduces waste, reuses products, and recycles the resources they use.

Many countries have already gone on this journey, and so we have great examples to learn from. That’s why we’re proposing to put the right foundations in place to bring our recycling systems up to global standards, lift the performance of Aotearoa New Zealand’s recycling, and build a low-emissions, low-waste economy.

Have your say on our proposals to make recycling easier and better

We are consulting on three proposals related to transforming recycling in New Zealand:

  • Part 1: Container Return Scheme
  • Part 2: Improvements to household kerbside recycling
  • Part 3: Separation of business food waste.

These three proposals are part of a longer-term shift toward a circular economy, where packaging is made of materials that maintain their value, are easy to recycle sustainably and have a low impact on the environment.

The consultation will run from 13 March to 22 May 2022.

This snapshot gives an overview of Part 3: Separation of business food waste.

For more detail, please refer to the full consultation document [PDF, 3 MB].

Food waste in landfills is changing our climate

More than 300,000 tonnes of food waste are sent to New Zealand landfills every year. Like other materials that rot, food waste in landfill produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

A photo of a large bin, piled high with food waste.

Image: Auckland Council

Food waste is estimated to contribute 22 per cent of New Zealand’s emissions from landfills that accept general household and business waste. To meet our national emissions targets, the Climate Change Commission has recommended we aim to reduce emissions from all landfills by at least 40 per cent by 2035.

In some parts of New Zealand, businesses have access to food waste collections, but in other areas they do not. An estimated 25 per cent or more of all food waste sent to landfill comes from businesses – approximately 75,000 tonnes today, rising to an estimated 100,000 tonnes by 2030.

To reduce food waste sent to landfill, the Government is proposing that all businesses should separate food waste from general waste and that households should be provided with a kerbside food scraps collection.

As well as reducing our climate emissions, the food waste diverted from landfills can be used to feed animals, improve soil quality, and generate energy.

We are seeking your feedback on this proposal and what this would mean for your business.

We expect that all businesses would need to provide space for one or more separate food waste bins and train staff to use them.

Businesses could choose what they do with their food scraps once separated. Scraps could be used as stock food or turned into compost or digestate. Businesses would also be encouraged to reduce their food waste, look for opportunities to donate edible food or explore opportunities for upcycled food products.

Proposal to separate business food waste

Require all businesses to collect food waste separately from other waste materials.

To reduce climate emissions and recycle nutrients back into our soil.

Food waste separation could be phased in

Parts of New Zealand with existing food-waste-processing facilities could begin separating their food waste sooner.

  • The phase-in could also align with the introduction of household food scrap collections, providing economies of scale and reducing the costs for both households and businesses.
  • A requirement to separate food waste could be applied first to businesses more likely to produce larger amounts of food waste, for example, businesses registered under the Food Act 2014.
  • We are seeking your feedback on the different ways a requirement to separate food waste could be introduced and how it would affect your business.

Hei te 2030, ka hiahia mātou kia kopana ake ngā pakihi me ngā kāinga i ngā toenga kai o ā rātou ipupara.

By 2030, we want all businesses and households to separate food scraps from their rubbish.

Make your voice count

This consultation sets out issues and options for your feedback on how we tackle business food waste, and we invite you to share your ideas. Your feedback will help shape our final proposals.

We are also consulting on a container return scheme and improvements to household kerbside recycling.

For full details on these proposals, the problems we are trying to solve and the options we have considered, please read the full consultation document.

Help shape the way we recycle

Fill out the short consultation survey.

You can fill out the long consultation survey through Citizen Space, our consultation hub. PDF files should also be uploaded into Citizen Space. However, scanned documents cannot be submitted.

We request that you don’t mail submissions as this makes analysis more difficult. However, if you need to, please send written submissions to Transforming recycling, Ministry for the Environment, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143.

If you are emailing your feedback, send it to transformingrecycling@mfe.govt.nz. The question-and-answer format is still required for all long-form submissions, such as PDFs and essay-styled submissions. This makes it clearer which question is being answered.

Submissions close at 11.59pm, 22 May 2022.

What happens next

The Ministry will consider the proposals for transforming recycling in light of the comments we receive and engage with affected parties.

We aim to present final proposals to Cabinet for policy decisions in 2022. The proposals (container return scheme, improving household recycling and the separation of business food waste) have different implementation periods. You can find out more information and provide feedback on the implementation timeframes in the full consultation submission form.

Kōrero mai ō whakaaro kia whakatikaina tā tātou mahi hangarua, whakamimiti para hoki i Aotearoa!

Have your say to improve the way we recycle and reduce rubbish and litter in Aotearoa New Zealand!

Join the kōrero and have your say