Applying for accreditation of a product stewardship scheme for priority products

Applications for accreditation of product stewardship schemes covering priority products must address the Ministerial guidelines issued for priority products.

Products that have been declared priority products

They are:

  • tyres
  • electrical and electronic products
  • agrichemicals and their containers
  • refrigerants
  • farm plastics
  • plastic packaging.

Declaration of Priority Products Notice 2020 [New Zealand Gazette Te Kāhiti o Aotearoa website]

Purpose of declaring priority products

Declaration of priority products is part of a move toward regulated product stewardship. Regulated product stewardship helps put the responsibility for a product’s life-cycle and waste management on manufacturers, importers, retailers and users (rather than on communities, councils, neighbourhoods and nature).

General guidelines for product stewardship schemes for priority products

Your application must be consistent with the:

They must also be consistent with any Ministerial guidelines published that particularly relate to the priority product(s) that your scheme covers. Key information is provided below.

Expected Product Stewardship Scheme effects

Accreditation applications must specify how the proposed scheme will help to achieve the following:

  1. Circular resource use
    1. Continuous improvement in minimising waste and harm and maximising benefit from the priority product at end-of-life.
    2. Increasing end-of-life management of the priority product higher up the waste hierarchy to support transition to a circular economy in New Zealand.
    3. Investment in initiatives to improve circular resource use, reusability, recyclability and new markets for the priority product.
  2. Internalised end-of-life costs
    1. Full net costs for stewardship of priority products at end of life met by product or producer fees proportional to the producer’s market share and ease of reuse or recyclability of their product.
    2. Free and convenient collection of the priority product for household and business consumers at end-of-life, including rural populations.
    3. Collection and management of legacy and orphaned priority products fully or substantially funded by the scheme.
  3. Public accountability
    1. Clear information to household and business consumers on how the scheme works, how it is funded, and how to find the nearest collection point.
    2. Transparent chain of custody for collected and processed materials, to both onshore and to offshore processors, and published mass balances showing rates of reuse/ recycling or environmentally sound disposal of the priority products.
    3. Publicly available annual reports that include measurement of outcomes and achievement of targets, fees collected and disbursed, and net cash reserves held as contingency.
  4. Collaboration
    1. Optimal use of existing and new collection and processing infrastructure and networks, and co-design and integration between product groups.

Expected product stewardship scheme contents

Accreditation applications must specify how the proposed scheme incorporates or will provide for the following:

  1. Governance
    1. The scheme will be managed by a legally registered not-for-profit entity.
    2. Annual independent audits will be conducted on scheme performance and included in scheme’s annual reports to the Ministry for the Environment. The annual reports must contain the following:
      1. financial performance and scheme cost-effectiveness
      2. environmental performance
      3. agreements with scheme service providers.
    3. Governance arrangements will be established for the initial set up and ongoing development and operation of the scheme that are appropriate to the size and scale of the scheme.
    4. All governance activities will adhere to the Commerce Commission guidelines on collaborative activities between competitors, including but not limited to considering the option of applying for collaborative activity clearance from the Commission for the scheme.
    5. The scheme will be the only accredited scheme for that product, or
      1. have agreements in place with other scheme managers to enable cooperation and cost-effective materials handling and to prevent confusion for household and business consumers
      2. demonstrate how net community and environmental benefit (including cost-effectiveness and non-monetary impacts) will result from multiple schemes for that priority product.
    6. Directors or governance boards will:
      1. be appointed through an open and transparent process
      2. represent the interests of producers and consumers of the priority product and the wider community as informed by stakeholder advisory groups
      3. follow governance best practice guidelines, for example the Institute of Directors of New Zealand Code of Practice for Directors, including for the identification and management of conflicts of interest.
  2. Scheme operations
    1. Services (e.g. collection, sorting, material recovery and disposal) will be procured using transparent, non-discriminatory and competitive processes open to all competent entities whether existing, new entrant or social enterprise.
    2. Clear, regular and open reporting and communication will be given to scheme participants and stakeholders.
    3. Processes exist to manage commercially confidential or sensitive information appropriately.
    4. All people involved in the scheme will have completed suitable training to complete their roles, including in best practice in prevention and reduction of harm to people and the environment.
    5. Ability to obtain new or existing permits held, for all necessary activities in New Zealand in relation to processing and potential export of priority products or their constituent components.
  3. Targets
    1. All schemes will set and report annually to the Ministry for the Environment on targets that include as a minimum:
      1. significant, timely and continuous improvement in scheme performance
      2. performance against best practice collection and recycling or treatment rates for the same product type in high-performing jurisdictions
      3. a clear time-bound and measurable path to attain best practice
      4. implementation phase-in to reflect availability of markets and infrastructure
      5. new product and market development to accommodate collected material
      6. measures for public awareness of scheme participant satisfaction and a record of response by the scheme to concerns raised.
    2. Targets will be reviewed and adjusted no less than every three years from the date of accreditation, taking into account changes in the market, natural events and technology.

When accreditation applications need to be submitted for priority product schemes

Applications for accreditation are expected as follows.

  1. Within one year from the date of priority product declaration for product categories with existing accredited voluntary schemes that wholly or substantially cover that priority product (eg, agrichemicals and refrigerants)
  2. Within one year from the date of priority product declaration or co-design recommendations to the Government, whichever is later, for product categories not substantially covered by voluntary accredited schemes for which a co-design process has commenced (eg, tyres, farm plastics, large batteries and e-waste), or
  3. Within three years from the date of priority product declaration for all other priority product categories (eg, most types of plastic packaging).

This is also set out in the General Guidelines for Product Stewardship Schemes for Priority Products Notice 2020 [New Zealand Gazette Te Kāhiti o Aotearoa website].

How schemes are assessed

Your scheme will be assessed against requirements outlined in Part 2 of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 [New Zealand Legislation website] and for consistency with the General Guidelines for Product Stewardship Schemes for Priority Products Notice 2020.

This will be done by the Ministry or an external assessor commissioned by the Ministry.

Applications must be made on the prescribed application form.

Under Section 15(1) of the Act, a scheme must meet the following requirements.

  • Meets the requirements of section 14, which sets out the requirements for accreditation (including provisions for identifying the scheme manager and members; setting objectives; arrangements for funding, decision-making, compliance, monitoring, reporting, and communications)
  • Is likely to meet the scheme’s objectives within the time frames set in the scheme
  • Is likely to promote waste minimisation or reduce environmental harm from disposing of the product to which the scheme relates without, in either case, causing greater environmental harm over the life cycle of the product; and
  • Is consistent with New Zealand’s international obligations.

Following this assessment, the Minister for the Environment is briefed to consider the application for accreditation.


If you wish to apply for accreditation of a priority product product stewardship scheme, contact

The applicant is responsible for all ongoing costs of administering and operating the scheme. The Ministry does not currently charge a fee for the accreditation assessment process for the priority product scheme.

Contact information

For further advice email:

Guidance for accreditation