Purpose of the waste disposal levy

The waste disposal levy was introduced under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

The purpose of the levy is to:

  • raise revenue for the promotion and achievement of waste minimisation
  • recognise that disposal imposes costs on the environment, society and the economy.

The levy encourages organisations and individuals to:

  • take responsibility for the waste they produce
  • find more effective and efficient ways to reduce, reuse, recycle or reprocess waste.

It also creates funding opportunities for waste minimisation initiatives. 

Waste levy settings

The levy is currently set at $10 per tonne (excluding GST) on all waste sent to landfill. From 2021 this rate will progressively increase. It will start with an increase for municipal (Class 1) landfills to $20 per tonne in July 2021. 

The confirmed timelines for the increase and expansion of the waste levy are outlined in the table below.

Landfill class Waste types 1 July 2021 1 July 2022 1 July 2023 1 July 2024
Municipal landfill (class 1) Mixed municipal wastes from residential, commercial and industrial sources $20 $30 $50 $60
Construction and demolition fill (class 2) Accepts solid waste from construction and demolition activities, including rubble, plasterboard, timber, and other materials - $20 $20 $30
Managed or controlled fill facility (class 3 and 4)

On or more of:

  • contaminated but non-hazardous soils and other inert materials (eg, rubble) 
  • soils and other inert materials.
- - $10 $10

Disposal facility operators must pay the levy based on the weight of material disposed of at their facility. However they may pass this cost on to the waste producer such as households and businesses.

What is subject to the levy

Any waste that is disposed of at a waste disposal facility as defined under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and the Waste Minimisation (Calculation and Payment of Waste Disposal Levy) Amendment Regulations 2021 [New Zealand Legislation website].

The regulations define waste disposal facilities as follows: 

Municipal disposal facility, class 1

A facility, including a landfill, at which household, commercial, institutional and industrial waste is able to be disposed of, including waste that is not able to be disposed of at another type of facility. 

Construction and demolition facility, class 2

A facility, including a landfill, that only accepts solid waste from construction and demolition activity.

Managed or controlled fill disposal facility, classes 3 and 4

A facility that accepts inert waste material, either from construction and demolition activities or earthworks or site remediation. 

The levy funds waste minimisation activities

Half of the levy money goes to territorial authorities (city and district councils) to spend on promoting or achieving the waste minimisation activities set out in their waste management and minimisation plans (WMMPs).

The remaining levy money (minus administration costs) is put into the Waste Minimisation Fund.

This contestable fund is for waste minimisation activities in New Zealand.

Waste Minimisation Fund

Levy administration costs

Administration costs associated with the waste disposal levy can be recovered in accordance with section 30 of the Waste Minimisation Act. The amount of levy revenue that may be used to fund administration costs is agreed by Cabinet.

On-going administration costs cover the following activities:

  • administration of the Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF)
  • collection of the levy from disposal facility operators (including collecting returns, issuing invoices, receiving payments and collecting debts)
  • payment of 50 per cent of levy revenue to territorial authorities and monitoring to ensure territorial authorities are using the funds for the intended purposes
  • monitoring activities associated with the levy (ie, compliance reviews of disposal facility operators, territorial authorities,)
  • managing offences and enforcement actions associated with the levy, including investigations and prosecutions.

Contact us

Further information about the waste disposal levy is available from:

The Ministry for the Environment
Phone: 0800 WDLEVY (0800 935 389)
Email: info@wastelevy.govt.nz
OWLS website

When you contact us via 0800 WDLEVY, depending on your query, we may need to verify your identity. We will do this using information you provided when you registered.