Waste disposal levy expansion

From 1 July 2021, the Government is progressively increasing and expanding the national waste disposal levy. It uses the revenue gathered from the waste disposal levy for initiatives to reduce waste and encourage resource recovery (eg, composting and recycling).

What the expansion of the waste disposal levy involves

The waste disposal levy expansion involves:

  • Progressively increasing over four years the levy rate for landfills that take household waste from the current $10 per tonne – set in 2009 – to $60 per tonne as of July 2024.
  • Expanding the waste levy to cover additional landfill types, including construction and demolition fills. At present the waste levy only applies to municipal landfills that take household waste, with no levy on the remaining almost 90 per cent of landfills throughout the country.
  • Collecting better data about the waste we are creating, and how we are disposing of it, so our waste can be better managed.
  • Investing the additional revenue from the waste levy in initiatives that support waste reduction, such as building New Zealand-based recycling infrastructure.

Timeline for the increase and expansion of the waste levy

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 increasing and expanding the levy does

Increasing and expanding the levy helps recognise the real costs of waste, makes it fairer for everyone and incentivises materials reuse and recycling rather than just taking it to the tip. 

The levy increases are likely to have a minimal impact on a family’s weekly budget. The Ministry for the Environment estimates that when fully implemented, the new levy could increase the cost of the weekly council kerbside rubbish bag by about 25c, depending on individual council decisions. 

Despite the relatively low impact on households, the Government is mindful that many families are facing difficult economic circumstances at present. Economic conditions were considered before the timelines were confirmed in March 2021. 

Expansion of waste levy is part of a wider plan

The expansion of the national waste levy is key to the Government’s wider plan of reducing the ever-increasing amount of rubbish ending up in landfill. Two previous reviews of the levy have recommended expanding and increasing the levy.

Public consultation held on the proposed expansion of the levy

A public consultation was held in November 2019 to February 2020 on the proposed expansion of the levy. More than 80 per cent of submitters agreed the status quo needed to change. Most were broadly in support of increasing and expanding the levy.

Public consultation on the proposed national waste levy

Summary of submissions from the public consultation

Cabinet paper: Proposals for a more effective waste levy

Regulatory impact statement: Increase and expansion of waste disposal levy