Overview of the waste disposal levy

Find out about the purpose of the waste levy, which waste disposal facilities it applies to and the current waste levy settings. 

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.

What the waste levy goes towards

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.  

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

Waste levy settings

The levy is currently set at $20 per tonne (excluding GST) on all waste sent to class 1 municipal landfills.

The rate for class 1 landfills is progressively increasing over the next couple of years up to $60 per tonne from 1 July 2024.

Class 2 construction and demolition fills are subject to a levy of $20 per tonne (excluding GST) on all waste sent to landfill from 1 July 2022, and $30 per tonne from 1 July 2024.

Class 3/4 (managed and controlled fills) are subject to a levy of $10 per tonne from 1 July 2023.  

Find out about the waste levy expansion


Types of facilities subject to the waste levy

The Waste Minimisation (Calculation and Payment of Waste Disposal Levy) Regulations 2009 [New Zealand Legislation website] provide definitions for the types of facilities that will have to pay the waste levy.

In summary, these definitions are:

Municipal disposal facility (class 1)

Municipal disposal facility (class 1) means a facility, including a landfill, that accepts for disposal waste that is or includes household, commercial, industrial or institutional waste, green waste, or waste that is not accepted at other classes of facilities.

Construction and demolition fill disposal facility (class 2)

Construction and demolition fill disposal facility (class 2) means a facility, including a landfill, that accepts waste that is or includes solid waste from construction and demolition activity.

Managed or controlled fill disposal facility (class 3 or 4)

Managed or controlled fill disposal facility (class 3 or 4) means a facility that accepts any one or more of the following for disposal:

  • inert waste material from construction and demolition activities
  • inert waste material from earthworks or site remediation.

Types of facilities that are not subject to the waste levy

Note that the regulations also define cleanfill and industrial monofill (as below). However, these sites are not prescribed disposal facilities and thus are not subject to the levy. Cleanfill and industrial monofill sites will be required to report their tonnages to the Ministry from 1 January 2023. Transfer stations will be required to report from 1 January 2022.  

Cleanfill facility (class 5) means a facility that accepts only virgin excavated natural material such as clay, soil, or rock, for disposal. 

Industrial monofill facility means a facility that accepts for disposal waste that discharges or could discharge contaminants or emissions and is generated from a single industrial process (for example, steel or aluminium making, or pulp and paper making).   

Transfer stations are facilities that contain a designated receiving area where waste is received, and from which waste (or any material derived from that waste) is transferred to a final disposal site or elsewhere for further processing. Transfer stations do not provide long-term storage for waste or material derived from that waste.  

You can find the full definitions of prescribed and other disposal facilities in Section 3B of the Waste Minimisation (Calculation and Payment of Waste Disposal Levy) Regulations 2009 [New Zealand Legislation website].  

Additional definitions – such as transfer stations – can be found in the Waste Minimisation (Information Requirements) Regulations 2021 [New Zealand Legislation website].

Levy administration costs

Levy revenue can be spent on administration costs 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 as part of the Ministry for the Environment’s budget appropriation.

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)
  • distributing 50 per cent of levy revenue to territorial authorities on a quarterly basis
  • monitoring activities associated with the levy (eg, auditing disposal facility operators, auditing WMF fund recipients, and monitoring territorial authority’s spending of the waste levy)
  • 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.