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Waste bill gives economic incentives

19 June, 2008
Waste bill gives economic incentives

New waste legislation will offer economic incentives and rewards to businesses and councils who do their bit for waste reduction, Environment Minister Trevor Mallard told Parliament during the second reading of the Waste Minimisation Bill (last night).

The Waste Minimisation Bill (a members bill from the Greens which has government support) intends to deal with waste in a smarter, more concerted way for more sustainable use of resources.

"This bill will provide benefits that go beyond reducing what we throw away. It will offer economic incentives and rewards for those who do the right thing. Businesses, councils and the public will also find that reducing waste can save money as less material is used in the first place, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and new business opportunities are created," Trevor Mallard said.

The new waste legislation builds on the progress made by the New Zealand Waste Strategy 2002 by putting more emphasis on investment in ‘front-of-pipe’ solutions. Innovative product design will encourage material efficiency, which will lead to a reduction of waste rather than just managing it.

Under the bill's product stewardship clauses, producers, brand owners, importers, retailers, consumers and other parties take responsibility for the environmental effects of their products – from ‘cradle-to-grave’. Examples of product stewardship could be businesses taking back unwanted products from their customers for reuse or recycling or manufacturers choosing environmentally friendly materials when making a product.

Trevor Mallard said innovative businesses will get commercial gains where their products and brands stand out in the market through smarter design and a proven commitment to the environment. The bill will also result in

• the introduction of a $10 a tonne (plus GST) levy on all waste disposed of in landfills

• the introduction of a contestable fund to use the revenue from the waste levy to help communities and businesses minimise waste. In addition, this will help reduce waste of all types going to landfill by encouraging people to consider alternatives to disposal

• requirements for territorial authorities and operators of landfills and recycling facilities to report on waste

• clarification of the role and responsibilities of territorial authorities in waste minimisation

• the introduction of a new board to give independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on waste minimisation issues.

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