New Zealand disposed of an estimated 2.53 million tonnes of solid waste to municipal landfills in 2010. Waste can represent the inefficient use of valuable natural resources when potentially reusable materials, such as paper, plastic, organic waste, glass and metal, are disposed of to landfills.
Some wastes produce powerful greenhouse gases and others have significant health impacts on humans and animals.
Waste is unsightly and can pollute our waterways, air and land unless it is adequately managed.
The Waste Minimisation Act 2008 defines waste as “any thing disposed of or discarded”. Waste is generated in numerous forms – solid, liquid or gas – which can change over time. Waste comprises a mixture of many different materials, including organic, paper, plastic, metal, timber and potentially hazardous substances.
Waste can be generated at different times during the material’s life cycle, extraction, manufacturing and consumption. In essence, the waste stream reflects changing economic activity, patterns of production and consumption, legislation and waste management costs.
For more information on other national-level waste indicators see the:
Last updated: 20 October 2009