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Waste Management and Minimisation:
a good practice guide for territorial authorities

Territorial authorities’ role in waste management and minimisation

The purpose of the Waste Minimisation Act is to encourage waste minimisation and a decrease in waste disposal to:

  1. protect the environment from harm, and
  2. provide environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits.

Territorial authorities have a critical role to play if the Act is to achieve its purpose. A territorial authority must promote effective and efficient waste management and minimisation in their district. The Act requires you to:

  • adopt a waste management and minimisation plan (WMMP) which must be reviewed by July 2012
  • spend levy money you receive on waste minimisation activities as set out in your WMMP. There is an expectation that, wherever possible, the levy money is spent on developing new initiatives or infrastructure or extending and improving existing services.

Waste collection and disposal services have evolved and territorial authorities are now often collecting smaller proportions of the waste stream as private and commercial operations have expanded significantly. However, your WMMPs must still provide methods for achieving effective and efficient waste management and minimisation across your district.

Each territorial authority is unique and faces its own set of circumstances in meeting the challenge of promoting effective and efficient waste management and minimisation. The waste assessment and WMMP process enables you to identify issues and prioritise solutions that are appropriate for your local situation.

As well as requiring territorial authorities to manage and minimise waste in their district, the Act contains other tools to achieve its purpose, such as the waste disposal levy and product stewardship provisions.

Reviewing your waste management and minimisation plan

When preparing your WMMP, you should follow the process specified in Sections 43 and 44 of the Waste Minimisation Act. More guidance on the process is provided in Waste Management and Minimisation Planning: Guidance for Territorial Authorities, available on the Ministry’s website.

You must review your WMMP by July 2012. We can provide help by reviewing your draft plan. It is a good idea to provide it to us well in advance of the 2012 deadline to allow time for it to be reviewed. When we review WMMPs, we are looking to see:

  • a clear commitment to promoting effective and efficient waste management and minimisation in your district
  • a range of options considered for promoting effective and efficient waste management and minimisation in your district based on a robust waste assessment
  • methods for collecting information on your district’s waste, what data will be collected, and how it will be reported
  • information demonstrating how you intend to meet the New Zealand Waste Strategy’s goals of reducing environmental harm and improving efficiency
  • a strategic approach to spending levy money
  • how private and commercial operators have been involved in the development of the WMMP and their ongoing role in waste management in the district.

The following table suggests some key themes and content that should be included in your WMMP.

Key considerations for promoting effective and efficient waste management in your district
Planning for the district
  • Short-term planning
    • availability of services
    • demand for, or use of, services now and in the future
    • meeting operational requirements (eg, nuisance, odour)
  • Regulatory framework
    • WMA requirements (waste assessment/ bylaws/licensing/WasteTRACK)
    • RMA requirements (district, regional plans)
    • New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme
    • relevant acts (eg, Building Act, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, Local Government Act, Litter Act)
  • Financial planning framework
    • annual plan, long-term council community plan
    • levy spending
    • funded projects (eg, Waste Minimisation Fund)
    • levels of service
    • profits
    • markets and market development
  • Emergency planning
    • risk management
    • disaster planning
    • contingency planning
  • Long-term planning
    • infrastructure development and management
    • resource efficiency programmes
    • overall community goals
    • New Zealand Waste Strategy
Delivering services and infrastructure
  • Infrastructure register
    • landfills, cleanfills, transfer stations, materials recovery facilities
    • council, private and commercial services
    • asset condition
    • recycling facilities
    • processing facilities (eg, organics, construction and demolition)
  • Contract management
    • waste minimisation
    • health and safety
    • service efficiency/effectiveness
    • regulated or otherwise mandated standards
  • Pricing
    • collections
    • landfill/transfer station pricing
    • materials and markets
  • Waste minimisation
    • business focused resource efficiency programmes
    • public education initiatives
    • Enviroschools
    • community-based programmes
    • event management
    • Public places recycling
Gathering robust information
  • Waste information and data collection (eg, flows in the district,source)
  • Pricing
  • Applicable bylaws (licensing of collectors; information collection)
  • Reporting (including on enforcement)
  • Information requirements for capital expenditure and asset maintenance
Who to work with
  • Collaboration can maximise opportunities and value for money
  • Work with community groups
  • Work with industry
  • Work with other territorial authorities
  • Work with regional councils
  • Share of best practice, on-going education

For more information

See the Ministry for the Environment's website
You can contact us by emailing or by phoning 0800 499 700.

October 2010
INFO 554