The Waste Minimisation Act (2008) provides a new legislative framework with new tools and responsibilities for solid waste management in New Zealand. This guide provides an overview of your responsibilities under the Act, with quick hyperlink references to the legislation and other useful information.
Under the Act, a producer includes not only those who manufacture and sell a product in New Zealand, but also the owner or licence holder of a trademark under which a product is sold in New Zealand, and those who import a product for sale in New Zealand.
The Waste Minimisation Act provides a framework for product stewardship to reduce waste from products. Product stewardship means that producers, brand owners, importers, retailers, consumers and other parties take responsibility for the environmental effects of their products – from ‘cradle-to-grave’.
We expect that many businesses will develop voluntary schemes. These can be formally recognised under the Act by being accredited by the Minister for the Environment. To be accredited the scheme must meet criteria under the Act.
The Minister may declare a product to be a ‘priority product’. Once a product has been declared a priority product, industry must develop a product stewardship scheme for the product and accreditation must be obtained. Before the Minister declares a priority product, the Ministry for the Environment must consult with those affected and the Minister must be satisfied that statutory criteria are met.
Following consultation, the Minister may also publish guidelines providing further detail on the contents and expectations of product stewardship schemes for priority products. Producers should refer to these guidelines before submitting their scheme for accreditation.
The Act also provides for regulations to be made, subject to specific statutory criteria and consultation requirements. For example regulations could be made prohibiting the sale of a priority product outside of an accredited product stewardship scheme. The Minister may also make regulations in relation to products, materials and waste whether or not they are priority products. These could include, for example, requirements for a producer to provide a take-back service for their product, or recycling the product taken back, or the labelling of products. The Ministry will consult with affected parties before such regulations are made.
Territorial authorities will continue to have responsibility for waste regulation and some disposal of waste in your region. You must adhere to any waste-related bylaws made by your territorial authority under the Act.
Those responsible for running accredited product stewardship schemes must report on the operation of their scheme.
The material in this guide is of the nature of general information only, and neither purports nor intends to be professional legal advice. While every effort has been made to ensure that this guide are as clear and accurate as possible at the time of publication, the Ministry for the Environment is not liable for decisions or actions taken as a result of information contained in, or omitted from, this guide.
Published in March 2009 by the Ministry for the Environment. Publication number: INFO 381