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.
Retailers include those selling products purchased wholesale in New Zealand. If you are importing products for sale in New Zealand your responsibilities may fall under those of a producer. Please also read the guide for producers.
The passing of the Act places no immediate new obligations on retailers. However you can expect to be involved in the new waste minimisation initiatives in a number of ways.
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 Act by being accredited by the Minister for the Environment. To be accredited the scheme must meet criteria under the Act.
The Minister for the Environment may declare some products to be ‘priority products’ and a product stewardship scheme will be required for that product. Regulations could then be made prohibiting the sale of a priority product, unless it is part of an accredited scheme. Retailers must comply with these regulations.
The Minister may also recommend regulations in relation to products, materials and waste whether or not they are priority products. These may identify a role for retailers in a particular product stewardship scheme, the details of which would be agreed by the parties to the product stewardship scheme.
The Minister must meet certain requirements before recommending any of the regulations outlined above. The Ministry will consult with affected parties before any 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.
Under the Act you could be asked to provide records and information to help the Ministry for the Environment monitor waste in New Zealand.
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 382