Ensuring that waste is managed and disposed of responsibly
Waste disposal takes many forms including direct discharge to land or water, and sludge disposal. Such wastes need to be managed in such a way that the adverse effects are minimised to protect the environment and human health.
Community and Public Health works with local and regional councils to ensure that both solid and liquid waste is disposed of in healthy manner to prevent:
- chemicals and pathogens contaminating drinking water;
- contamination of soil by heavy metals from industrial processes and surface runoff;
- creating favourable environments for disease-causing bacteria and viruses including bioaerosols;
- unpleasant or harmful odour problems; and
- unfavourable effects on Māori cultural values since they place high value on their land and water.
The Medical Officer of Health and Health Protection Officers have specific powers under the Waste Management and Minimisation Act 2008:
- Councils are legally required to consult with the Medical Officer of Health when preparing a Waste Management and Minimisation plan (Section 51); and
- Health Protection Officers have powers to serve notice on a Council to abate a waste nuisance (Section 55).
Waste reduction is something where we can all make a tangible difference – whether it is reducing single use plastic, recycling materials we use and using less disposable materials that end up in landfills.
Dealing with liquid waste products
The primary sources for liquid waste are:
- septic tanks from residential properties,
- reticulated wastewater systems including Wastewater Treatment Plants; and
- disposal of oils, fats and sludge from Offensive Trades such as fish cleaning, rubbish collecting and stock yards.
Download an information sheet on the impact of urban waste pollution on local waterways, including stormwater and sewage overflows [237KB PDF].
Contact your local council for more information on waste water:
Dealing with solid waste including recycling
The primary sources of solid waste are domestic, commercial and industrial waste from processes and packaging, demolition material and organic materials.
Rubbish collection and disposal is primarily the responsibility of district and regional councils under the Local Government Act 2002 and the Resource Management Act 1991.
Contact your local council for more information on rubbish and recycling:
Contact your local CPH office for further information:
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169
The Truth about Plastic Recycling in New Zealand
A national audit was carried out on the plastic containers in New Zealanders’ rubbish and recycling bins in 2019. 867 households in 8 locations had their rubbish and recycling analysed with the results extrapolated to provide national figures.
The report found:
- Kiwi households dispose of a staggering 1.76 billion plastic containers per year through kerbside rubbish and recycling bins.
- The most common item being disposed of to either recycling or rubbish bins is the single-use drink bottle – 188 per household per year.
- An estimated 97 million plastic drink and milk bottles that could potentially be recycled go straight to landfill.
- 39 percent of household plastic bottles and containers (by weight) have the potential to be recycled go to landfill.
How to live more sustainably
Waste management is a major challenge in NZ as three quarters of our waste that is sent to landfill is recoverable.
We can show love for our environment and our planet by living as waste-free as possible. We can also waste less money in the process!
- Choose products with compostable or biodegradable packaging – avoiding those with unnecessary or unrecyclable packaging.
- Use reusable bags and containers.
Get more information on how to live waste free (Recycle NZ).