Ensuring that waste is managed and disposed of responsibly

Set of wheelie bins - green for organics, red for rubbish and yellow for recycling.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.

Waste free future: Reduce, reuse and recycle. Source: Ministry for the Environment.

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].

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.

Which streets cost the most for rubbish dumped in Christchurch?

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 11th March 2024

Dumped rubbish in Hornby. Source: Christchurch City Council.Christchurch’s worst areas for fly tipping have been revealed, with clearing rubbish from one street alone costing ratepayers more than $43,000.

Streets hit hardest with removing dumped rubbish were:

  • Cashel Street – $43,394.71;
  • Hereford Street – $39,196.17;
  • Worcester Street – $38,993.17;
  • Gloucester Street – $26,531.57;
  • Armagh Street – $22,413.64;
  • Aldershot Street – $17,279.15; and
  • Emmett Street – $16,786.55.

These figures only account for dumping costs between January 2023 and February 2024. They do not include the costs of staff and contractors inspecting and clearing the affected areas.

There were more than 22,000 jobs relating to fly tipping at the end of the last road maintenance contract periods – with a price tag of almost a million dollars.

City Streets Maintenance Manager Steve Guy said these figures reflect the size of the problem and how unfair it is on those doing the right thing, as it is the ratepayer who is footing the bill.

“We’re working closely with local Community Boards and elected members to identify, target and clear up these hot spots at a grassroots level which has proved incredibly useful,” he said.

“We’re also liaising with the enforcement and legal teams at Council to establish a process for prosecuting dumpers.”

But Mr Guy said the best thing people can do is use the facilities already offered.

“The Council provides a fantastic red bin service, and the EcoDrop Transfer Station is open for any bigger loads.”



Contact your local office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Ph: +64 3 687 2600

Ph: +64 3 768 1160

New scheme aims to significantly reduce tyre waste

Ministry for the Environment media release: 28th March 2024

The country’s first national scheme to repurpose tyres begins this year.

Too many tyres end up in landfill, stockpiled or illegally dumped. Communities and councils are often left with the clean-up.

More end-of-life tyres will be repurposed under a new product stewardship scheme called Tyrewise. Product stewardship is where producers take responsibility for reducing a product’s environmental impact.

Customers started paying a stewardship fee from 1st March 2024 when buying tyres from retailers. The fee is included at first registration if you buy a newly imported vehicle. The fee varies depending on the type and weight of tyre and will cover tyre collection and transportation.

The Tyrewise scheme will be fully operational from 1st September 2024 and there will be no more ad hoc tyre disposal fees which many retailers currently charge.

Tyrewise aims to double the proportion of tyres being repurposed over time. Its target is to have 80 per cent of tyres repurposed by 2028 and over 90 per cent by 2030.

Government takes action on problem plastics

The Government is phasing out problem plastics in three stages. The following items were banned in phases one and two:

  • Single-use plastic produce bags;
  • Single-use plastic drinking straws – only disabled people and those with health needs will be able to access them;
  • Single-use plastic tableware and cutlery;
  • Plastic produce labels – the fruit and vegetable industry is working towards a home compostable version;
  • Single-use plastic drink stirrers;
  • Single-use plastic cotton buds;
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pre-formed food trays and containers;
  • Polystyrene takeaway packaging for food and beverages;
  • Expanded polystyrene food and beverage retail packaging (such as foam takeaway containers or some instant noodle cups); and
  • Plastics with additives that make them fragment into micro-plastics.

Other PVC and polystyrene food and beverage packaging will be banned from mid-2025 – in phase 3.

Infographic showing plastic items and materials being phased out across three phases in New Zealand. Source: Ministry for the Environment.

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!

Get more information on how to live waste free (Recycle NZ).

Learn some ways to support the environment wherever you are (Ministry for the Environment).

Page last updated: 28/03/2024

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