Buller District Council

Waste levy increases

13th May, 2021

Charges for the disposal of refuse will increase from 1 July in the Buller District due to an increase in refuse disposal costs for landfill operators.

One of the main drivers for the cost increase is  a rise in central government’s waste levy for landfills across the country taking household, commercial, institutional, and industrial waste. The changes  will take effect on 1 July 2021.

Waste charges at the Westport and Reefton Transfer Stations are increasing from $350 per tonne to $380 per tonne.  Council refuse bags will go up from $5.80 per bag to $6. These changes will also come into effect on 1 July 2021.

Central government introduced the waste levy in 2008 under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. The levy aimed to raise revenue for the promotion and achievement of waste minimisation.

The levy which landfill operators pay central government is calculated on the weight of material disposed of at their facility. The cost of the levy is passed on to transfer stations which dispose of refuse at landfills.

Manager infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says: “The costs which landfill operators pay are increasing and they pass that on down the line, it’s a flow on effect. Neither Smart Environmental or Council are initiating the rise in charges.

“The current charge of $10 per tonne, set in 2009, will increase to $20 per tonne this July, to $30 per tonne in July 2022, and move to $60 per tonne in 2024 for landfills.”

Central government committed to make half of the funds from the waste levy available to councils through a contestable national fund. Councils can apply for funds to implement waste minimisation activities and initiatives at a local level.

“We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Environment to access this fund to support waste minimisation initiatives in the district. Residents are welcome to contribute their thoughts about waste minimisation through the Long Term Plan consultation processes which ends on 18 May.”

Other additional costs for disposing of refuse at landfills are driven by increasing charges under the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).  The ETS dictates that landfill operators must meet stricter regulatory compliance guidelines which add to landfill charges.

Mr de Boer says: “The best way for residents to manage the ongoing price increase is to reduce their waste. In the coming years, prices for disposal will continue to increase. We want our residents to be  aware and prepared for this shift.

To keep household costs down residents are encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle. To assist residents, Council has updated its website with information, resources and ways  to manage waste.”

Council encouraged residents to visit council’s website and like their new Facebook page @RRRBuller to keep up to date, get inspired and informed about how to minimise waste.

Reducing waste in the first place by saying no to unnecessary single – use items, making sound purchase decisions and avoiding materials that cannot be recycled like plastic straws.

Other useful tips to avoid waste are avoiding takeaways containers, enjoy dine-in, purchasing bulk food without using plastic bags. Make your own food at home, like biscuits, sauces, yogurt or bread is another way to reduce waste and be healthier.

Reusing items that can be reused like spray bottles, using reusable takeaway containers, using a reusable bottle water, using containers for storing food, or starting a compost at home using the food waste scraps will utilize your cardboards and paper.

Recycling material properly by following the rules of the district’s recycling system. All materials need to be clean, rinsed and lids off to be recycled.


further information please contact:
Eric de Boer

Photo: Nelson’s York Valley landfill is the terminal destination for most of Buller’ refuse


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