On this page: why we need to reduce waste, cost of waste, zero waste, what we are doing, find out more
As a region we are producing more waste than ever before. Waste disposal is expensive and can cause environmental problems. The best way to reduce the effect of rubbish on our environment and our economy is for each of us to reduce the amount of waste we produce. You can do this by using resources more efficiently, recycling and composting organic waste.
Why we need to reduce waste
As industrial activities expand and our population increases we are using more resources and generating more waste. However, much of our waste could be:
- reused - for example, taking old books and toys to your local kindergarten
- recycled - for example, cans, paper and some plastics
- composted - if organic, for example, hedge and lawn clippings.
Waste disposal is expensive and can cause environmental problems. The less waste we produce, the less we need to dispose of, and the more we use our resources sustainably.
The cost of waste
Each item we throw away is a waste of resources and a cost to the economy. Most of our waste ends up in a landfill. Besides costing us money, landfills have other side-effects, such as:
- offensive smells
- being a visual eyesore
- waste products leaking into the environment
- possible effects on people’s health.
The ‘New Zealand Waste Strategy’ was launched by the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand in March 2002.
The Government’s vision is for zero waste and a sustainable New Zealand. This means using our resources more efficiently and lowering the costs and risks associated with waste.
The strategy sets a range of targets for waste minimisation. Most of these targets relate to city and district councils' responsibilities for waste management, but some relate to regional councils.
Copies of the strategy are available from the Ministry for the Environment.
What we are doing
In 2003 Waikato Regional Council released its Waste Management Strategy for the Waikato region. The strategy sets out how Waikato Regional Council can help the city and district councils and local communities achieve their waste minimisation goals.
For example, Waikato Regional Council helps the city and district councils to encourage waste reduction through the Waste Exchange.
The Local Government Act requires district and city councils to put waste management plans in place, based on the ‘waste minimisation hierarchy’ – the 'three Rs':
- first reduce waste
- then re-use items
- then recycle them into something else
and only then dispose of what’s left.
Find out more about the three Rs of the ‘waste minimisation hierarchy’.
We’re also committed to setting waste reduction targets, based on the figures established by surveys of public waste.
Find out more
Find out how you can reduce household and business waste, and check out where your local recycling facilities are located.
Find out what people in the Waikato region are doing to reduce the amount of waste they produce.
Check out the following sites for more ways you can reduce waste:
- Zero Waste New Zealand
- Ministry for the Environment (MfE)
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)
- New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD)
- Waste Exchange