Frequently Asked Questions

Why are prices going up?

The price adjustments reflect increasing labour and supply chain costs, and in particular, higher charges from recent Government regulation changes (such as increases in the waste disposal levy and price of carbon under the revised Emissions Trading Scheme). While we are continually improving operational efficiencies and try to absorb the cost pressures where we can, unfortunately we need to apply price adjustments where applicable.

What is the current Waste Levy?

Currently, the Government applies a levy on waste disposed at municipal landfills (i.e. those disposal facilities that take household waste) of $10 per tonne (excluding GST). The Government imposes this levy to raise revenue for promoting and achieving waste minimisation.

What is changing?

To further encourage waste minimisation and prevent waste generation, the Government is increasing and expanding the Waste Disposal Levy from 1 July 2021. This means it will become more expensive to dispose of waste at landfill.

Why is the Government increasing the Waste Levy?

Along with other proposed changes, such as product stewardship schemes, the aim is to further encourage New Zealander’s to start taking responsibility for the waste they produce and to find more effective and efficient ways to reduce, reuse, recycle or reprocess waste.

What are the levy funds used for?

Half of the funds raised goes to city and district councils to spend on promoting or achieving the waste minimisation activities set out in their Waste Management and Minimisation Plans (WMMPs). The remaining money (minus administration costs) is put into the Waste Minimisation Fund. The Fund is for waste minimisation activities in New Zealand, such as building New Zealand based recycling infrastructure. The Government is currently developing a long-term strategy for managing New Zealand’s waste outcomes and how the increased revenue will be spent.

What will the new Waste Levy be?

n July 2021, the levy for municipal landfills will increase from $10 to $20 per tonne. In July 2022 the levy will expand to cover construction and demolition fills, and in July 2023 it will expand further to cover managed fills and controlled fills. By July 2024 there will be a levy of $60 per tonne for all waste disposed of at a municipal landfill.

Disposal facility operators must pay the levy based on the weight of material disposed of at their facility. However, they may pass this cost on to the waste producer, such as households and businesses.

Waste disposal levy increase and expansion timeline
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What is the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS)?

In 2008 the Government introduced the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme to help tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the NZ ETS is to assist New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the Paris Agreement and its 2050 domestic targets.

The waste sector entered the scheme in 2013 and this resulted in an additional cost being imposed on municipal landfills, due to the greenhouse gases emitted from the (organic) waste received. Businesses in the NZ ETS are required to buy carbon credit units, known as New Zealand Units (NZU), to cover every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emissions they produce.
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In June 2020 the Government reformed the scheme through the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Act.

Increasing cost of carbon
The Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Act 2020 introduced, amongst other things, an increase to the NZU fixed price option from $25 to $35 per unit for 2020 emissions and removed the fixed price option for 2021 emissions onwards. This means NZUs must be purchased at Government NZU auctions or on the secondary market. Consequently, the price of NZU carbon credits has risen rapidly with increased demand, and we expect this trend to continue.

The rapid increase in the price landfills must pay to acquire NZUs has markedly increased the cost of waste disposal.

Why does my price differ from other customers?

Account pricing can differ for a variety of reasons such as:

Rates for local landfill disposal sites and other operational costs vary depending on the location of the bin.

Customers signed up at different times and will therefore have different rates applied at the start of their contract.

Promotional and seasonal pricing can have an impact on the rates being charged.

Will there be any exclusions from the price increases?

New Residential Direct Debit customers who joined in May and June 2021 are exempt from these increases.

Commercial customers with fixed pricing due to contractual agreements may also be exempt or receive increases only related to the regulated charges of the Waste Levy and NZ ETS.