Waikato Regional Council has made a detailed submission to the government calling for funding to be made available for local councils to support the transition to a circular economy, such as kerbside organics collections, minimising the burden to the ratepayer.
Other changes called for include a ban on materials that are not recyclable, incentivising reusables, regulation of product design in line with the waste hierarchy, and increasing the waste levy to the international best practice of $140 per tonne.
The actions proposed in the government consultation do not reflect the scale of the crisis, nor the urgency of the transformation required.
A number of suggestions have been made by the council on what would enable society and local government to action circular economy transition.
Actions and investments must be prioritised at the top of the waste hierarchy in alignment with circular economy principles.
This should place increased responsibility on producers, manufacturers, retailers and industry, rather than emphasising actions around consumers, the council’s submission says.
New Zealand is one of the highest generators of waste per person in the world, which impacts on the environment and contributes to climate change. Waste services are not equitable across the country or even within the Waikato region
Other suggestions councillors agreed is that it needs to be easy for everyone to make the right choice, and there’s a great opportunity for households to be subsidised to have worm farms, and waste audits for businesses such as restaurants should also be part-funded.
Just as it does already in the Waikato, the submission calls for every regional council to have a role in waste prevention – providing regional coordination, an overview of strategy, bringing people and organisation together and having a unified voice. This would also be an opportunity to support enforcement and engage in regional waste operator licensing.
See the Council’s submission here