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no significant change    NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE


The estimated total amount of waste going into landfills in the Waikato region annually increased between 2006 and 2015, but subsequently dropped back to around the 2006 amount.

This indicator is the estimated tonnage of waste to landfill per year in the Waikato region.

Why is this indicator important?

When waste ends up in our landfills, it can indicate how efficiently or inefficiently we are using our resources. This is particularly concerning when discarding reusable and recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, organic waste, glass and metal.

It’s not just the inefficient use of resources that is of concern. Some forms of waste produce greenhouse gases (which can affect climate change) and others can have significant health impacts on humans and animals. We also need to manage our waste effectively to avoid it polluting the Waikato region’s waterways, air and land.

Monitoring what’s being thrown out and what’s being recycled can inform territorial councils’ waste management and minimisation plans including identifying what extra support people need to make waste reduction easier. It can also help councils to focus how they provide the right information and education to people in the Waikato region to increase awareness about effective use (and reuse) of resources and the actions they can take to do this. 

Bar graph showing waste management in the Waikato region

Year Waste to landfill (tonnes)
2006 222,000
2012 226,887
2015 228,723
2017 220,741


What is this indicator telling us?

  • The amount of municipal waste generated in a country is related to the rate of urbanisation, types and patterns of consumption, household revenue and lifestyles.

  • An estimated 220,741 tonnes of waste was disposed of to landfill in 2017 from the Waikato region, along with more than twice that amount being disposed of to other land disposal sites (e.g. cleanfill and industrial fills).

  • The annual quantity of waste being disposed from the Waikato region increased from 2006 to 2015, and then decreased by 8,000 tonnes in 2017.

  • Organic waste was the largest single component of waste to landfill from the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region, being an estimated 31% of the total.

  • According to OECD data on municipal waste amounts per capita, New Zealand has one of the highest levels of municipal waste in the OECD. In 2016, New Zealand recorded 731 kg per capita of municipal waste compared to the OECD average of 523.

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.

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The 2006, 2012 and 2017 figures were taken from Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regions Waste Stocktake, prepared for Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regional Councils by Waste Not Consulting and Eunomia Research & Consulting. The tonnage in the Stocktake was estimated using a range of sources and a limited amount of primary research. Tonnages for several of the districts were taken directly from the councils’ most recent waste assessments.

Tonnage data for 2015 was sought directly from all landfills to which waste from Waikato region is known to be taken for disposal.

There are a number of reasons for the poor waste data held by District Councils, including commercial sensitivities due to contracting out of waste management services.

These estimates are total tonnage of waste to landfill per annum (i.e. no population adjustment).

Seemingly comparable national data (assessed on a population basis) were reported in 2012 by Ministry for the Environment (MfE). No further updates of national waste data are available. 

Update details: Data available for 2006, 2012, 2015 and 2017.

Customised data request requirements: Regional data are not readily available and will therefore need to be commissioned.


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: No

Other regions: Bay of Plenty only.

New Zealand: Yes

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Secondary statistics from OECD municipal waste statistics.