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Reducing waste

recycled glass being sorted into clear, brown and green bins

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.

Resource Recovery Networks: possibilities for innovation

Resource Recovery Networks are made up of organisations and operations focused on diverting waste from landfill. They may include community recycling centres, large private waste processing companies, second-hand shops, upcycling enterprises and resource recovery parks.

In collaboration with the Wintec Innovation Symposium, Waikato Regional Council is proud to be sponsoring a one day workshop exploring the potential for further developing Resource Recovery Networks across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty and what your role might be.

This unique event is an ideal opportunity for council officers, social entrepreneurs, community organisations and private industry, to learn more about Resource Recovery Networks. We will be exploring their positive effects on waste diversion, employment creation, and local economic development in New Zealand and Australia. As well as discuss how you might get involved locally.  

When: Thursday 6 July, 9am – 4pm

Where: Wintec – city campus

Cost: Standard price $80*  


* We have a limited amount of tickets available for community organisations for whom cost is a barrier to attend. Please email

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:

  • noise
  • offensive smells
  • being a visual eyesore
  • waste products leaking into the environment
  • possible effects on people’s health.

Zero waste

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':

  1. first reduce waste
  2. then re-use items
  3. then recycle them into something else

and only then dispose of what’s left.

We’re also committed to setting waste reduction targets, based on the figures established by surveys of public waste.

Find out more about reducing waste

Business waste

Household waste

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)