Creating jobs in the waste reduction sector is the focus of the latest application round for New Zealand’s Waste Minimisation Fund.
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said the fund would prioritise projects focused on food rescue and distribution, supporting existing waste sector organisations and advancing product stewardship.
“COVID-19 has challenged businesses and organisations in the waste and materials recovery sector. This year’s funding round, with up to $8 million available for grants, focuses on addressing immediate needs and upgrading waste systems so they are resilient for the future,” she said.
“A priority for all projects will be to demonstrate how they will support more jobs. This year we are looking for 10 to 20 projects of strategic importance to waste minimisation as New Zealand responds to COVID-19.”
According to Ms Sage, the Waste Minimisation Fund links with the Federal Government’s plan to invest in projects designed to reduce, reuse and recycle and ensure New Zealand has a leading track record on waste.
“Since 2008, more than $300 million of landfill levy revenue has been invested into more than 200 waste reduction projects and initiatives through the Waste Minimisation Fund, and distributed to councils to support waste minimisation,” she said.
Examples of Waste Minimisation Fund projects include the rural recycling programme Agrecovery, which enables farmers and growers to more easily recycle or safely dispose of on-farm waste under a voluntary product stewardship scheme.
Additionally, Māori waste movement Para Kore has received almost $2 million through the fund over the past decade.
“From a beginning in three Waikato marae, it now delivers education and training on recycling and how to minimise waste to more than 400 marae, kura and Māori organisations throughout the North Island,” Ms Sage said.
The Waste Minimisation Fund is funded through New Zealand’s waste levy and was introduced under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
Under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, 50 per cent of levy revenue is distributed to councils to spend in accordance with their Waste Management and Minimisation Plans.
The remainder – minus administration costs – is used for the Waste Minimisation Fund, which is managed by the Ministry for the Environment.