Our 2020 Waste Minimisation and Management Plan provides the strategic direction for managing Christchurch’s resource recovery activities for the next six years.

We need to think differently about waste and look for new ways to re-use the things we currently throw away.  We all  – Central Government, Council, individuals, businesses and the industry – need to do our part to reduce waste and look after the environment for future generations. 

The 2020 Waste Management and Minimisation Plan [PDF, 3.8 MB] provides the strategic direction for waste management in Christchurch for the next six years. Our vision is that Ōtautahi-Christchurch is a sustainable city, working towards zero waste and a circular economy.

Achieving the vision

Open the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2020(external link)

The key methods that we will use to achieve the vision are:

  • Supporting and leveraging Central Government’s work programme
  • Service delivery review
  • Council’s action plan
  • Working together

Supporting and leveraging Central Government’s work programme

The Government is investing in resource recovery infrastructure including $16.8 million in funding for EcoCentral to update the optical and mechanical sorting machines used at the Materials Recovery Facility.

Central Government’s work programme on waste has a number of key components, as outlined in Appendix A of the plan. It addresses key issues across the sector including producer responsibility, incentives to reduce waste disposal, national consistency and better value resources.

We are working closely with Central Government and industry to develop the design and implementation of areas within the work programme. 

Service delivery review

Section 17A of the Local Government Act outlines the requirements of local authorities to regularly review their services.  The review is focused on governance, funding and delivery options that help improve cost effectiveness.In June 2020, the Council decided to carry out a service delivery review of solid waste services.  The review is expected to start in October 2020 with final recommendations going to the Finance and Performance Committee.  

The challenges facing solid waste services have been identified during the development of this plan and a number of actions required to fulfil the vision can be delivered through the s17A review process including:

  • Funding mechanisms designed to support and incentivise waste minimisation
  • Review of the current kerbside collection including opportunities for increased flexibility for bin sizes and separated glass collection
  • Opportunities to increase the quantity and viable inputs for organics processing
  • Expansion of education to schools and organisations

Council's action plan

The detailed action plan is a living document that is updated regularly.  Along with the service delivery review, this outlines key activities towards achieving the objectives of Te mahere whakahaerenga para, Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2020.

The action plan is grouped into five key themes:

  • Maximising composting of organics
  • Maximising recycling of recyclable materials
  • Safe management of hazardous substances
  • Leadership and innovation in the Christchurch waste and resource recovery sector
  • Effective resource recovery education and communications 

Within the themes are 28 actions that have been approved for the current financial year.  A summary of each is provided below.

Maximising composting of organics

Action Description Status
1. Improve operations at the organics processing plant to accept more products, address processing capacity and odour challenges Under development
2. Improve access to Council organics services Under development
3.  Identify new collection systems for inner-city organics  Under development

Maximising recycling of recyclables

Action  Description Status

Work with central Government on developing their waste work programme

  • Affiliate with Canterbury Waste Joint Committee WasteMINZ. Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM)
  • Provide representation in central Government working groups and advisory groups


 5. Identify new collection systems for inner city recycling Under development

Support onshore processing of recycling, including solutions for glass, mixed plastic and paper

  •  Work with central Government work programme, through the resource recovery taskforce. e.g. development of the national Container Return Scheme (CRS)

Council work programme to manage contamination (<10%) 

  • Deliver proven targeted behavioural change programmes, based on effectiveness (ongoing)
  • Continue to promote diversion services at transfer stations (ongoing)
  • Biennial Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) open day (run by contractor) 
  • Promote re-use of materials (e.g. EcoShop, second hand goods)
Expand existing programme

Safe management of hazardous substances

Action Description Status
8. Promote safe disposal options for hazardous materials
  • Promote facilities at council transfer stations
  • Biannual education programme regarding hazardous substances in the kerbside collection system
  • Annual household hazardous waste collection day for Banks Peninsula (collaboration with Agrecovery in 2020)
  • Degassing of used whiteware (ozone depleting substances)
9. Expand the collection and recovery of handheld batteries based on the successful Christchurch pilot
  • Lobby central Government development of product stewardship schemes for batteries and other priority products
  • Work with industry, WasteMINZ and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to develop safe disposal and collection systems
Under development
10. Safely manage all former landfills for ongoing environmental protection
  • Manage the liability associated with former landfills including appropriate risk screening and remediation of at-risk sites 
11.  Regulate waste operations within Christchurch, utilising the Solid Waste Bylaw 2015
  • Provide a robust licensing system for disposal sites, and advice for waste operators wanting to start-up in the area
Increase focus and coordination
12. Adopt a regional approach to litter and illegal dumping
  • Work with our internal stakeholders to co-ordinate an effective litter management programme, aligning with regional approach
Expand existing programme

Leadership and innovation

Action Description Status

Work with industry to promote waste minimisation and resource efficiency across the commercial sector

  • Continue to provide resource efficiency and sustainability advice (Target Sustainability and Eco Advisor services)
  • Continue to promote and fund innovation in the waste and resource recovery sector through the Canterbury Waste Joint Committee’s annual contestable waste minimisation fund
  • Identify waste reduction opportunities across commercial sector
Expand existing programme
14. Collaborate with Papatipu Rūnanga and organisations, to support a regional transition to zero waste and a circular economy To initiate
15. Support for community and environmental organisations through funding schemes and programmes  Expand existing programme
16.  Promote and fund innovation in the waste and resource recovery sector through the Canterbury Waste Joint Committee’s annual contestable waste minimisation fund Expand existing programme

Collaborate with CWJC for regional outcomesCollaborate with CWJC for regional outcomes

  • In response to changes in the sector, collaborate regionally to address emerging risk and issues
  • Work with CWJC member councils to establish shared objectives, including resilience planning - working with Environment Canterbury and neighbouring councils to address shared risks
  • Deliver a shared waste data, marketing and communications strategy
Increase focus and coordination

Lobby central Government on continued work programme for waste

  • Including development of product stewardship schemes and the proposed Container Return Scheme
  • Work with central Government, WasteMINZ and associated groups to lobby for product stewardship
19. Work with stakeholders to promote a circular economy To initiate 
20. Service delivery review (Funding mechanisms to support and incentivise waste minimisation and collection models) Initiation

Embrace new technology for a better resource recovery system and promote a circular economy

  • Utilise technology across our collection network to support efficient service provision, including: RFID kerbside binsUtilise technology across our collection network to support efficient service provision, including: RFID kerbside bins
  • Use information from collections and contamination reporting to inform targeted education and non-collection of contaminated bins

Address Climate Change emissions targets

  • The waste, recycling and organics facilities we provide support our climate change targets of zero net greenhouse gas emissions, along with a 50 per cent reduction from 2016 baseline for methane, by 2045 
Under development

Procurement processes that focus on waste reduction

  • Target Sustainability service – working with our suppliers and lessees of Council facilities and infrastructure, to encourage waste reduction

Effective resource recovery education and communications

Action Description Status

Increase communication and incentives for keeping waste out of landfill

  • Updating the Kerbside mobile application
  • Kerbside auditing programme
  • Review charging mechanisms for waste services 
Expand existing programme

Continuous improvement of behavioural change programmes

  • Continue to support and promote education programmes, including:
    • Waste Free council events
    • Love Food Hate Waste campaign  
Expand existing programme

Provision of school targeted education

  • Deliver Learning outside the Classroom (LOTC) programmes
  • Ensure correct messages are provided to our schools
  • Support access to resource recovery sites – e.g. bus to the EcoDrop and site open days
Expand existing programme 

Provision of education via Council facilities

  • Delivery of sustainability education to preschools via libraries and storytimes
  • Support community waste reduction initiatives at council facilities through advertising and space provision
Expand existing programme 

Create a common language around valuing our resources

  • Provide accessible information through a variety of methods, including using new technology, to communicate messages
  • Development of app, game and work with Smart Cities
  • Address communication diversity across the community
To initiate

Full detailed action plan [PDF, 38 KB]

Working together 

As well as maximising opportunities provided through the Government’s work programme for waste, we need to work with Papatipu Rūnanga, local organisations and other councils to reduce our dependence on international markets for recyclable materials and invest in infrastructure for local solutions.  Regional and national collaboration will be essential to minimise waste and achieve our vision for a sustainable Ōtautahi Christchurch, working towards zero waste and a circular economy. 

Developing innovative approaches to managing waste is critical to maximising the use of existing resources and developing viable alternatives to landfill.  As a local Council, we‘re responsible for managing waste that our communities produce.  In addition, we’re able to act as a facilitator, helping the community to:

  • Create an environment to more effectively manage resources
  • Reduce the waste produced by individual households and organisations

We work closely with other public sector partners and community organisations to develop and support initiatives that support our vision towards zero waste and a circular economy. Some of our partnerships include:

  • Central Government
  • Papatipu Rūnanga
  • Other local authorities and the Canterbury Waste Joint Committee
  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Industry representatives, including WasteMINZ, Local Government New Zealand, our contractors, other waste providers and new and emerging technologies
  • Research organisations and consultants, including universities, research institutes and sector interest groups
  • Community groups and Non-Governmental Organisations

By working together, we can better understand the challenges and opportunities to re-think our current approach to resource use and develop a collective foundation for change.

Further information

Waste management and minimisation Blue Sky Scan 

Waste management and minimisation Blue Sky Scan 

in 2019, we commissioned Arup to undertake a scenario planning exercise to inform and future-proof this plan. Local and global trends were identified to develop a set of conceptual future scenarios. This led to four possible scenarios, as well as 11 recommendations for us to consider when preparing this plan.

Two key variables were identified:

  • Christchurch being integral in driving future change for the region and how collaboratively we work with surrounding councils to allow scalable solutions
  • whether business models change to be more circular or not.

This enabled four possible scenarios to be developed to stimulate thinking on where we are potentially heading (see below), as well as eleven high-level recommendations that have been considered as part of the action plan.

High-level recommendations. 

1.       Create a common language to replace traditional discussions about waste

2.       Act as a matchmaker to create a community to share industrial products

3.       Continue the education programme but increase the reach

4.       As a council, lead by example by going zero waste

5.       Review recyclable quantities and evaluate which products should be locally processed

6.       Explore synergies between multiple essential services such as wastewater and waste

7.       Review opportunities for energy from waste as part of a long-term overall solution

8.       Promote and embrace product stewardship schemes

9.       Implement procurement policies for single-use plastics and limit imports for problem waste

10.   Reduced planned obsolesce and create repair shops and tool libraries

11.   Develop data solutions for customer profiling and waste collection analytics

Waste to energy study

In 2017, we commissioned Just Add Lime to undertake a programme business case. This was aimed at better understanding the disruption and the potential impact on waste and recycling operations, and to explore opportunities that best manage Christchurch’s waste and recycling in the future.

Two problems were identified, which have been recognised and are addressed within this plan:

  • Council’s waste and recycling system is fragmented and involves a number of suppliers delivering discrete services, often resulting in duplication, and competing objectives and drivers.
  • The fundamental shift occurring in the global waste and recyclable markets, including countries no longer processing global waste and recyclables, increasing market volatility, and increasing customer awareness of waste and recycling practices.

Options were developed to address these problems. The recommended programme utilises waste to energy processes to manage waste and recycling. This is based on three components:

  • Recovering energy from the city’s waste and recycling
  • Improving operational efficiency and effectiveness
  • Developing incentives to encourage waste minimisation

The expected outcomes include reducing the volume of waste and recyclables going to landfill by 70 per cent and applying principles of kaitiakitanga and best practice to sustainably managing the city’s waste and recycling.

Our next steps include deciding whether to proceed with a detailed business case, exploring the financial costs in greater detail as each waste to energy option is considered.

The estimated investment required for the recommended programme is dependent on the type of waste-to-energy process selected for Christchurch. Further, the detailed business case will identify different delivery options; including partnerships with industry, which could be used to manage our financial and risk exposure.

Plastics recycling codes