Current waste issues

We're researching several categories of waste that affect Canterbury and have national relevance, including end-of-life tyres, coal tar, and treated timber.


pile of tyresBurning tyres

Burning tyres is illegal and is nationally prohibited under the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality (2004). In Canterbury, the burning of all rubber, including tyres, is prohibited under the Canterbury Air Regional Plan (CARP) rule 7.7(a).

For information on the pollutants and the possible health and environmental effects associated with them please view our tyre disposal brochure (PDF file, 132KB).

If you think someone is burning tyres, please call Environment Canterbury on 0800 765 588.

Outdoor storage of tyres 

In August 2021 the Ministry for the Environment introduced the National Environmental Standards for Storing Tyres Outdoors (NES-STO)

Depending on the volume of tyres on your property, you may require a resource consent from us for the storage of those tyres. 

Find out more about the rules for outdoor tyre storage, and to determine if you need a consent.

Tyre disposal facilities

To view district council facilities in Canterbury that accept tyres, please see the following links or look at our brochure (PDF file, 132KB).

Coal tar

coal tarCoal tar is a historical by-product of the gasworks industry, widely used as a sealant and road metal binder through the first half of the 20th Century. Its use was widespread in Christchurch, with approximately 50% of the urban pre 1985 road network affected. Coal tar is relatively stable in a situation. However, once disturbed it is highly toxic and needs to be treated as a hazardous substance.

Coal tar contains high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are an eco-toxin and can be a risk to human health. Environment Canterbury is working closely with Christchurch City Council to ensure discovered coal tar is treated appropriately.

For more information or concerns relating to a coal tar discovery, please contact customer services on 03 353 9007 or email

Treated timber

pile of treated timberTreated timber is a hazardous waste and currently the only viable option for its disposal in Canterbury is landfilling.

Not only is this costly, but we also get nothing back from this waste. We don't reuse, recycle or recover energy from it because of the difficulty of dealing with the treatment of chemicals in the timber.

We need to look at alternative options in Canterbury, and wider New Zealand, which aim to reuse, recycle or recover energy from treated timber and start using this waste as a resource.

Treated Timber Waste Minimisation Project

The Treated Timber Waste Minimisation Project was completed in December 2013.

It tested the feasibility of, and subsequently developed, a sustainable business model for the large scale collection and reuse, recycling and/or recovery of hazardous treated timber waste.

It had a particular focus on earthquake-related building and demolition waste.

The Government's Waste Minimisation Fund provided $145,000 towards the total project cost of $190,900.

Environment Canterbury, the Building Research Association of New Zealand, Scion, and the Canterbury Waste Joint Committee also contributed to the cost of the project.

Project documents

Industry overview
A situation analysis and overview of the current waste treated timber industry and potential applications for treated timber waste. 
International industry trends
An overview of key international trends and technological developments in the treated timber waste industry and how the application of different elements of these might work in New Zealand.
Potential scenarios
A report detailing potential new waste treated timber collection and reuse, recycling and/or recovery systems for application in New Zealand, and the risks, financial implications, and potential benefits of each scenario.
Timber identification tool development
A report providing an overview of international research related to treated timber waste identification on demolition and/or waste processing sites; and a feasibility study on the application of this research to create a tool or toolkit suitable for use in New Zealand.
Detailed business cases
Detailed business cases and stakeholder collaboration for each preferred scenario, including pilot trial plans.
Pilot trials
A final report detailing pilot processes and outcomes, scenario details, and an implementation plan for the preferred option.
Project update report
A brief update on the progress of the potential waste treated timber solution providers.