Councils across the country are asking the government to increase the fee for dumping rubbish in landfills.
This could see the cost of dumping a carload of rubbish rise fourfold from about $10 to $40.
The government fee is pooled in a fund that councils can apply to in order to build things such as recycling plants.
Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull told Nine to Noon this pool should be be increased so councils could provide alternatives to dumping waste in landfills.
"Grade A landfills cost millions of dollars to set up, and then they cost to operate, and at the same time we're dumping stuff in them that could be utilised and put back in to a circular economy or dealt with by much more rational means."
The number of landfills the levy applied to also needed to increase, he said.
"At the moment less than 50 percent of the waste that is disposed of in New Zealand goes into those landfills that actually attract the levy. So there are two things that we can do, broaden it and increase it."
Mr Cull said he was frustrated at the time it was taking the new government to make a decision on raising the fee.
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said officials were already looking at a 2017 recommendation to increase the landfill fee.
Ms Sage pointed out the levy was introduced by fellow Green MP Nandor Tanczos as part of a member's bill in 2008.
"Sadly the tools in this excellent legislation haven't been implemented to their best effect over the last decade.
"Work is underway to ensure better implementation of the Act", she said.