Recycling is a big part of our culture in New Zealand, and many of us actively look for products contained in packaging that can be recycled. In New Zealand, different regions have varying capabilities when it comes to what can be recycled. Typically glass, cardboard, aluminium, tin, and some plastic is widely accepted. Depending on your location will change the type of plastic that is able to be recycled. Some towns accept all types of plastic from 1 – 7, whereas others will only accept plastic types 1 and 2.
What happens to the recycling?
- Glass is recycled within NZ. It is mainly turned into Glasscrete and Glassphalt that is used when making roads
- Paper and cardboard are recycled either in NZ or in Asia and made into news print, writing paper, tissue, corrugated cardboard, egg cartons and fruit trays
- Hard plastic is sent to either Australia or Southeast Asia or processed here in NZ. It is made into anything and everything plastic – slides, recycling bins, fence posts, outdoor furniture amongst some of the items
- Aluminum is recycled in NZ and Asia, and is considered one of the best materials to recycle because it can be recycled many times
- Steel is made into food cans, wire and building materials in NZ or Asia
Because New Zealand is relatively small on the world scale, we do not produce as much recycling material as many other countries. This is why a great deal of our recycling is transported overseas.
It is believed that it has less of an environmental impact than manufacturing and running additional recycling plants in New Zealand.