What happens to my recycling?

Keen to know what happens to the material you’ve helped recycle? Here’s a summary of where it goes, and what it’s used for:

  • Your recycling is picked up by Waikato District Council and is sorted on the kerbside
  • At the Transfer Station the recycling is checked, sorted and bundled ready for shipping
  • Glass is recycled here in New Zealand. It’s mainly turned into bottles and jars but can also be made into what’s known as ‘glasscrete’ and ‘glassphalt’, which is a material used in road building.
  • Paper and cardboard can be made into newsprint, writing paper, tissue, corrugated cardboard, egg cartons and fruit trays. This is also done in New Zealand as well as Asia.
  • Our plastic is sent to Australia, China and Southeast Asia to be made into just about anything plastic can be made in to, which is a lot! Buckets, polyester fibre and wheelie bins are just some of the new forms our plastic takes.
  • Aluminium is used to make new aerosol and drink cans, while steel is made into food cans, wire and building materials in both New Zealand and Asia.
  • Since New Zealand has a relatively small population, we don’t generate a lot of recyclable material so there’s not as much demand for recycling processing facilities in this country. Countries such as China, however, have big industries and small amounts of readily available raw materials, creating a high demand for recyclables. Even though exporting our recyclables overseas means they need to be transported further, it’s often a better environmental option than using raw materials.