Buller District Council

Background information

Why the change ? 

The reason for these changes in the New Zealand recycle system are globally influenced. In the past most of the recycling generated in New Zealand was send to China for reprocessing.  This is because NZ has limited infrastructure for recycling.  However, since 2018 China set up its “Sword Policy” banning the importation of recycling from overseas, therefore creating an issue for all the countries that used China to reprocess their recycling.

New Zealand can only reprocess Plastics #1, #2 and #5 inside the country.  Since China set up its policy, like most of the recovery centres in New Zealand, the Westport Material Recovery Centre was forced to store all mixed plastics (plastics different to #1, #2 and #5), waiting for an solution.

However, as of the end of 2020 no solution to process this plastic inside NZ was found, so council and its contractor made the decision to no longer receive these plastics, outside of Plastics #1, #2 and #5 that can be reprocessed. This change was implemented in December 2020.  Any plastics not meeting the #1, #2 and #5 was requried to be disposed of to landfill.

In the case of mixed papers and cardboard, there are only a few reprocessing plants around the country, which cannot cope with the amount of paper and cardboard currently generated across New Zealand.  Any over supply is being stored to send overseas for reprocessing when the financial aspects allow, i.e. when the unit sale price overseas covers the cost of collection and transport.

In the case of Buller, we generate around 185 tonnes of mixed paper and cardboard a year.  This is significant, it is approx. 28% of the recycling generated in Buller.  Our initial decision is to continue receiving cardboard and mixed paper materials for now.  However, the community is strongly advised to reduce as much as possible the quantities of cardboard and paper it generates or to look at ways to compost this material at home.

Read our Media Release – Buller recycling system is changing 16 December 2020  for details on how this has impacted the Buller District.



Live Cam