Buller District Council

Background information

Why the change ? 

The changes in Aotearoa’s/New Zealand’s recycling system are globally influenced. In the past, most of the recycling generated in New Zealand was sent to China for reprocessing. This was 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 (transfer station) was forced to store all mixed plastics (plastics different to #1, #2 and #5), waiting for a solution.

However, by the end of 2020, no solution to process this plastic inside Aoteaora/NZ was found, so Council and its contractor made the decision to only collect plastics numbered #1, #2 and #5, which can be recycled. Any plastics with other numbers on them are trucked to Nelson and disposed of in a 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 Aotearoa/New Zealand.  Any over-supply is being stored to possibly send overseas for reprocessing when a cost benefit analysis stacks up.

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. Council’s approach at the moment 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