Buller District Council

New waste compactor boosts Karamea’s waste management

30th November, 2021

The Karamea Recycling Centre received a waste compactor last week through a partnership between the Karamea Waste Management Group (KWMG), Buller District Council (BDC), and WestReef Services Ltd,

The new waste compactor compresses and bales plastics 1, 2 and 5, cardboard and paper, as well as aluminum and steel cans. This means the material can be transported in a compressed form. This reduces the freight costs to move recycling from Karamea to other places around the country.

Hamish Macbeth from KWMG says: “Over the last year, more and more people dropped off cleaned, unsquashed, and de-lidded plastic at the Karamea Recycling Centre. The staff sorted the material by hand and put it into sacks to be taken to recycling processing facilities around the South Island.

Sending out about 80% air with each load of recycling seemed really unsustainable. The KWMG was looking for a way to reduce the number of trips and the best way was to reduce the volume.”

Through the Council Led Revitalisation Fund, the KWMG sourced a waste compactor from New Zealand based global leading waste baler and compactor producer; Mil-tek.

Mr Macbeth says: “Mil-tek’s compactor is an amazing addition to Karamea’s waste reduction and recycling efforts. This would not have been possible without the initiative from our group’s members, and the support from BDC and WestReef Service Ltd.”

WestReef staff, Karamea landfill staff, and various Karamea KWMG volunteers were inducted on the safe operation of the new recycling waste compactor by Mil-tek staff last week.

Council’s manager infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says the initiative highlights that getting recycling right is a two-way street.

“Council and its partners work hard to provide the necessary waste management infrastructure, processes, and information. But this is only effective if the community follows recycling guidelines, ensures the material is clean and sorted to that it can be processed and deemed recyclable.”

Council, KWMG, and WestReef Services Ltd thank everyone in the Karamea area who is helping to reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill by recycling correctly.

Mr de Boer says: “Initiatives like this, combined with residents following the recycling guidelines are big achievements for small communities like Karamea and over time will result in reducing Buller’s waste footprint.”

Council encourages residents to visit council’s website and like their new Facebook page @RRRBuller to keep up to date, get inspired and informed about local recycling guidelines.


Council manages three waste management zones in the Buller District. The area north of the Mokihinui Bridge including Karamea belongs to zone two.

In zone two recycling needs to be dropped off at the Karamea Recycling Centre. From there it is trucked to recycling facilities around the South Island for further processing.

There is no kerbside collection in zone two, refuse is disposed of in the Karamea Landfill which is operated by council’s contractor WestReef Services Ltd.

The KWMG formed in 2013 to work with council with the aim of improving the management of waste and recycling in Karamea.


Further information and contacts:
Solid waste coordinator
Juliana Ruiz

Photo: The new waste compacter at the Karamea Recycling Centre


Photo: A bale of compressed plastic recycling ready for transport


Live Cam