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Refuse and recycling zones

The Buller District is divided into three zones for recycling and refuse. Each of these zones has their specific guidelines for recycling and refuse.

  • Zone one covers Westport, the areas from Westport to the Mōkihinui Bridge, Westport to Punakaiki, Westport to Reefton including Blacks Point, and Reefton to Ikamatua.
  • Zone two is the Karamea area, from north of the Mokihinui Bridge.
  • Zone three is beyond Blacks Point including Springs Junction and Maruia.

Is your property in zone one and eligible for recycling collection?

Use this map and find out what day and week to put your glass crate and wheelie bin on the street.

There’s a great deal that you can do to reduce waste and recycling is key. Although we don’t have any processing facilities here in Buller, we collect recycling to be processed elsewhere. You can see below how the refuse and recycling zones work and find out more on our what can be recycled page.

Refuse is any waste or item which cannot be recycled after use. Examples are certain types of packaging, toothbrushes, clothes, household items but also tires, furniture or even car parts.

If there is no means of reusing or processing these items, they have reached their end of life and the only safe treatment is to dispose these items in a landfill.

Zone one Westport and beyond

Zone one is a managed by contractor, Smart Environmental Limited. 

Each eligible zone one property has a 45 litre crate for glass recycling and a 240 litre wheelie bin for all other recycling. They are collected fortnightly. Refuse is collected weekly. If you are new to the area or would like extra bins, you need to request a bin.

  • Refuse is collected weekly from your kerbside.
  • All refuse needs to be in an official Council bag. These can be purchased from local supermarkets.
  • Refuse is transported to the Westport transfer station where it is packed for transport.
  • All refuse generated in zone one is sent to the Nelson landfill.

When purchasing an official rubbish bag in Buller you are pre-paying for all the costs associated with disposing of your waste and there is lots in it.

This end-to-end service includes the collection from your house, the handling at the Transfer Station, the transport to Nelson with a truck, and the safe and compliant disposal of your waste at the York Valley Landfill in Nelson, as well as other related expenses.

You can imagine, your rubbish goes through many hands, travels a long way, and the process requires specialised equipment and facilities.

  • Plastics #1, #2 and #5 are only accepted if they are thoroughly rinsed and clean.
  • Cardboard and paper are accepted provided they don’t have liquid residue or food contamination. Till receipts cannot be recycled.
  • Aluminium tins and glasses once food residue prevents has been removed. You need to rinse, clean, check.
  • Please see our recycling guidelines for the full list of what can and cannot be recycled in zone one.
  • It is important that you rinse, clean, check your recycling. If items are contaminated, they will not be accepted and are disposed of as refuse, ending up in landfill.

  • In Buller, on average 37% of recycling is contaminated. This means in each 10 kg of recyclable material collected during kerbside collection, 3.7 kg is contaminated and goes to landfill.
  • Recycling bins are regularly audited using a traffic light system as part of the two-weekly recycling collection by Smart Environmental Ltd and Council staff.
  • During the collection, staff visually assess the recycling material. Based on the evaluation, employees label the bin with a green, yellow, or red tag.
  • The colour indicates how well the recycling content meets local recycling guidelines. Bins will not be collected if they are tagged red. If a bin is tagged yellow twice, it gets a red tag and will not be emptied.
  • Read our handy guide to what your coloured label means.

Our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Buller page has more guidance on recycling right.

  • Each eligible property has a 45 litre crate for glass recycling and a 240 litre wheelie bin for all other recycling. Both are collected fortnightly.
  • Recycling is transported to the Westport and Reefton transfer stations where it is checked, sorted and compacted to be sent to processing plants.
  • If you want to see what happens once your recycling arrives at the Westport transfer station watch this video.

For a quick and easy summary, or if you are new to the district and want to get a recycling bin, read our All you need to know about recycling in Buller July 2022

To find out if your property is eligible for kerbside collection head to our collection days page. You can also check this map to find your house and see what day and week to put your glass crate and wheelie bin on the street. 

Zone one is a managed by contractor, Smart Environmental Limited. If you want to set up and account or have any queries, contact Smart Environmental Limited, or phone 03 789 6427.

Zone two Karamea

Zone Two covers the Karamea area north of the Mōkihinui Bridge. This area is managed by Buller District Council.

  • Refuse is anything which after it is used cannot be reused or recycled.
  • Refuse also includes glass and cardboard which can’t be recycled in zone two.

  • There is no kerbside collection in zone two.
  • Refuse may be dropped off in a generic single black rubbish bag up to 60L.
  • The bag needs to be dropped off at the Karamea Resource Recovery Centre. Official Council bags will not be accepted at Karamea Resource Recovery Centre.
  • Refuse may also be dropped off loose in car boots, trailers or small trucks.
  • Refuse is disposed of locally in the Karamea landfill, which is operated by WestReef Services Ltd.

You can pay with Eftpos or cash. Charge accounts are only allowed for certain government institutions. See our Karamea Fees and Charges for prices.

  • Plastics #1, #2 and #5 are only accepted presuming that they are thoroughly rinsed and clean.
  • Cardboard and paper are classified as refuse and refuse charges apply.
  • Aluminium tins continue to be accepted although any food residue prevents them from being recycled. You need to rinse, clean, check.
  • Recycling needs to put in the containers provided at the Karamea Resource Recovery Centre.
  • It is important that you rinse, clean, check your recycling. If items are contaminated will be disposed of as refuse.

Recycling is transported to the Westport transfer station where it is checked, sorted and compacted to be sent to processing plants.

Opening hours for the Karamea Resource Recovery Centre and Disposal Facility:

  • Wednesday, Friday and Sunday - 9.00am to 1.00pm 

See our fees and charges for the details on pricing and what can be disposed of and/or recycled.

Queries about refuse and recycling in Karamea should go to Buller District Council phone 0800 807 239.

Zone three Maruia

Zone Three covers the area beyond Blacks Point including Springs Junction and Maruia. This area is managed by Buller District Council.

Refuse is anything that cannot be recycled after being used.

  • There is no kerbside collection in zone three.
  • Refuse needs to be dropped off at the Maruia landfill.
  • You can pay cash only.

Residents need to take their recycling to the Reefton Transfer Station where plastics #1, #2 and #5, cardboard, paper, aluminium tins and glass are accepted if rinsed, cleaned, checked.

Recycling is transported to the Westport transfer station where it is checked, sorted and compacted to be sent to processing plants.

Queries about refuse and recycling in Maruia should go to Buller District Council phone 0800 807 239.

Opening hours for the Maruia landfill:

  • Thursday - 1pm to 2:30pm

What happens with your refuse?

If you want to see what happens once your recycling arrives at the Westport Transfer Station, watch this video.