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What can I recycle in the Buller District?

What can be recycled, and what can’t, can be confusing. It’s a little bit more so in the Buller District, as not all areas have kerbside collection.

Let's start with a simple breakdown of the system. The Buller District is divided into refuse and recycling zones.

Residents will either have kerbside collection of refuse and recycling (provided in zone one), or they will have access to transfer stations where recycling can be dropped off for free.

The important stuff

To get started, let's go through what can and what can't be recycled in Buller.

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. Yellow bins are collected fortnightly. Glass is collected in glass recycling crates (fortnightly).

Zone two is the Karamea area, from north of the Mōkihinui Bridge. Recycling can be dropped off at the Karamea Resource Recovery Centre and Disposal Facility.

Zone three is beyond Blacks Point including Springs Junction and Maruia. Recycling can be dropped off at the Maruia Landfill and Recycling Facility on SH 65, 12km from Springs Junctions, where plastics #1, #2 and #5, cardboard, paper, aluminium tins and glass are accepted if rinsed, cleaned, checked, and separated.  

The Maruia Landfill and Recycling Facility has a recycling container that has six boxes, one for plastics, one for paper/cardboard, one for cans and three for each colour of glasses (clear, brown, green).

The container can be accessed during opening hours Thursdays between 1pm - 2.30pm.   

Read more about refuse and recycling zones

  • Clear and coloured plastics marked #1, #2 and #5 - rinsed clean and lids removed. Check the number on the container.
  • Glass jars and bottles (clean)
  • Clean aluminium cans and steel tins
  • Clean paper and cardboard items bigger than an envelope, including clean pizza boxes, free from food residue. 

  • Any plastics without a recycling mark, or marked with 3, 4, 6 or 7 
  • Items made with multiple components like Tetra Paks, Pringles containers and carton packaging, laminated paper, toys, aluminium foil, compostable items, aerosol cans, disposable coffee cups 
  • Plastic bags (soft plastics) 
  • Undersized items (smaller than 50 mm), like lids and caps 
  • Plant pots (accepted at Mitre 10) 
  • E-waste (accepted at transfer stations) 
  • Polystyrene (accepted at Mitre 10) 
  • Small batteries (accepted at transfer stations and Mitre 10) 
  • Scrap metal (accepted at transfer stations)  
  • Green waste and food scraps (green waste is accepted at transfer stations) 
  • Crockery, ceramics and similar items 
  • Drinking glasses, windowpanes and car windscreens 
  • Bubble wrap

Got this? Pretty easy stuff. There are a few really important things to keep in mind to make sure your recycling does not go to landfill.

Key things to remember:

Plastics 1, 2 and 5 are only accepted if they are thoroughly rinsed and clean.

Cardboard and paper are accepted provided they are not contaminated by solid or liquid food residue. Pizza boxes are now accepted, provided they do not have any food residue. It is important to note that till receipts cannot be recycled, as they are made from material which is coated in chemicals.

Aluminium cans and steel tins are accepted, although any food residue will prevent them from being recycled. You need to rinse, clean, and check. The same applies to glass.

Top things that can’t be recycled

There are a few common items that shouldn’t go into your recycling bin but are commonly found in recycling across New Zealand.

  • Paper cups
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Tissues
  • Till receipts
  • Juice cartons
  • Coffee cups and lids
  • Compostable bottles
  • Compostable packaging and cups.

This gives a pretty good run down on the requirements and should help you get your recycling sorted. If you want to know more, check your zone's guidelines for details (and find out where your recycling goes).

There are also some general recycling guidelines which apply to the Westport and Reefton Transfer stations, where you can drop off your recycling if necessary.

If you are still unsure, or need a reminder in your kitchen, download one of our fun infographics so you can be a yellow bin expert and recycle right.

Need to recycle items such as old batteries, e-waste, glass, and even old cars? Subject to guidelines (see below), these can be dropped off at the Westport or Reefton Transfer stations.

Mitre 10, EXPOL, Hilton Haulage and the Buller District Council have joined forces to deliver a polystyrene recycling project which enables Buller residents to prevent their waste polystyrene from going to landfill. 

There is a collection cube available in Mitre 10’s trade drive-through, where households can drop off small quantities of polystyrene, free of charge. 

Once collected, the polystyrene will be sent to Christchurch, where it will be recycled by EXPOL, a polystyrene manufacturer which incorporates recycled content into a number of its products. 

Polystyrene must meet the following criteria in order to be accepted: 

  • Each household can drop off up to 240 litres. 
  • Polystyrene must be clean. This means no dirt, food waste or residue, stickers or tape on the polystyrene. 

Read more about this exciting initiative here.

Lightbulbs shouldn't be disposed of with ordinary household waste, as they are considered hazardous. 

You can recycle all typical household lightbulb types (incandescent/LED/fluorescent) instore at Mitre 10 Westport via a collection box located in the lighting section.

Mitre 10 have partnered with Interwaste to reduce waste to landfill - depending on the type, up to 100% of each lightbulb can be recycled.

Used lightbulbs are sent to a recycler, where the lightbulbs are broken down - the components are then used as raw materials for other products.

This scheme is for household quantities of lightbulbs only - trade customers, please contact Interwaste on 0800 102 131. 

See here for more information.

Agrecovery collection sites are available in both Westport and Reefton, for free drop-off of rinsed agrichemical containers up to 60L in size.Collection centres are based at Farmlands Westport, and the Reefton Transfer Station.

Opening hours:

  • Reefton Transfer Station: Tuesdays and Thursday to Sunday, 1pm-4pm
  • Farmlands Westport: Monday – Friday 8am-5pm. Saturday 9am – 12pm

Go to our Agrichemical container recycling page to find out more.

It is free to dispose of electronic waste in Buller for individuals and small businesses. E-waste is a broad term covering a wide range of products that are powered by electricity via cords or batteries - any electrical product that is unwanted or has reached the end of its useful life.

You can drop off your e-waste at the Westport or Reefton Transfer station during opening hours.

Fridges and freezers can also be disposed of for free. They are accepted at the Westport Transfer Station only.

Did you know? Research shows that Kiwis get their recycling right 85% of the time. Join the ‘get it right’ team and make sure your recycling doesn’t end up going to the dump.