Where your recycling goes

Recycling is collected from the kerbside by Envirowaste and taken to one of Oji Fibre Solutions’ sorting and baling plants in Seaview. It is then sorted into big bins and baled ready for transport.


  • Clear PET (Plastic Grade 1) – for example, plastic clear bottles and clear containers  is processed in Wellington by Flight Group Ltd. These are recycled into food grade packaging.
  • White and coloured HDPE (Plastic Grade 2) – for example, milk, bathroom and laundry bottles – goes preferentially to Astron Recycling – Pact Group in Auckland or Aotearoa NZ Made in Palmerston North to be reprocessed into plastic feedstock. It may go offshore for recycling on occasions where local markets are saturated.
  • Natural HDPE (opaque milk bottles, Plastic Grade 2) is currently sent overseas for recycling and is reprocessed into plastic pellets which will be used in manufacturing new products.
  • Polypropylene (Plastic Grade 5) goes to Aotearoa NZ Made in Palmerston North where it is granulated and made into new products.
  • Coloured PET (Plastic Grade 1) is not currently sorted but this product is expected to be added to the sortline in 2023, to enable recycling, with support from the Ministry for the Environment’s Plastics Innovation Fund.

We are working hard to find partners within New Zealand who can process our recyclables into new materials, so in future we won’t need to send anything overseas.

Cans and tins

Aluminium and steel cans go to Macaulay Metals, and are then sent overseas to be reprocessed.


The colour sorted glass goes to O-I New Zealand, in Auckland. The glass is then mixed with other raw materials and fed into a furnace where it is melted down to make bottles and jars.

Paper and cardboard

  • Paper goes to the Oji Fibre Solutions mill in Penrose, Auckland (this mill uses 100% recovered paper to make corrugated cardboard).
  • Cardboard goes to the Oji Fibre Solutions mill in Kinleith, Tokoroa (this mill uses recycled cardboard and new wood fibres to make new cardboard).
Image of conveyer belt at Oji recycling plant in Seaview
Recycling sorting plant in Toop Road, Seaview

Soft plastic

When recycling is collected there needs to be a viable market available for the materials to be sold on. Soft plastic is very cheap to make and buy new, so there isn’t much demand for the materials to be recycled on.

The Packaging Forum have a soft plastic recycling scheme which is 100% industry funded. Find out more about the scheme, and the location of your nearest drop-off point at The Packaging Forum

What happens to non-recyclables that are collected?

Any item that is collected and can’t be recycled is separated out and sent to landfill. Key issues the recycling team report are:

  • Glass being put in the bags and wheelie bins instead of the crates, and plastic being put in the crates with glass.
  • Polystyrene and food are the two most common contaminates found in the bins and bags – food like pizza in pizza boxes, or food left in plastic food containers. If the contamination is bad the recycling won’t be collected at all and the resident will be notified with a sticker on the bin.