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Kilograms of recycled material per person, per week


Purpose of indicator

Materials diverted from landfill are most often recyclables. Recycling lessens pressure on the landfill and prolongs its expected operational life by having less material entering into it, and  allows the resource to be used a second time. Reusing a resource means less pressure on finding or creating virgin material and resources.

Current information and trend

Kilograms of recycled material per person peaked in 2007 and have shown a decrease since then as shown in figure 1. This trend is mainly due to a reduction in economic activity resulting in significantly less demolition and construction waste, such as concrete, that is heavy and often recycled. Figure 2 and table 1 show tonnes of concrete and mulch/woodwaste recycled annually. The trend in tonnes of concrete shows an 86% decrease since 2007, whilst mulch/woodwaste has only an 8% decrease. This does not mean that more is being disposed of to landfill, but rather that less is being received to be recycled.

The total amount of material recycled, in figure 3, shows the same decreasing trend as that shown in figures 1 and 2.

Chart of Trend of Concrete and mulch/woodwaste diverted from landfill
Figure 2.
Source: Rotorua District Council, 2012

Table of Percentage of Concrete and Mulch/woodwaste recycled annually
Table 1.
Source: Rotorua District Council, 2012

Image of waste diverted from landfill
Figure 3
Source: Rotorua District Council, 2012

Rotorua District Council is responsible for waste management under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. The Rotorua Waste Minimisation Strategy 2010 includes the following: 

  • Waste reduction through education, information brochures, internet resources, and providing support for commerce and industry through the Cleaner Production Programme.
  • Re-use and Recycle is promoted by recycling drop-off centres in town, at Rotorua’s (Atiamuri) Landfill and at rural transfer stations. The landfill also has a concrete crushing facility and a whiteware, scrap metal, tyres, timber, paint, greenwaste and vehicle recycling/ separation area.
  • Recovery involves extracting materials or energy from waste. Greenwaste is shredded and mulched. Approximately 5% of sludge from the Wastewater Treatment Plant is currently being disposed of to landfill with the bulk being diverted to Kawerau for vermicast trialling. The Waste 2 Gold Programme, renamed TERAXTM, has been working towards using organic waste such as the sludge for production of ethanol to dose the treatment plant, and other useful products such as biofuel and cleaning products.
  • Treatment and disposal of residual waste is provided for via weekly refuse collections from urban areas and twice weekly collections from the Rotorua Central Business District. Four transfer stations are located at Mamaku, Reporoa, Tarawera and Okere.

These strategies all impact on the amount and type of recycling that is received for processing, and whether it is disposed of to landfill or taken to a recycling facility.

In 2010 Rotorua District Council (RDC) consulted on its Waste Management and Minimisation Plan proposals. Approximately 4000 submissions were received on recycling with 87% favouring an upgrade of existing Rotorua recycling services, despite an ongoing debate on kerbside versus ‘in town’ recycling.

The Rotorua Recycling Centre upgrade ensures a safer environment for users, improved traffic management, extended collection capacity, a new e-waste collection bay, and improvements to the on-site second hand store. The centre averages 1000 vehicles per day and up to 1500 vehicles during peak periods. The upgrade, completed in 2011, doubles the previous capacity for vehicles.

Rotorua District Council currently offers six recycling drop-off locations; in town, at the Rotorua landfill and four transfer station sites in rural communities. In addition to the drop-off centres the private sector offers kerbside recycling services.

Innovative reuse of soft drink bottles has helped create a 5,100 square metre floating wetland launched on Lake Rotorua as an environmental enhancement project to help restore the lake’s water quality. It is believed that it is the world’s largest man-made floating wetland and is estimated to remove a significant amount of Nitrogen and over 1,000 kilograms of phosphorus from the lake every year. Cut-outs in the densely planted wetland island surface form the shape of the word ‘Rotorua’ providing an extra marketing bonus for the district.

The $900,000 environmental initiative is a partnership between Rotorua District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust with the support of local hapu Te Ure o Uenukukopako.

Figure 4. Aerial photograph of ‘Rotorua’ floating wetland, 2012

In summary:

  • In 2012 the kilograms of recycled material per person per week is 3.8kg.
  • Kilograms of recycled material per person peaked in 2007.
  • There has been a decrease in kilograms of recycled material per person per week since 2007 due to less construction and demolition waste produced and recycled.
  • The Rotorua Recycling Centre upgrade was completed in 2011.
  • Council currently offers six recycling drop-off locations; in town, at the Rotorua landfill and four transfer station sites in rural communities.
Page reviewed: 03 Jul 2019 10:12am