The New Zealand organisations finding ways to recycle the un-recyclable

Just because you can't chuck it in a bin, doesn't mean it can't be recycled. Innovative programs throughout New Zealand are figuring ways to reuse our household waste to make our country more sustainable.

1.         Paint.

Liquids are one of the things which cannot be chucked into a household bin, but if you've just renovated and have leftover paint, there are things you can do to ensure it doesn't end up in landfill.

Managed by sustainability company 3R, Paintwise is a Resene programme which allows customers to return their unused paint to their local store.

Good quality leftovers are donated to community groups for reuse, or disposed of safely.

Click here to find your closest PaintWise Resene.

2.         Toothbrushes.

If bamboo toothbrushes and glass floss containers aren't your cup of tea, Terracycle has set up a recycling program for all your oral-health related waste.

First, you sign up for an account. Then, you collect all your old toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss canisters and such like.

Once all your waste is clean and dry, you pack it up and send it off to be recycled. You don't even have to pay for shipping.

The more waste you have, the better. For every shipment over 2kg, you earn points per piece of waste. These points can then be redeemed for cash towards a charity or school of your choice.

3.         Soft plastics.

Kiwi organisations Future Posts and Second Life Plastics are taking our plastic waste and creating something new.

Both organisations accept soft plastic from collection bins in Auckland. The bins are available at selected Countdown supermarkets, Warehouse stores and Huckleberry Organic shops.

For people outside of Auckland, soft plastics still cannot be recycled, so it's best to avoid them where possible.

Future Posts takes soft plastic and recycles it into durable fence posts for farmers. The plastic posts are environmentally friendly and more durable than wood as they don't crack, split or rot.

Second Life Plastics collects plastic and repurposes it into a myriad of different things such as waterslides, buckets, flooring and cable cover.


4.         Motor oil.

Much like paint, motor oil is not traditionally recyclable. However, selected Repco stores across New Zealand allow customers to return their oil.

All oil must be in sealed containers. Then you can just drop it in to the big red bin at your nearest Repco shop and be on your merry way.

Check where your closest store is here.


5.         Car seats.

Kids grow up fast, and before you know it they're out of their booster seat and into the driver's seat.

But rather than throwing that car seat away, or letting it sit in your garage for the next 25 years, why not recycle it? 3R has created a solution to the waste left behind by carseats.

Seatsmart takes old or damaged car seats, strips them down and recycles them into bags, scrap metal and products for the building industry such as plastic caps for steel bars.

It accepts carseats, booster seats and capsules.

The facilities are available throughout the country, and it diverts tonnes of plastic and metals way from landfill annually.

There is a $25 charge, but certain areas will have this cost subsidized by the local council. You can check if your region is covered here.