A guide to soft plastic recycling around NZ: Where to take it, what you're missing

If you're trying to lessen your carbon load, this might be where you're going wrong
If you're trying to lessen your carbon load, this might be where you're going wrong Photo credit: Getty.

If, like me, you're trying to make a bit more an effort with your recycling, there's one area you might be tripping up in - and no, it's not throwing pizza boxes filled with pizza scraps in the recycling bin. Hopefully, we've all moved on from that by now. 

It's recycling soft plastics - those chocolate wrappers and chip packets that it turns out many of us have wrongfully been shoving in our home rubbish or recycling bin.

A survey from KitKat revealed 54 percent of New Zealanders are accidentally sending their recycling to the landfill by including soft plastics in their fortnightly kerbside recycling - not ideal when you're trying to lessen your carbon load. 

Instead, this particular recycling needs to be gathered up and dropped at a local soft plastics station - most of which are dotted about at supermarkets, airports and Warehouses around the country. 

So what is considered soft plastic, and how do we actually dispose of it properly? 

Lyn Mayes, manager of the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme has given us some tips: 

  • Soft plastics you can recycle at your local station include bread bags, produce and frozen food bags, courier packs and bubble wrap, plastic packaging for toilet paper, breakfast cereals and snack foods
  • Make sure the soft plastic packaging is clean, give it a rinse before disposing
  • Check if it's got the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) on the pack, this will tell you how to dispose of your rubbish correctly 
  • Do the scrunch test - If the wrapper or plastic can be scrunched in your hand, it's often considered a soft plastic, so double-check the ARL and hold onto it, then drop it off at the special soft plastics collection bin next time you visit a participating store
  • Check on the pack to see if there is a soft plastics 'recycle at store' label – not every packet will necessarily have an ARL label

"We know Kiwis want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling their soft plastics and encouragingly 46 percent [of respondents] in KitKat's survey have identified they want to see more soft plastic recycling facilities and locations," says Mayes. 

"Which is why we have worked closely with industry partners over the last 12 months to increase accessibility with drop-off locations now accessible to 69 percent of Kiwis within 20km of where they live or work." 

Now you know how to recycle your soft plastics, where do you take them? Here's a list of all the soft plastic recycling centres around New Zealand's major cities: 


  • Countdown Auckland City
  • Westpac Takutai Square
  • Countdown Greenlane
  • Countdown Grey Lynn
  • Pak'nSave Mt Albert
  • Countdown Mt Eden
  • The Warehouse Newmarket
  • Huckleberry Farms Royal Oak
  • Pak'nSave Greenlane
  • The Warehouse St Lukes
  • New World Stonefields
  • Countdown Ponsonby
  • New World Victoria Park
  • New World Albany 
  • Countdown Birkenhead
  • New World Browns Bay
  • Countdown Glenfield
  • Countdown Northcote
  • The Warehouse Milford
  • Countdown Orewa
  • The Warehouse Silverdale
  • Countdown Sunnynook
  • Countdown Takapuna
  • Countdown Whangaparaoa
  • Countdown Mangere 
  • Countdown Manukau
  • Countdown Mt Wellington
  • Countdown Papakura
  • The Warehouse Pukekohe
  • Countdown Roselands
  • The Warehouse Sylvia Park
  • Countdown Takanini
  • New World Waiuku
  • Countdown Beachlands
  • Countdown Botany Downs
  • Pak'nSave Glenn Innes
  • Countdown Highland Park
  • Countdown Meadowlands
  • The Warehouse Pakuranga
  • Countdown St Johns
  • Countdown Helensville
  • Countdown Henderson
  • Countdown Hobsonville
  • Countdown Lynfield
  • Countdown Lynnmall 
  • Countdown Mt Roskill
  • Countdown Northwest 
  • Countdown Pt Chev
  • Countdown Three Kings


  • Countdown Claudeland
  • Countdown Dinsdale
  • The Warehouse Hillcrest
  • Countdown Huntly
  • Countdown Rototuna
  • Countdown Te Rapa


  • Countdown Croftondowns
  • New World Hutt City
  • Countdown Karori
  • Countdown Kilbirnie
  • The Warehouse Lyall Bay
  • Countdown Newton
  • Pak'nSave Petone
  • New World Porirua City Centre
  • New World Silverstream
  • The Warehouse Queensgate


  • Countdown Avonhead
  • The Warehouse Barrington
  • The Warehouse Belfast
  • Countdown Christchurch Airport
  • The Warehouse Eastgate
  • Countdown Riccarton
  • Countdown Rolleston

More details about your local soft plastics recycling station can be found at the official website. To raise awareness of the scheme, KitKat wrappers will be losing their logo for the next month, to get Kiwis to think about putting wrappers - and the rest of their soft plastics -  in the correct bins.