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The markets for waste materials in New Zealand are constantly changing, so it pays to do your homework. Here are a few suggestions for starting your search (see Links for more information and contact details):

  • Use the REBRI Recycling Directory to get contact details for recycling organisations throughout New Zealand - you can search by region or material.
  • Use local waste-recycling directories, the Yellow Pages, waste exchanges and ‘buy recycled' directories to identify demand for recycled product. These change often, so it pays to keep checking.
  • Network with businesses and councils with an interest in sustainability. Join organisations such as the Sustainable Business Network, or the Waste Management Institute of New Zealand.
  • Use the REBRI Resource Routing Calculator to decide whether it is economic to send a material to landfill or recycle it.
  • Do business with recycling operators and manufacturers that are accredited to a nationally recognised environmental management programme such as ISO14001 or Enviro- Mark®NZ. This way you can have greater assurance that they are working to good environmental standards and are ‘doing what they say they do'.

The main materials with current markets are:

  • metals (ferrous and non-ferrous) sold for recycling - e.g. rebar, roofing, sandwich panel, drink cans, piping, wire, cladding, drums etc.
  • concrete sold for crushing - e.g. ex slabs, pipes, excess material etc.
  • untreated timber collected for recycling and reuse - e.g. joinery, fittings, framing, boxing, off-cuts, pellets, framework etc
  • paper and cardboard collected for recycling - e.g. from packaging and infills (not black or synthetic building paper or house wrap).

Understand the requirements of waste recyclers and any industry-accepted specifications

Each market will have their own specifications for recycled or reusable materials - it's best to obtain specifications from recycling operators for the storage, sorting and handling requirements for each material type before you start, and make sure you operate according to the specifications. Getting it wrong can cost you.

Things to check generally

  • Material type, source of material, particle size.
  • Acceptable and unacceptable types of contamination or damage, and percentage of contamination or damage.
  • Minimum or maximum quantities accepted, including suitable containers or transportation requirements.
  • Documentation required, including waste-tracking forms. (Use the REBRI Waste Transfer Form to confirm to clients the source and nature of the C&D waste provided.)
  • Sorting and handling requirements for each material type.

Things to check for concrete

  • Types of concrete and rubble, size of concrete pieces and amount of ‘preprocessing'. Some ‘old' concrete products are too hard-wearing on some crushing machines and some concrete products are too soft to meet reuse specifications after crushing and will not be accepted by operators.
  • Acceptable levels of bricks and tile, and contamination such as glass, metal, soil, etc.
  • Minimum or maximum quantities accepted.

Things to check for metal

  • Metal types accepted.
  • Contamination tolerances such as plastics, leftover product in containers, etc.

Things to check for plasterboard

  • Whether demolition board is acceptable.
  • Minimum and maximum sizes of chip or powder particles.
  • Contamination tolerances, such as screws, nails, paint, glues, etc.
  • Moisture tolerances.
  • Minimum and maximum quantities.

Things to check for timber

  • Types of timber acceptable - treated, native, untreated, etc.
  • Minimum and maximum sizes of board and lengths of timber.
  • Minimum and maximum quantities.
  • Contamination tolerances, such as nails, paint, concrete, etc.
  • Any preprocessing requirements such as sorting or grading.
  • How timber is to be received (for example, loose, stacked in containers or on pallets).