ReStore manager Mike Lane from Habitat for Humanity Whangārei. Photo / Tania Whyte
It is very easy to get your hands on junk in today’s world and even easier to get rid of it. Northern Advocate reporter Jaime Lyth looks into Northland’s recycling options.
Household waste makes up
about 70 per cent of Northland landfills, but much of that can be recycled.
While there is kerbside recycling across much of the region, there are many ways to make sure your unwanted items don’t end up in the dump.
Northland Regional Council reports that in just one year, 19,500 tonnes of solid waste were sent to landfill in the Far North district; 47,120 tonnes in the Whangārei district; and 4600 tonnes in the Kaipara district.
This equates to an average of 283kg of household waste sent to landfill for each resident in the Northland region.
The lifespan of household items and clothing has greatly reduced over time due to cheap manufacturing, fast-moving trends and planned obsolescence of products to keep people buying.
Many used Covid lockdowns and isolation periods to spring-clean their belongings and inevitably send them to the op-shop or dump.
Most op-shops take quality clothing, furniture and homeware donations – as long as they can deem it fit for resale.
Op shops around Northland have become more strict about what they accept, or have closed their doors to donations altogether for periods just to keep up.
Some op shops throw away a large portion of the items that are donated, said Habitat for Humanity manager Mike Lane.
“I was quite appalled … there was an official figure of 60 per cent wastage [at a different op shop].”
Clothes that aren’t up to selling standard end up in a free bin rather than being thrown away at Habitat for Humanity, said Lane.
“We throw out very few clothes.”
Furniture is one of the items Lane wishes was donated more as broken pieces are given a second life at the shop through repairs and upholstering by volunteers.
“Next door in the workshop, we have three to four retired guys and that’s their hobby, repairing things.”
155 Open Arms list egg cartons, reusable bags, bathroom supplies and towels as always being gratefully received.
Apart from the obvious pet toys, carriers and food, SPCA and other animal organisations often take old towels, sheets and blankets.
Animal charities should also be considered for your donations of old kids’ toys, plastic climbing frames and swimming pools.
Paint, oils and hazardous materials
Resene and Dulux run nationwide paint return schemes where you can return unwanted paint and paint containers for reuse or donation.
The stores take their own leftover paints back for free and non-branded paint for a small fee.
Motor oil containers (including used oil) can be dropped off for free at Re:Sort stations.
A nationwide electronic waste recycling service is run by TechCollect NZ.
E-waste from consumers and small businesses can be dropped off free of charge at Noel Leeming – Whangārei Supa, Okara Shopping Centre, Port Rd, Whangārei.
E-waste accepted includes laptops, desktops, cameras, mobile phones, tablets, printers and accessories.
Alternatively, a user-pays recycling service is available across Northland at Re: Sort and rural transfer stations for old TV sets and computer screens.
Metal and appliances
Metalman sort, grade, process and package the metals for export to be recycled globally.
The company recycles metal collected from its branches and customers via drop-offs and its bin distribution service.
There are two locations in Whangārei, in Kamo and Raumanga,
Unwanted mobile phones, no matter how old or broken they are, can be recycled with RE: MOBILE.
Collection sites include 2degrees, Spark or Vodafone retail stores, Resene ColorShops and Noel Leeming.
RE:MOBILE has a list of drop-off locations across Northland on its website.
You can package your unwanted mobile phone in any envelope or parcel and post it to RE:MOBILE for free simply by writing the Freepost address on the envelope.
Northland rubbish and recycling stations:
Northland Waste operates a number of Re:Sort Centres across the Northland region, ranging from Warkworth to Kaitaia.
WDC rubbish and recycling stations:
Find opening times, disposal costs and locations for your nearest rubbish and recycling station as well as information about e-waste, vegetation and hazardous waste disposal.