Reducing Your Waste

There are a number of ways we can reduce waste - be it at work, school or in your household.

The Council has two main goals when it comes to waste:

  1. We need to improve the efficiency of resource use, so less waste is created
  2. We need to reduce the harmful effects of waste

View the full Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.

The Council provides a number of waste services for the District's residents, businesses, schools and visitors:

  • A kerbside collection service for organics, recycling and rubbish.
  • Waste disposal, diversion and recycling services are available at local transfer stations at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park and the Oxford Transfer Station.
  • Operation of a cleanfill disposal site - access to this site is limited to companies registered with the Council to ensure only compliant cleanfill is deposited here.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastics take-back scheme returns to Christchurch

Christchurch residents can once again take their soft plastic packaging back to participating supermarkets and stores across Christchurch.

The soft plastic take-back scheme that was based in supermarkets and The Warehouse was temporarily put on hold for two years.

Read the Press Release - Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme Returns to Christchurch.

Find a participating store here.

At this stage the scheme is not available in the Waimakariri District. The Soft Plastic Take-back Scheme Manager, Lyn Mayes has advised that they will embed the service back in Christchurch, making sure all the logistic work as planned. Kilmarnock Enterprises are collecting and baling the plastics, and Goodman Fielder are transporting bales back to Auckland to transition to Future Post. Once they are confident that everything is working well and Future Post's processing capability continues to increase, they will look at expansion into other areas.

Soft plastics are not accepted in the Council's kerbside recycling bins or in the plastic bins at the transfer stations - this is only able to be taken to participating stores.

It is timely to begin thinking about how to make purchasing choices that minimise the amount of soft plastic that is purchased and therefore having to stockpile or throw away.

  • Avoid pre-packaged fruit and veges
  • Take reusable produce bags as well as reusable shopping bags to the supermarket - you can buy these at the supermarket and fruit and vege shops
  • Take your own containers with the tare weight written on them for bulk purchases at the likes of Bin Inn.

Visit the One Planet website and Future Living Skills for more information about reducing waste and living more sustainably. Visit the Soft Plastics website to keep up to date with the recycling scheme.

Reducing Your Household Waste

There are heaps of ways you can reduce the amount of waste that comes from your household, that are easy and cheap to do.

Find out where your nearest bulk bin store is and start shopping packaging free. On your next grocery shop see if there are items you buy in plastic that you can swap to buying in glass, cardboard or in a can.

Jam, peanut butter, mayonnaise and simmer sauces are all sold in either plastic or glass jars. Choose brands sold in glass jars, which are often also NZ brands, to support local and do good for the environment at the same time. When you have scraped the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar work out how to reuse the jar as many times as possible before it goes in the recycling bin. You could:

  • Donate them to groups around the country who make jams and marmalades for foodbanks  or try your local op shop.
  • Create your own reusable coffee cup with rubber bands and a jar (or ask your local cafe if you can create a box of them for their customers buying coffee on the go)
  • Make your own beauty or cleaning products and package them in glass jars. These can make great gifts too.
  • Use the jars to sort and store miscellaneous household item such as drawing pins, small toys, pens.
  • Look out for shops and businesses in North Canterbury that support waste free initiatives.

It is also easy to make a simple swap for cleaning product containers. Look for brands that offer refill stations so you can use the bottle over and over again. Or buy laundry powder in a cardboard box with no plastic scoop included. Those brands that don’t include a scoop include instructions on tablespoons of laundry powder needed per load.

If soft drinks are regularly on your shopping list, a soda stream could be a good investment to save you money while reducing your plastic bottle use. Syrups for flavouring can be made from lemon, feijoa or even rosehip! Even without a soda stream, a kombucha or ginger beer bug can supply you with a steady supply of refreshing fizziness. You could also consider buying drinks in aluminium cans, which get made back into aluminium cans an infinite number of times.

  • Choose products with little or no packaging
  • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging
  • Use cloth nappies, not disposables, where feasible
  • Put a 'no circulars', 'no junk mail' or 'no ad mail' sticker on your letterbox
  • Learn ways to reduce household food waste by following the National Food Waste Prevention Campaign - Love Food Hate Waste
  • Attend a 'Waste Free Living' or 'Waste Free Parenting' workshop with Kate Meads 'The Nappy Lady'.

If you live outside the District's kerbside collection area, you can take separated paper, cardboard, plastic containers type 1-7 except for anything that can be scrunched into a ball - like biscuit trays, glass bottles and jars with lids removed, aluminium cans and steel tins, electronic waste and much more to the Oxford Transfer Station or the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park.

Tetra Pak/Liquid Cartons

Non foil-lined drink/milk liquid cartons with fold out tops can go in the Trees for Canterbury containers located at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Centre. These are not accepted for recycling. Trees for Canterbury use them to plant native seedlings as the cardboard breaks down in the soil. Foil lined containers (like Tetra Pak), or those with plastic pourers/screw tops need to go in the rubbish.

Other Service Providers

Make use of services offered for diverting waste, for example some private bin collection companies offer a recycling or green waste bin that people located outside of the Council's kerbside collection area could use. Check out the Yellow Pages for services.

The Council is a partner in the Sustainable Living Education Trust, which has loads of resources and tips for practical ways to live more sustainably.

Reducing School Waste

Measuring your school waste

The first step to reducing waste at schools (and childhood education centres) is to measure the amount of waste that is generated by the whole school's activities, and find out how much it costs to dispose of the waste.

We suggest smaller schools store a week’s worth of waste and larger schools store one or two day’s worth, then students can sort the waste into separate waste types (for example paper – recyclable and non-recyclable, plastic – recyclable and non-recyclable, metal, food waste and garden waste) and weigh each waste type.

Once you know how much waste is being generated, you can work out a strategy to reduce, reuse, recycle or reprocess the different parts of the waste pile in order to stop sending so many resources to landfill.

Tips to help you reduce waste at your school

  • Print double-sided onto paper when you’re preparing resources or handouts
  • Reuse your one-sided paper as scrap paper, and reuse envelopes
  • Think about the packaging that your office or cafeteria brings in: try to buy products with recyclable packaging and minimal packaging, buy in bulk to reduce packaging, and see if your suppliers will remove materials such as plastic wrap, strapping etc for recycling
  • Buy products made of recycled materials
  • Encourage ‘litter free’ lunches for students (and teachers) to promote the use of reusable bottles, cups, lunch boxes and bags or food containers, and to avoid pre-packaged foods and plastic wrap
  • Recycle all that you can, either with the Council’s kerbside collection, or at the transfer station (remember, recycling is free)
  • Send your printer or photocopier toner cartridges to be recycled
  • Start composting at your school to compost food waste, garden waste and even paper towels. Then you can use the compost, worm wee and other wonderful by-products in your school’s garden – or sell them as a fundraiser!
  • Recycle old computer equipment and other electronic equipment. Some companies take back the old computers when they upgrade them.

Assisted kerbside recycling programme for schools

Schools on Ministry of Education or non-rateable land are not charged the targeted kerbside collection rate and so would not normally be eligible to receive the Council’s kerbside collection service.

However the Council has offered a kerbside recycling programme to schools and early education centres inside its kerbside collection areas, as from 24 June 2011. Weprovide recycling wheelie bins for all eligible schools and early education centres at a ratio of one 240 litre bin per three classrooms, in order to promote and encourage recycling at school.

For more information on this service, download the programme information and application form (pdf, 210.4 KB).

School waste minimisation programmes

The Council funds two school sustainability programmes to provide local schools resources and assistance to minimise waste, as well as part-fund the Paper4trees Programme.

Waste and water education programme

The Council and Eco Educate have developed a  waste minimisation and water conservation education programme, which is free to all of the district’s schools and early childhood education centres.

The programme focuses on involvement from children as well as teachers, the principal, Board of Trustees and the caretaker. The initial aim is to develop a school vision, then follows measurement: how much rubbish is dumped, what recycling is done and how much water and power is used by the school.

Lesley Ottey, the Enviro-Educator, is available to talk to you about the programme.

Contact our Enviro-Educator

To contact Lesley, phone 027 333 1344 or email her at

The One Planet website also provides school lesson plans for primary and secondary schools.

Enviroschools Canterbury

The Enviroschools programme is aimed at guiding and supporting schools to become more sustainable across five key areas: Zero Waste, Water of Life, Energy, Ecological Building, Living Landscapes.

The Council is a funding partner of Enviroschools Canterbury, which is a partnership between Environment Canterbury, Waimakariri, Hurunui, Timaru, McKenzie and Selwyn District Councils, Department of Conservation and the Enviroschools Foundation with support from the Christchurch City Council ' Strengthening communities fund and the Toimata Foundation.

There are 19 Enviroschools in the Waimakariri District as at December 2019. Visit Enviroschools to check out which schools are participating.

Paper 4 Trees

The Paper4trees programme is coordinated by the Tauranga-based Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Trust, and rewards participating schools who recycle paper and cardboard by giving them native tree seedlings.

The programme has been introduced to schools throughout New Zealand. As of the end of Term 2 in 2019, 34 schools and preschools in the Waimakariri District had signed up for the programme. They ordered 252 trees between them in the 2018.19 year, which means they recycled a total of 65 tonnes of paper and cardboard.  This has saved 517 cubic metres of landfill space, and stopped 349 tonnes of carbon from being produced at landfill.

Since Council began supporting the programme in 2008, participating schools have received 2,922 native trees, recycled 673 tonnes of paper and cardboard, saved 5,390 cubic metres of landfill space and stopped 3,638 tonnes of CO2 from being produced at Kate Valley Landfill.

Fonterra Milk for Schools

Fonterra Milk for Schools offers all New Zealand primary-aged school children Years 1-6  a free serving of milk every school day.

As part of the programme, all participating schools receive free leased fridge(s) to chill the milk, a free recycling kit consisting of bins and liner bags, and the free collection and recycling of all Fonterra Milk for Schools milk packs.

If you would like to find out more about Fonterra Milk for Schools, visit

Diverting Organics

  • You can use the Council's kerbside collection service for organics and greenwaste. 80L, 140L and 240L bins are available
  • You can compost your food scraps and garden waste at home (and grow your vegetables and fruits with that compost to save on shopping bills)
  • You could build your own worm farm or compost bin (there are instructions on building a worm farm out of car tyres in the One Planet eBook)
  • The Council sells Bokashi buckets and CompostZing at Service Centres and the ReSale Store (Southbrook Resource Recovery Park), and also sells Pet Waste Composting systems and Earthmaker compost bin kits at the ReSale Store, all at discounted prices. Prices are on our Rubbish and recycling fees and charges page
  • Green waste can be taken to the Oxford Transfer Station or Southbrook Resource Recovery Park.

Reducing Business Waste

The Council allocates some funding each year to support local businesses to become more sustainable. This funding enables Waimakariri businesses to make use of Christchurch City Council’s Target Sustainability project group. Contact us to find out how you can apply for a Target Sustainability Assessment.

Reducing Farm Waste

A great quantity of waste materials can be generated during the operation of a farm, materials can be been difficult or costly to dispose of.

There are now alternatives to dumping or burning plastic farm waste, by recycling them through accredited voluntary product stewardship schemes. Plasback and Agrecovery both run recycling schemes for a number of different types of farm plastics, and Agrecovery also runs an agrichemical take-back scheme for unwanted or expired farm chemicals.

Associated Websites