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:

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

Waste Management and Minimisation Plan

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.

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

  • 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'.

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.

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution by choosing to refuse single use plastic and looking for more sustainable alternatives. Here in New Zealand Plastic Free July Aotearoa is a group of passionate volunteers from all walks of life keen to see a truly clean green New Zealand.

For more ideas and to join the plastic free July challenge go to Plastic Free July or check out their Facebook page.

Soft Plastics Take-Back Scheme Operating in Rangiora and Ravenswood

Waimakariri residents can take their soft plastic packaging back to participating supermarkets and stores in Rangiora and Ravenswood.

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.

The soft plastic take-back scheme that was based in local supermarkets and The Warehouse was temporarily put on hold for three years, but has been extended from Christchurch out into a part of the Waimakariri district. At this stage only New World, Countdown and The Warehouse stores in Rangiora and New World in Ravenswood are part of the Soft Plastics recycling scheme.

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

Find a participating store here.

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.

It's timely to begin thinking about how to make purchasing choices that minimise the amount of soft plastic that is purchased.

  • 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.

  • You can use the Council's kerbside collection service for food scraps and garden 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 on the One Planet website)
  • 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 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.

The Council allocates funding towards Eco Educate. They can do workplace assessments to help businesses to reduce the impact on the environment and preserve natural resources.  Visit their website to find out more or to book an assessment.

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.

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

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.

Recycle unwanted household batteries through Council's battery recycling scheme at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park and Oxford Transfer Station.

If batteries end up in wheelie bins, they have the potential to harm staff and cause fires in the kerbside collection trucks.

Batteries deteriorate if not in use and can become hazardous. Collecting batteries before this happens means they can be recycled, saving valuable components for reuse and reducing the risk to people and the environment.

Unwanted batteries can be dropped off at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park and Oxford Transfer Station.  There are also several locations in Christchuch including Mitre 10 Papanui, Bunnings Tower Junction, Bunnings Shirley, EcoDrop Parkhouse Road, EcoDrop Styx Mill and EcoDrop Metro.

Batteries that can be dropped off for free include:

  • Batteries from household devices like:
    • AA, AAA, C and D cell batteries
    • Alkaline ell
    • Lithium
    • 9-vold
    • Cr123 camera batteries
    • Dry cell and zinc
    • Li-ion batteries (from laptops, cameras, cell phones and tools)
    • NiCd
    • NiMH
    • Gel cell
  • Loose batteries
  • Most damaged, leaking of rusty batteries (we cannot accept modified batteries)
  • Removable mobile phone batteries. If your old phone doesn't have a removable battery, drop the phone off at Vodafone, Spark or 2Degrees retailer and it will be recycled through Re:mobile scheme
  • Car batteries can be dropped off at the transfer station recycling area in the sign posted area. Please ask staff if you're unsure.

Phoenix Metalman collects unwanted batteries from each location. As  there are no viable recycling options in New Zealand, batteries are sorted and prepared for shipping overseas to be recycled.

The separated components of the batteries are given a new life in a variety of industries.

Last reviewed date: 08 Dec 2023