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Upcycling to start your new year

Published: 8 January 2020

There are many great options for keeping your unwanted items out of landfill.

Parul Sood, Auckland Council’s General Manager for Waste Solutions, offers these tips to make it easy for you to do the right thing when you are done de-cluttering:

  1. If you are donating to an Op Shop, make sure it is an item that someone else wants to buy. Take a minute to check clothing for stains or holes, and call ahead to confirm they need what you are offering. Smaller places lack storage and can be inundated at this time of year
  2. Turn your worn-out clothes into rags instead. You can drop off fabrics to Kiwi Cleaning Rags in Māngere anytime during their opening hours. Last year, they repurposed an estimated 360 tonnes of clothing fabric
  3. Visit a Community Recycling Centre for a one-stop drop-off for most items. Community recycling centres aim to reduce waste to landfill by reusing, re-purposing and upcycling as much as possible. The centres have shops on-site to sell household and building materials. They will also take your green waste or rubbish, saving you a trip elsewhere
  4. Book an Auckland Council inorganic collection online, by phone at 09 301 0101, or visit one of our service centres. Use it for some items not appropriate for your kerbside bins, such as appliances, furniture, electronics and lawnmowers. There is no charge for your on-property collection; it is included in your property’s rates.
  5. Wherever you choose to donate your items, please only drop off during open hours. Otherwise, it is illegal dumping and you may be fined.

Got an item you’re not sure what to do with? Use this online tool, and we will tell you the best way to dispose of it responsibly.

Please take a minute to make sure you recycle right.

When you’re taking steps to clean out your home or garage, please pay attention to what belongs in the recycling bin. Currently, about 12 per cent of what we pick up from our kerbside recycling collection is either non-recyclable items that people incorrectly put in the bin or items that are too contaminated to recycle.

Unfortunately, we have to send this waste to local landfills. On the ‘hit list’ of worst common items that end up in kerbside recycling bins are shoes, batteries, medical waste, nappies, and clothing.

Last year, we also found dead animals, golf clubs, barbed wire, prosthetic body parts, flares, firearms and ammunition in kerbside recycling bins.

Make sure items containing lithium-based batteries such as phones, gaming consoles, laptops, power tools, and vapers never go in your recycling bin as they pose a significant fire safety risk.  These items should be taken to a specialist e-waste recycler instead. 

Take a step towards zero waste

While enjoying the summer and celebrating holiday festivities last January, Aucklanders generated 3240 tonnes more waste. That’s the equivalent of 114 double-decker buses. If each Auckland household reduced their waste by just 1 kilogram over the summer season, this would reduce Auckland’s summer waste by around 18 double-decker buses’ worth every year.

Parul Sood reminds us,

“The best way to de-clutter is to avoid waste in the first place. We ask all residents to consider the full life cycle of everything they use or purchase.”

“A circular economy is one in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, and then recover, regenerate, recycle or upcycle. For example, when people use Auckland Council’s inorganic collection service, we recover anything we can repair, repurpose, or recycle to prevent items from going to landfill.

"More than 6000 tonnes of material have been diverted from landfill since the service was rolled out in 2015. Bookings are open now, and you can cancel if you no longer need it closer to your date.”

Whichever option you choose for your cleanout, please remember that leaving unwanted items to languish on the kerbside is a form of illegal dumping.

If you see dumped rubbish on public property, call Auckland Council at 0800 NO DUMP (0800 66 3867), and we will help take care of it and investigate to find out who’s responsible.

Read more: Waste

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