18 October 2022                                                                              

Recycling Week 2022: Big increase in New Zealanders recycling PP #5 over the past year says Plastics NZ

New Zealanders have prevented more plastic than ever going to landfills over the past year thanks to 14 local councils (representing 740,000 people) now collecting and recycling more types of plastics.

For Recycling Week 2022, Plastics New Zealand has created a handy interactive map to show plastic recycling by local authority across Aotearoa New Zealand.

“What’s really impressive is the increase in councils now collecting polypropylene (#5 PP) and it’s just a matter of time until they all collect it. Polypropylene is a highly recyclable material and in demand by local plastics manufacturers who want to use more New Zealand recycled PP instead of importing it,” says Simon Wilkinson, Plastics NZ Environmental Projects Manager.

“Unfortunately, today we still have PP being sold offshore and sent as waste to landfill,” he says.

Recycling Week 2022 plastics facts and stats:

  • Nearly all local authorities collect plastics #1 and #2.
  • 88% of local authorities now collect polypropylene (#5 PP) which represents more than 97% of the overall population.
  • 14 more regions started collecting #5 PP in the last 12 months with Kaipara the most recent. These 14 regions are: Carterton, Far North, Hastings, Hauraki, Kaipara, Masterton, Matamata-Piako, Napier, Ruapehu, South Wairarapa, Thames-Coromandel, Waitaki, Western Bay of Plenty, Whangarei.
  • 740,000 more New Zealanders can now recycle #5 PP compared to a year ago. Access to #5 PP recycling has grown from 81.3% (in March 2021) to ~97% (in August 2022), that’s 4.8 million people up from 4.06 million at the start of 2021.
  • Polypropylene is New Zealand’s third most commonly recycled rigid plastic. Ice cream and margarine containers, large yoghurt tubs, dip pottles and many clear takeaway containers are all made of PP.
  • New Zealand unnecessarily imports around 1,200 tonnes of recycled polypropylene annually.
  • The current market value of pelletised, recycled PP is between NZ $1,300 and $1,700 per tonne.

“But we can do better. Still only half of recyclable PP is being put in kerbside collection bins or commercially collected, the rest is mistakenly thrown out as rubbish. Our recyclers need your help!” says Simon.

Rachel Barker, CEO of Plastics NZ, says the local plastics industry is fully behind recycling initiatives that capture and remanufacture plastics onshore. “Plastic is a versatile material used in almost every sector of our economy and initiatives like Recycling Week are all about showing us what each of us can do to reduce waste going to landfills and helping New Zealand shift to a low-emissions circular economy.”

Recycled polypropylene is used to make a wide range of products from recycling bins, plant pots and storage boxes to products for building foundations and road stabilisation. Aotearoa New Zealand has the opportunity to create a circular recycled PP economy worth between $10.4m to $17m annually, and achieve environmental benefits including a reduced carbon footprint.


Contact: Marnie Woodd Phone 021 0555 422


Plastics New Zealand is the trade organisation representing the New Zealand plastics industry with over 200 businesses including manufacturers, suppliers, recyclers (reprocessors) and consultants to the industry.

Plastics NZ’s “Advancing the Circular Economy for Plastics” programme is co-funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund.

Recycling Week is 17-23 October 2022.

Guide to plastics types and recycling numbers.