Real recycling


Real recycling


At Wastebusters, we are  passionate about real recycling – producing clean, uncontaminated recycling which can be made into high quality products. We sort our recycling by hand, so there is minimal contamination going into the bales of material we send away to be reprocessed.

The ideal is to recycle the material back into the same product – “closed loop recycling”. One example is that we hand sort all our glass to remove any contamination so that it can be recycled back into new bottles.

You can drop your recycling into our Wānaka site from 9am-5pm, seven days a week. We also pick up from Wānaka businesses, call us if you’d like to start business recycling.

Many of the items we recycle have the potential to contaminate our beautiful land and clean water if they are put in a landfill. Plus recycling reclaims resources which would otherwise have gone to landfill, saving energy, land from mining, water and space in landfills.

Here is the full list of things you can drop off to us for recycling (* = hazardous waste which can create toxic leachate if put in a landfill). Some charges apply to cover the cost of handling, sorting, dismantling, transporting and reprocessing materials:


Household packaging

We can recycle most things that you can put in your kerbside recycling bin: steel and aluminium cans, paper, cardboard boxes, glass,  plastic bottles and containers 1, 2 & 5 (no meat trays, punnets or coloured soft drink bottles). Plus we can recycle liquid paperboard cartons e.g. Tetra Pak (please note, this can only be recycled at Wastebusters not in your kerbside bin).

We charge just $5 per crate (up to 60 litres) for household recycling dropped off to us in Wānaka, to help cover the cost of handling and freight to the reprocessor.

We can’t recycle:

  • anything that’s dirty or food-contaminated (e.g. coffee cups, dirty sauce bottles)
  • plastics 3, 4, 6, 7 or unidentified (there is no reprocessor to send them to)
  • meat trays, biscuit trays or vegetable/fruit punnets (no reprocessor)
  • coloured soft drink bottles (no reprocessor)
  • cardboard rolls (e.g. for fabric) – these are saturated in glue and are a contaminant for cardboard recycling.
  • PLA (a plant-based plastic identified by a PLA or flower logo on the bottom)

Please wash dirty containers first as food and liquid contaminate recycling materials and can cause recycling to be rejected by reprocessors.


We recycle clean, white polystyrene with stickers removed (no polystyrene meat trays please as they are contaminated with blood). The main difficulty in recycling polystyrene is that it is bulky and expensive to transport. We crush it in a special baler which doubles its density before sending it off to be reprocessed.

Batteries *

We recycle all batteries including rechargeable batteries (eg tool, cellphone and car batteries). Some batteries contain toxic heavy metals like nickel cadmium and lead, others are a fire risk if pierced so they shouldn’t be put in the landfill where there is heavy machinery driving about on top of them. When batteries are recycled, metals such as cobalt and lead can be recovered and reused. There is a charge of $5 per kilo to recycle batteries, except for lead-acid car batteries which are free because they contain more valuable materials inside them to offset the recycling costs.

Cell-phones *

We recycle cellphones for free. Cellphones and their batteries contain heavy metals and brominated flame retardant plastic which may cause toxic leachate if they go to landfill. Every smartphone contains precious materials including gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium, so throwing them in the landfill is a real waste!

Computer Recycling *

Yes, Wastebusters accepts computers, printers, TV’s, faxes, cell-phones and computer accessories (keyboards, mice, routers etc) for recycling. There are different charges to cover the costs of responsible recycling depending on the weight and value of materials inside the item, see the list of prices here.

Scrap metal

Wastebusters can accept any metal that can be reused like chimney flues and metal beds. We also take working small appliances like heaters, lamps and stereos for resale. We can also sometimes take interesting pieces of metal like knobs and badges for artists to reuse. If you’re not sure, pop in and ask us.

Scrap metal and large appliances are collected for recycling over at the transfer station.

Smaller modern appliances which are mostly made of plastic can’t be recycled, including stereos and coffee machines.

Eco-bulbs *

We recycle eco-bulbs for a donation to help cover costs. Some eco-bulbs contain mercury, so you don’t want them to end up in the landfill. During the recycling process, the tubes are crushed, elements separated and mercury is recovered. Aluminium and glass is also recycled in the process.

Ink Cartridges *

We work with Cartridge World to recycle printer cartridges. Drop in your used printer cartridges to the yard, and we send them off to be refilled and reused. Any obsolete or broken cartridges are recycled.

Clear shrink wrap

Clean, clear plastic wrap marked with a number 4 can be recycled (eg plastic pallet wrap). The wrap should have a slight stretch in it when pulled.

Wastebusters doesn’t recycle household soft plastics (e.g. bread bags). 

Glass Bottles for Reuse

We collect refillable glass bottles which can be washed and reused: Emersons and Speights/ABC swappa-crate. Keep them separate when you drop off your recycling, and we’ll make sure they go round again for another cheery, beery life.