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WEIRD REYCLING: Where to recycle pens, coffee pods, soft plastics, bread tags and SO much more...

Updated: Jul 4

There's are SO MANY things that CAN be recycled, but many of them can not go in your recycling bin.


I thought it would be handy to compile a list of how and where to recycle these things, so that all the info is together in one spot... SO here goes!


All are free unless otherwise stated.



Soft Plastics - soft plastic (what is soft plastic? See bottom of article) recycling is currently available to 60% of NZers (it's not in the South Island yet, but they say it's coming to Christchurch soon). Find your closest drop off point here: https://www.recycling.kiwi.nz/store-locator


Only Organic Babyfood pouches - These pouches are now recyclable through soft plastic recycling (see directly above for where to recycle your soft plastics). To find out how to prepare your pouches for soft plastic recycling see the Only Organic info page.


Polystyrene - EXPOL have a polystyrene recycling scheme. You can find collection points here: https://www.expol.co.nz/polystyrene-waste-collection-points


Paint and paint pots - you can recycle old paint and paint containers at Resene and Dulux shops.

Batteries - Most batteries are actually around 98% recyclable! There are plenty of places to recycle batteries, but most of them charge (check out EcoMatters, E-Cycle, Computer Recycling, Upcycle or your local council.) I have found a place on Dominion Road in Auckland that takes them for free: Able Batteries. If you know of any others, please let me know. Approximate cost for those that do charge: Alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, 9V) $3/kg. Non-alkaline batteries (button, rechargeable, Lithium, Ni - Mh, phone) $5.50/kg


Coffee pods - L'affare, L'ore, Maccona, illy, Jed's and Nescafe coffee pods can all be recycled through Terracycle. Find your closest drop off point for these here.


Nespressso have their own recycling scheme for their pods with over 950 drop off points in NZ, you can find drop off points here.


Bread tags - You can collect up your bread tags and donate them to Bread tags for Wheelchairs. The bread tags are recycling in NZ, to fund wheelchairs in South Africa. There are over 130 collection points around NZ, which you can find here.


E-waste - For everything you need to know about e-waste recycling, and to find your closest e-waste recyclers, check out the article I wrote here.

Oral care (Toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes, floss containers and plastic outer packaging materials) - Colgate and TerraCycle have a scheme where these can be recycled, with lots of collection points across the country. Find collection points here

Yoghurt suckies - The Collective Suckie pouches, caps, tubs, packaging and yoghurt tubes can be recycled through Terracycle here. Please note, this is ONLY for the brand The Collective.


Curtains - (Auckland)Habitat Curtain Bank upcycles good quality curtains and fabric material donated by the public and businesses to suit the specific needs of each home. They accept good quality, mould-free curtains, fabric rolls or large offcuts of fabric and clean netting curtains. Please no dirty or mouldy curtains, blinds, curtain tracks, curtain rods of brackets. Drop off points are here.

Stationary - Terracycle and Bic have a recycling scheme that accepts all writing instruments (except for wooden pencils, crayons and chalk) including any brand of pen, felt tip, highlighter, marker, correction fluid pot (must be empty), correction tape, mechanical pencil and eraser pen. They do NOT take glue sticks, erasers, rulers or other cutting objects that could disturb the recycling process. Find out where to take your old stationary here

Shaving - TerraCycle and Gillette have partnered to create a recycling programme for any brand of used razors, their blades and their packaging! Find collection points here

EcoStore Bottles - EcoStore are now taking back their bottles to recycle and reuse. Find your closest collection point here.


Lightbulbs - You can recycle lightbulbs for a charge (approx $1 per lightbulb or $3 per tube) at EcoMatters, In Hamilton you can recycle energy saving lighting/compact fluorescent lamps and fluorescent tubes for free for householders at the Refuse Transfer Station on Lincoln Street. These bulbs can also be dropped off to the Waikato Environment Centre at 242 Peachgrove Rd (please note a donation is requested to cover costs).



Inflatable Pool Toys - I used to be is a brand that turn old inflatable pool toys into one-of-a-kind bags. Drop off points are in Auckland, Cambridge and Whangaparoa - find the list here.


Bras - If you have bras you no longer use (and they're in reasonable condition), take them to one of the Uplift NZ's drop off points so they can live a second life in Fiji, Tonga, the Soloman Islands, or Bali rather than lanquish in a landfill. NZ wide drop off points here.


Plant Pots and Labels - can be recycled at Kings Plant Barn


Wine bottle caps and can tabs - Lions Club collect these for the charity Kidney Kids. Details here.


Hearing Aids - old / used hearing aids can be donated at Bay Audiology. For more info see here.


Non-donatable textiles - Drop your unwanted clothing in the recycling box at your local H&M. All textiles are welcome – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets. I'm not gonna lie - I'm not an H&M fan, and am completely using them for this recycling scheme. You get a 15% discount card when you donate textiles - which I'll never use. So what happens to it? H&M works with a global recycling company called I:CO, which picks up donated clothes from H&M stores and takes them to sorting plants around the world. Around 60 percent goes to re-wear, so secondhand and vintage,” said Catarina Midby, sustainability manager at H&M UK and Ireland. “What cannot be re-worn will be reused and repurposed for things like cleaning cloths, insulation for houses and cars and other products.” 5 to 10 percent of collected clothing is recycled into fibers that ultimately make new clothes. The rest is “downcycled” into lower-value products like insulation.

Across H&M’s brands, .7 percent of the materials used in new clothing has been recycled, according to the company’s 2016 sustainability report.


Prescription Glasses - In partnerships with Lions Recycle for Sight, Specsavers have launched a nationwide glasses recycling program. Every Specsavers store provides a glasses recycling service where old glasses can be donated, quality-checked, and sent to people in need overseas.


To make a difference, simply bring your pre-loved glasses into your local Specsavers store and place them in the glasses recycling box or hand them to a team member.


Do you have any more to add? Let's make this list a one-stop-recycling-shop! Comment below, or on facebook / instagram!


Soft Plastics: scrunchie plastics that you can ball up in your hand, like plastic bags, bread bags, pasta/rice/cereal packaging, frozen food bags, dairy wrappers, bubble wrap, courier bags, chocolate/muesli bar wrappers, toilet paper/paper towel/ nappy/sanitary product wrapping, newspaper wrap, confectionery wrap; chip packets with light foil, large sheets of plastic that furniture comes wrapped in (cut into pieces the size of an A3 sheet of paper first), cling film which is clean - and please make sure it is LDPE (resin 4), ice pack bags – (empty and dry), coffee & tea bags (light foil lining), dry dog food bags, garden potting mix bags


This article is included in Twinkl's Eco-Friendly and Sustainability campaign, and is part of their article "Some great ideas to be more sustainable in 2021”.

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