Recycling FAQ

Recycling  FAQ

The University of Waikato is constantly improving recycling rates through creative methods of engaging with our staff and student population. We are committed to reducing waste volumes and increasing recycling rates across all our operations.

What materials can be recycled on campus?

You can recycle the following materials on campus: paper, cardboard, copier/printer cartridges, cell phone batteries, small batteries, glass, aluminium, and plastic (types 1, 2 and 5).

If you have small A, AA, AAA, C or D  batteries, please place in an internal envelope, address as “Battery Recycling”  and place in your mailbag. If your department currently has a stockpile (more than 1kg) of small batteries for recycling, email the porters to have them collected. There may be a charge depending on the recyclability of the battery type.

What kinds of paper can I recycle?

Paper recycling is available in most buildings and lecture theatres. Simply leave it flat and deposit it in the green wheelie bin or office paper tray. Our paper is collected by Fullcircle (Carter Holt Harvey) for recycling. Below are the types and conditions of paper that can and cannot be recycled.

Recyclable paperPaper for the rubbish bin
White or coloured copier, computer or fax paperWaxed or greaseproof paper (food bags/paper cups/plates)
Newspapers/magazinesPaper contaminated by food
LetterheadPhotocopy paper wrappers
Ripped up pieces of paperPlastic coated paper/labels
Staples & paperclips don't need to be removedCarbon paper
Self-copying (no carbon required) formsWindow envelopes
 Screwed-up/shredded paper (shredded paper picked up by confidential service is recycled)

What kind of cardboard can I recycle?

Any kind of cardboard or paperboard that does not have a waxy coating is recyclable. For example, milk, ice-cream containers, and long-life Tetra-Pak containers are not recyclable via currently available services. Items like muesli boxes and standard cardboard boxes are recyclable. The most important thing to do with cardboard is to flatten it. Cardboard takes up a tremendous amount of space, and bins quickly fill to overflowing, if boxes are not flattened.

What kind of plastic can I recycle?

For now, only types 1, 2 and 5 plastics are being recycled. This includes most milk and beverage containers. Make sure the container is empty, rinsed and crushed, with the lid removed. If you're not sure whether your plastic container can be recycled, simply look for the number on the bottom within the recycling loop.

Recycling symbols 1, 2 and 5

What kind of glass can I recycle?

Most disposable glass food and drink containers are recyclable. Just empty the containers and put the lids in the rubbish (they are not recyclable). Sorting out your glass by colour is important. Glass recycling companies have a very low tolerance for contamination and will send truckloads of glass to landfill for the smallest amount of cross-colour mixing or inclusion of non-recyclable glass. Examples of glass that cannot be recycled include labware, cookware, ceramics (coffee mugs), window panes, Pyrex, auto glass, light bulbs and fixtures, and mirrors.

Where can I recycle paper on campus?

You can start in your own office. All staff should have their own paper recycling box that they can collect their office paper in - if not, email the porters to obtain one.  Once your box is full, empty it into your department's 240-litre paper recycling bin.  Most departments have their wheelie bin located near the department's MFD printer/copiers or similar central location.  Once the 240-litre bin is near full the department should email the porters who will exchange the bin within 3-4 days.

Where can I recycle other materials on campus?

Other materials that can be recycled on campus include aluminium cans, and printer/copier cartridges.

Download a map of the recycle bin stations on campus.

When are the recycled paper hallway boxes and central bins emptied by the cleaners/porters?

The preference is that staff should empty the box into your department's 240-litre paper recycling bin. The backstop position is that staff can leave their box outside their office and the cleaners will empty it. Once the 240-litre bin is near full the department should email fmd porters who will exchange the bin within 3-4 days.

What happens to the different recyclable materials picked up on campus?

Paper: Most paper on campus is collected by Property Services (formerly Facilities Management) Porters.  This is taken to a collection area at the Ruakura Satellite Campus to be collected by Fullcircle (Carter Holt Harvey. Paper collected for recycling in New Zealand will either be processed into cardboard liner or shipped to Australia or Asia. Paper records that are confidentially destroyed enter Paper Chain's recycling process as well.

Cardboard: The cardboard bins around campus are owned and serviced by Fullcircle (Carter Holt Harvey). Like paper, cardboard collected for recycling in New Zealand will either be processed into cardboard liner by Carter Holt Harvey in Auckland or shipped to Australia or Asia.

Cell phone batteries: Batteries from University cell phones can be taken to the Campus Computers Store.

Glass: Most glass collected for recycling in New Zealand goes to ACI Glass in Auckland where it is melted down into disposable glass food/drink containers.  Some glass is shipped to ACI's plants in Australia.

Plastic (types 1, 2 and 5): Type 1 PET plastic is exported in bales to be reprocessed. Common uses include pillow and sleeping bag filling, clothing, soft drink bottles, and carpet. Most Type 2 HDPE plastic and commercial film are being reprocessed here in New Zealand. Type 2 plastic can end up as recycling bins, compost bins, buckets, detergent containers, posts, fencing, or pipes. Type 5 PP plastic is remanufactured into automotive products, household tools and utensils, various containers, outdoor/garden tools and a wide variety of building materials.

Printer/Copier Cartridges: Place your used cartridges near your department's 240-litre paper recycling bin - not in.  When the University porters empty your department's paper recycling bin they will uplift the used cartridges and deliver them to Campus Computers.  Campus Computers manages the return of HP cartridges to HP and MFD cartridges to Konica Minolta.

Do any of the materials I recycle end up in a landfill?

Recyclable materials can end up at the landfill at two different stages of the recycling process: Recycling operators may reject bins here on campus due to excessive contamination, or entire shipments of goods may be later rejected by recycling plants/shipping ports due to contamination.  Rejected bins of contaminated recyclable goods will go into rubbish skips here on campus, as it is neither cost-effective nor safe to sort post-consumer recyclable materials.

Glass recycling operators are particularly intolerant of contamination, especially of mixing different glass colours or types.  If you have ever noticed bubbles or other imperfections in your glass bottles, this is usually due to contamination by glass types that melt at different temperatures (like a coffee mug getting into a batch of beer bottles). It is not uncommon for glass to end up at landfill since people participating in recycling are either unaware or choose not to sort materials properly.

Loads of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, or aluminium will also be rejected if they are contaminated by food, drink, or lids. This includes items such as pizza boxes, newspaper used to wrap fish-n-chips or partially-filled plastic bottles with lids attached.

Most recycling bins around campus have signage telling you what materials are appropriate.

Why are we phasing out polystyrene on campus?

The University is making an effort to reduce polystyrene on campus, in alignment with our Strategy and Environmental Sustainability Policy.

The reduction and eventual phasing out of polystyrene on campus have been initiated for a variety of reasons:

  • Polystyrene has the highest landfill charge.
  • Polystyrene cups and plates are not recyclable.
  • Polystyrene does not decompose well in a landfill.
  • Polystyrene is an environmental issue in regards to litter and marine debris.
  • Polystyrene does not biodegrade well.
  • There are concerns over the toxicity of styrene and benzene used to manufacture polystyrene.
  • Visitor concerns have been raised where polystyrene plates and cups are used.

Who should I contact for a paper, cardboard, or printer/copier cartridge recycling pickup?

Property Services (formerly Facilities Management) Portering Service: Email [email protected].