How to be a champion recycler in New Zealand

Conscious consumption environment love recycle reduce Repurpose reuse Upcycle

Did you know that in 2006, New Zealand sent 3.156 million tonnes of waste to landfills? (Source | That is a scary amount. Not to the recycling plant, but to landfills. Yikes! Landfill is where they take the rubbish & bury it which builds up our land, with rubbish. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle. If you grew up in New Zealand, you should be familiar with these three words. When I compare NZ to some places I have travelled, Kiwis are ok at recycling. But, we can always be better! 

In my opinion, I still see too many people throwing things in the rubbish bin that could be recycled. Every time this happens, I get disappointed, & a bit mad because I know where it is going to end up. Maybe the person who is doing this, hasn't realised? As a product based business owner, I feel a duty to help bring awareness to this subject. Conscious consumption & thoughtful disposal will help minimise our waste problem in New Zealand.


Less consumption equals less waste. This is where the expression 'quality over quantity' comes in. Why buy 10 cheap & nasty products, when you could buy one good one? In most cases, you get what you pay for. Having 10 cheap & nasty products produces 10 cheap & nasty pieces of rubbish. It's scary to think about all this waste & where it might end up! I started Camille Co. because I saw a staggering amount of waste in the packaging industry. Products that were over-packaged to arrive on NZ shores in mint condition. Sometimes the original packaging was discarded, & the product repackaged. It's such a waste. I wanted to create quality products, made in New Zealand with thoughtful packaging. 

Over-packaging is everywhere. It's so unnecessary. Examples include packaged fruit & vegetables, bottled water & single use packaging (ie. yoghurt containers, small bags of chips etc). Reduce the use of these & you will already be doing the planet a huge favour.


• Take reusable bags whenever & wherever you shop. Check out The Green Collective for some great bag options to take to the supermarket or fruit & veg shop

• Invest in a good drink bottle to refill. There is evidence to suggest that some packaging of bottled water can be harmful to your health. I won't go too much into that (you can google it if you're interested). Sustainable Coastlines have fabulous drink bottles (that will fit in your car holders too. Bonus!)

• Buy quality made goods. The Green Elephant has an enormous collection of quality made goods - All in one place

• There are so many awesome places to buy second-hand goods. Check out your local op shops or Trademe


There are so many fantastic hacks on Pinterest to repurpose / upcycle your old stuff. Instead of tossing your old junk out, give it new life & turn it into something beautiful & useful.


• Get inspired & get creative! Repurpose your old stuff. Pinterest has a wealth of ideas! Click here to see some ideas we have saved on Pinterest

• Reuse those old plastic containers & glass jars. Click here to see some ideas on how to upcycle your old jars. Do you know someone who likes to make jams / preserves? No doubt, they're searching for more jars. How about handing your old jars on to them? You might just get a jar of fresh jam out of it

If DIY crafting or reusing stuff isn't your thang. Then let someone else reuse it for you. There are a couple of things you can do instead of throwing your old stuff in the bin


• Get on Trademe to sell your old stuff. Have you heard the expression 'One man's trash is another man's treasure'? That old remote you have stashed away for the TV you no longer own? Chances are someone is looking for that remote (because they lost theirs). They're going to go searching for it on Trademe

• Pop your old clothes into the clothing bin

• Take unwanted manchester to the mission

• Donate your unwanted goods to the hospice or opportunity shop

• Head to or

• We have a staggering amount of food waste in NZ. Instead of throwing those bananas out, freeze them to turn into banana cake later. You can get creative with this. Check out for more information & ideas


If you don't recycle, it ends up in landfill, plain & simple. Why fill up our land with stuff when it can be recycled? Did you know plastic bottles can take up to 450 years or more to decompose? Aluminium cans can take hundreds of years. 


• Recycle soft plastics. Not everywhere in the country has the facility to recycle soft plastics yet, so check it out first. In Auckland, you can take plastic bags to your local supermarket to recycle. They can not go into the recycling bin as they can clog up the processing machinery. 

• Familiarise yourself with what can & can't be recycled. Did you know you can not recycle compostable / biodegradable cutlery or dishes. Nor can you recycle styrofoam, some glass, & some metal. 

• Recycle everything you can. Keep your bin smelling fresh by giving everything a quick rinse before it goes in your bin.

• Educate young ones on the importance of recycling & set a good example by recycling as much as possible.

For more information, head to or contact your local council. There is so much to know around this subject, far more than I could write about in this blog post. I hope that you have enjoyed this article. I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas about this issue in the comments below. Perhaps you have some awesome tips or advice to share? Let's all contribute to a cleaner, greener New Zealand!

Until next time,

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  • Jess O'Connor

    Yes yes yes! I found myself nodding in agreement all the way through this – all of your suggestions are so logical, practical, and most of all EASY! I too get super anxious about how much crap gets thrown out every day. Definitely going to refer to this list moving forward xx

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