Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions. These are grouped into the following categories: Service, Technical, Industry and Branding. If you need more information please call us during office hours or complete our contact form.

Service FAQs

  • Why are Usage Reports important?
    A Usage Report shows the amount of recyclable waste collected by us for your account the previous month, it includes all sites and all services listed under your account. The report can be downloaded in PDF or Excel formats and this information allows your businesses to report how much recyclable waste you have been able to divert away from landfills, demonstrating sustainable business practice. To view your Usage Reports you must register to access our Customer Portal.
  • How can I pay my account invoice online?
    You will need your account number and invoice number, once logged on to your account you can transfer payment to our account: 00-888888-878778
  • Do I have to pay to have my recyclable waste removed?
    This really depends on the type and amount of recyclable waste you generate. Reclaim sorts and prepares resources that are valued by recycled product manufacturers. If the cost of collecting these resources from you is less than what we get paid for them, then we are unlikely to charge you for removal. If the cost of collection is greater than what we get paid then we apply charges to recover our costs. These are typically made up of rental charges and/or collection fees.
  • Can other businesses near me share a Reclaim disposal bin?
    Yes, as long as the correct recyclable waste is deposited in each bin this is fine. It is in your interest to collect as much communal recyclable waste as you can, as greater and more fequent collections means you can avoid charges. Small volumes of recyclable waste, collected occassionally, will likely incur charges.
  • How do I check that I have the right number and size of bins & cages for my recycled waste?
    Our bins & cages are colour coded and sized to meet the specific waste production needs of customers. It is generally good practice for us to collect full bins or cages, rather than them being half full or empty. We prefer the frequency of our collections to be based on the collection of full bins and cages. It is therefore important to get the right size bin or cage, and the number required, to try and achieve regular full collections.

    Customers typically do not want waste sitting around too long, and do not like to see it overflowing. If this applies to you then you need to talk to us. You may need smaller or fewer cages and bins, or more, or you may need us to increase our collection fequency.
  • Why is it so important to separate specific waste products in separate bins?
    Waste sorted at source leads to easier and more consistent sorting back at our sorting factories. Manufacturers of recycled products prefer the base materials, supplied by us, to be a pure as possible with minimal cross-contamination of the various recyclable materials that can enter a waste stream.
  • Why should I ensure cans, tins, bottles and packaging is clean and free from residue?
    Waste cleaned at source leads to easier and more consistent sorting back at our sorting factories. Manufacturers of recycled products prefer the base materials, supplied by us, to be a pure as possible with minimal cross-contamination of the various residues that can enter a waste stream. Fats, breases and oils can create many problems.
  • Is Reclaim a recycling company that actually makes new products?
    We do not make recycled products: We play a crucial part in the recycling chain.
    We help develop recycling policies and procedures for customers, so used resources are reclaimed rather treated as rubbish.
    We ensure the right type of disposal systems are in place, depending on waste type, frequency and volume.
    We provide timely collection of recovered resources, using specially designed collection vehicles.
    We carefully sort and prepare recyclables for optimum resource quality for future product manufacture.
    We maintain effective supply and trading arrangements with recycled product manufacturers, adhering to sustainability principles and providing recycled product assurance.
  • Why should I flatten cardboard boxes and how do I do it?
    Why should I flatten cardboard boxes and how do I do it?
    There are many benefits to your company from flattening your cardboard, these include:
    • Cleaner site (reduced chance of constructed boxes being left outside your cage)
    • Fewer accidents (avoid broken ankles from stamping on boxes)
    • Less contamination (no boxes to conceal contaminated loads, less rejection)
    • Less congested site (fewer truck visits, more space, less diesel fumes)
    • Fewer collections (keeps operating costs low so reduces need for fee increases)
    • Lower operating costs (less use of fork lift, saving lpg and manpower)
    • Cleaner workplace (carry more flattened boxes to a cage than constructed boxes)
    • Encourages more recycling (good practice leads to more loads being collected)

    Our guide contains all you need to know.

    View our guide here
  • Can I view and download my account details online?
    Can I view and download my account details online?
    Yes, register to use the Customer Portal. Our guide shows you what you need to do, and what you can view once registered. Over 500 customers are now using our Customer Portal.

    View our guide here
  • I cannot access the Customer Portal, what is wrong?
    I cannot access the Customer Portal, what is wrong?
    Firstly, check that you are using the correct email address and password that would have been automatically sent to you when your registration was approved.

    If you cannot access the Portal website, your IT department should be consulted as there may be limitations set up via your server that stops you from accessing a secure site requiring a password. You should also check that your browser settings allow access to https sites.

    If you have lost your access details or need connection help, call 0800RECLAIM during office hours and ask to speak someone who can help you with the Customer Portal.

    View our guide here
  • Why are some bin labels different and what do they mean?
    We are currently updating our branding and bins so you may notice older labels that have information that differs to our new labels. The link below will take you to a scetion of our website that explains the differences between all our labels.

    Understanding Labels
  • Is Secure Documentation Destruction material recycled?
    We ensure the confidential documents are securely collected, transferred and destroyed using fine shredders. The shredded paper is then baled and recycled.
  • How does your Residual Waste service reduce waste going to landfills?
    A lot of the waste sent to landfills never goes away, it just stays there rotting. Some waste breaks down as harmless matter, but too much ends up producing methane gases and/or toxic sludge (both can escape landfills and harm our environment).

    Our goal is to switch businesses over to a new way of managing waste removal. By providing a Residual Waste service, we believe attention and interest in the need to divert waste to landfills will increase. Our customers are encouraged to correctly deposit their recyclable waste and reduce the amount of residual waste they generate. In doing this, waste collection schedules become less frequent and/or larger bins are replaced by smaller bins, leading to the eventual removal of bins and no waste going to landfills. This process signals progress towards zero-waste, all leading to reduced landfill waste and reduced running costs.

    This is not a separate service, it is only offered combined with one or more of our recycling services. It is only available in the Auckland region.
  • What is the best way to contact you?
    Our customer service system is designed to manage information supplied via web-based contact forms so we can ensure your specific enquiry is managed by the right people. Our telephone operators also use these forms. If you are already a customer, register for a user name and log in on our Customer Portal. You will then be able to view your information and request services specific to your needs. Otherwise, please use the Contact Form and specify the nature of your enquiry. If you want to join Reclaim, complete our Join Reclaim form and we will be in touch soon.
  • How do I find out more about you?
    In the first instance, visit the Reclaim section of this web site. If you need more information, please complete our Contact Form and ask for specific information in the comments field.
  • Do I have to pay to drop off recyclable waste?
    During business hours, our public drop off facilities at 218 Station Road Penrose, Auckland City, Auckland, we cater for cardboard, paper, plastic containers, glass bottles and jars, steel and alumnium cans. You do not have to pay to use these facilities, however we require these items to be clean and not contaminated.
  • Does Reclaim have an Environmental Policy and Sustainability Policy?
    Our Environment Care Policy and our Sustainability Policy are listed under Company Documents within the Downloads Section of our Help Desk.

    Click here for our Downloads Section

Technical FAQs

  • Why are there different bin labels and what do they mean?
    There are older-type bin labels in circulation, these were used by us when we were known as Paper Reclaim. Our new labels are slowly replacing the older labels. You can view all our labels on our website: Understanding Labels. If you want a new label posting to you to replace an older label please use our contact form.
  • As a recycled product manufacturer, how do I arrange to purchase recyclable resources from Reclaim?
    Reclaim supplies quality pre-sorted glass, organic waste, paper and cardboard materials to NZ manufacturers and exports plastic, aluminium and paper to overseas manufacturers.

    Our material sales team manages these transactions and coordinates with frieght companies. View Our People to see the team members. Please use our Contact Form and select the materials sales query.
  • Can paper be recycled on an ongoing basis?
    No, every time paper is recycled, the fibres get shorter. After being recycled 5 to 7 times, the fibres become too short to bond into new paper. New fibres are added to replace the unusable fibres that wash out of the pulp during the recycling process. A single sheet of paper may contain new fibres as well as fibres that have already been recycled several times.
  • Why do we separate paper and cardboard?
    Paper is separated because it is recycled into two different grades of paper: chemical pulp paper (high quality papers such as copier, notebooks, etc) and mechanical pulp paper (newsprint, catalogs, thin card etc).

    Mechanical pulp fibres are weak, and have the tendency to turn yellow over time or with exposure to the sun (put a newspaper in the sun for a few days to see this).

    High quality papers cost more, consequently the raw materials are more expensive. Reclaim earns more money for copier and computer paper than we do for old yellow newsprint. We don't want to put high price fibres into a cheap grade of newsprint; if we have newsprint in our high quality paper, our customers will reject it.

    Corrogated cardboard is most often a mixture of pulp types. Due to this, and its unbleached (brown) colour, it is most commonly recycled back into cardboard liner or medium board to make more cardboard boxes.

    Once the papers are separated, they can enter the proper recycling stream. Plastics, staples, adhesives, etc are removed by robust equipment, and the fibres are reformed into new paper.
  • How are recycled paper and cardboard materials made?
    Reclaim collects paper and cardboard, cardboard is deposited direct at the paper mill or, along with paper, sorted and baled ready for transportation. Any large non-paper items, such as plastic bags and aluminium foil, are removed by hand.
    At the paper mill, it is pulped: that is, water is added and it is mashed into a slush (like when you make papier maché).
    The watery pulp is forced through a screen and filtered to remove any solid objects. Metal paper clips etc are removed by screening and filtering.
    The ink is removed (de-inking process). Ink and other impurities separate from the paper fibres and float to the surface, where they are skimmed off.
    The pulp is drained of water and dried. The cleansed pulp is then mixed with new wood fibres to be made into paper or card again. Typically paper and cardboard can be recycled up to six times before the fibres become too weak to knit together and form a bond. More and more new wood fibres need to be added to maintain a strong bond.
    Lastly it is squeezed through rollers to produce rolls of new paper or cardboard packaging, depending on the original quality. The process is modified to create thicker grades of paper and card and to add any colours. The rolls are dried and stored in dry areas ready for re-use.
  • How is corrugated cardboard made?
    Corrugated cardboard manufacture includes two key steps: making kraft paper and corrugating the cardboard.
    Kraft paper is separated into different grades, which will be used for the medium and the liner. These different grades of corrugated cardboard can be made by combining different grades of kraft paper.
    After additional cleaning and refining steps, a consistent slurry of wood pulp is pumped to the paper-making machine, also known as a Fourdrinier machine.
    These machines contain a wire mesh in which the paper is initially formed. Next, the paper is fed into massive, steam-heated rollers and wide felt blankets that remove the water.
    Corrugating is done in a machine that utilizes heavy rollers. One roll of cardboard is corrugated and then glued between two other layers (liners) by the same machine. The glue is then cured by passing the cardboard over heated rolls.
    One roll of medium is loaded to run through the corrugating rolls, and a roll of liner is fed into the corrugator to be joined with the corrugated medium.
    Liner from another roll travels up over the corrugating rolls along a flat structure called the bridge. This liner will be glued to the corrugated medium later in the process.
  • Why are Aluminium Cans collected and made back into Aluminium?
    Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely, as reprocessing does not damage its structure. Aluminium is also the most cost-effective material to recycle.
    Recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions as compared with primary production and reduces the waste going to landfill.
    Aluminium is produced from bauxite, a clay-like ore that is rich in aluminium compounds. The aluminium is only found as a compound called alumina, which is a hard material consisting of aluminium combined with oxygen.
    This alumina has to be stripped of its oxygen in order to free the aluminium. The alumina is dissolved in a molten salt at a reduction plant and a powerful electric current is run though the liquid to separate the aluminium from the oxygen.
    This is then melted at 660oC and made into rolls (like paper) ready for manufacture. This process uses large quantities of energy.
    Recycling 1kg of aluminium saves up to 6kg of bauxite, 4kg of chemical product and 14 kWh of electricity.
    Aluminium is a key resource to recover and it makes sense to recycle cans, they are light and can easily be crushed for transportation.
    It's refreshing to know that the next aluminium can you drink from could well come back years down the track and hold another soft drink for you.
  • How are Aluminium Cans made?
    Aluminium coils arrive at the can plant and are loaded one at a time onto an "uncoiler" a machine that unrolls the strip of Aluminium at the beginning of the can making line and feeds it to the line, where it is first lubricated. Lubrication helps the Aluminium flow smoothly during the can shaping processes that follow.
    A large machine called a cupping press starts the can shaping process. The press cuts circular discs from the Aluminium sheet and forms them into shallow cups. The cups drop from the press onto the cup conveyor. These two metal-forming operations are performed at high speeds and make 2,500 to 3,750 cups per minute. The scrap (or skeleton) Aluminium left over from these operations is removed and recycled.
    From the cupping press, the cups are drawn up into higher cups through a series of iron rings. Now the Aluminium is starting to look like a can.
    The tops are trimmed off to make them even, each can is the same height and width.
    A washer cleans and dries the can bodies so they can be decorated.
    The cans proceed to a printer, where six to eight colors of ink may be placed on a can at the same time. The can spins around as the label is applied. Finally, a coating is applied that makes the outside of the can shiny and protects the newly applied paint.
    Next, the can goes to an oven, where the paint and coating are baked onto the can to prevent chipping.
    Next, the can's inside is coated with a spray to keep what is in the can from touching or reacting with the metal.
    The can is baked in an oven again to seal the coating onto the can.
    The top of the can is now made narrow. The narrow neck is where the lid of the can will be placed once the can is filled. A lip is formed, called a flange, that will help seal the lid in place after the soft drink is put in the can.
    The bottom of the can is also reformed at this point. A machine makes a small dome that helps improve the strength of the container.
    Finally, all finished cans are tested for leaks. A light tester can find holes smaller than a human hair.
    The cans are put on pallets. The pallets are shipped to soft drink companies, which will put the soft drinks in the cans.
    The lids of the cans, called can ends, are made separately and shipped separately to the soft drink companies. Like can body manufacturing, the end making work starts with a coil of Aluminium. The Aluminium is uncoiled, lubricated and fed to a machine that makes it into a round shell.
    The shells are coated with a sealant and dried. This way, none of the soft drink will actually touch the metal. Next, a machine makes a button on the end where an easy-open tab can be secured into place. The easy-open tab makes it possible for you to open the canned soft drink by simply pulling up and pushing the tab back.
  • Why are Steel Cans collected and made back into Steel?
    Steel is the world’s most recycled material. Steel cans are the easiest type of packaging to recycle as they can be picked out of the garbage and recycling waste by magnetic separation.
    Each steel can is 100% recyclable. It can be recycled over and over again into new products like, bikes and of course new steel cans. The thin layer of protective tin film on the inside needs to be first removed to ensure pure steel is recycled.
    Steel packaging is used for drink cans, food and petfood cans, paint cans, aerosols and containers of many other household and industrial products.
    The average family uses 6 steel cans each week, they are popular as they contain and protect products very well. However, only one of these cans is recycled.
    Some 2 billion steel cans are recycled on average each year: that’s about 7 million cans every working day, enough to make a circle around the world 5 times.
    Today’s steel can weighs 40% less than it did 30 years ago – saving raw materials and making lighter work of the weekly shopping basket.
    Producing steel from recycled material saves 75% of the energy needed to make steel from virgin material.
    For every tonne of steel cans recycled 1.5 tonnes of iron ore, 0.5 tonnes of coal and 40% of water required in the production process is saved.
    Steel cans, often called tin cans, have only a very thin layer of tin - 15 millionths of an inch thick to prevent corrosion – thinner than the skin of a soap bubble.
  • How are Steel Cans made?
    The rimmed-can 3 phase constructionprocess uses a tube and 2 rims:
    1. Joining the bottom and wall (or forming the cup-shaped piece, for a two-piece can)
    2. Filling the can with content
    3. Joining the wall and top.

    Rims (discs) are crucial to the joining of the wall to a top or bottom surface. An extremely tight fit between the pieces must be accomplished to prevent leakage.
    The combined folding forces forming a "dry" joint so tight that welding or solder is not needed to strengthen or seal it.
    The top and bottom of the tubes (edges) have to bent over the rims to form a tight seal. The top rim is fitted using magnets to hold it in place, avoiding contamination with the contents.
    The sides are ribbed to increase the rigidity of the walls, with out these the walls will crunch easily and the contents spill out.
  • Can I recycle wire-bound-spiral books?
    As long as the paper is acceptable (i.e. not plastic coated, high gloss or cellophane wrapped) we can arrange for this to be recycled. We need to arrange this in a advance so please call first.
  • Can I deposit broken glass bottles into Reclaim recycling bins?
    We prefer not to have broken glass in our bins if at all possible. Two reasons for this are that it presents a health and safety risk and we need to separate the different glass colours after collection. Whole bottles make this process easier. Natural breakage in the bins, however, is acceptable.
  • Why should I eliminate waste going to landfills?
    A lot of the waste sent to landfills never goes away, it just stays there rotting. Some waste breaks down as harmless matter, but too much ends up producing methane gases and/or toxic sludge (both can escape landfills and harm our environment).

Industry Facts FAQs

  • How much paper is still going to Auckland landfills each year and how much is this costing businesses?
    It has been estimated that more than 30,000 tonnes of waste paper is still going to landfill in Auckland every year. Most of this is bulky cardboard and lightweight bags of office paper that on average costs $300.00 per tonne to landfill (figure based on 150kg per 4 cubic metre front loader bin at $45.00 per empty). This equates to a staggering $9 million cost to those businesses not currently recycling. It is little wonder that paper recycling is so popular when people understand its significance.
  • Why is sending waste to landfills such a problem?
    Apart from not reusing valuable resources, the problem of landfill waste is environmental.

    According to the Ministry for the Environment, when decomposing, organic waste generates a greenhouse gas called methane and many chemically treated materials generate leachates.

    If it is not captured at the landfill, methane is released and is 25x more damaging to the environment compared to CO2. Leachates are produced when percolating water and other liquids pick up heavy metals and decomposing organic wastes. Uncollected leachate can contaminate groundwater and soil.

    Hazardous wastes can persist in the environment and enter the food chain, harming future generations. Approximately 93% of the materials we use never end up in saleable products at all but are discarded during the production process; approximately 80% of what we produce is discarded after a single use.

    A 1992 study found 7,200 potentially contaminated sites. Of those, 716 are landfill sites. Approximately 1,580 sites are potentially a high risk to human health and/or the environment.
  • What is there a penalty for sending waste to landfills?
    Recent legislation (the Waste Minimisation Act) has introduced a $10 per tonne landfill waste levy, and this cost will be passed down to waste producers... such as Auckland businesses. Many environmentalists believe this levy should be increased to $50 per tonne.
  • What percentage of recycled paper is used to make new paper?
    Before recycling took off, paper was made from 75% fresh wood and only 25% recycled paper. We now see this reversed, made from 75% recycled paper and 25% fresh wood.
    Recycling one tonne of paper saves 31,700 litres of water as much more is needed when using fresh wood. More energy is saved as the need for grinding wood into pulp is decreased. The whole conversion process takes less than an hour.
  • How many pieces of A4 paper are there in one tonne of paper?
    There are 40,000 pieces of A4 paper in one tonne.
  • How many trees are saved through recycling one tonne of waste paper?
    One tonne of waste paper, recycled, saves
    approximately 17 average sized trees and
    can produce up to 8,000 toilet rolls
  • How many visits do you make to collect Auckland's recyclable resources and how many kms do you travel?
    Our fleet of collection trucks make 24,000 visits and travel 100,000 kms each month.
  • How much Auckland landfill space do you estimate you are saving each year?
    We estimate that, each year, we collect the equivalent of 144 million Yellow Pages Directories, 65 million Glass Stubbie Bottles and 85 million 1litre Plastic Milk Bottles. This volume of saved waste all equates to around 340 large shipping containers placed on a rugby pitch and then stacked 30 leayers high.
  • What are the most and least recycled plastics recovered in NZ?
    12,500 tonnes of LDPE was recovered in NZ 2004, making it the most common plastic reclaimed.

    9,000 tonnes of PET was recovered in NZ 2004, making it the second most common plastic reclaimed.

    8,000 tonnes of PET was recovered in NZ 2004, making it the third most common plastic reclaimed.

    2,400 tonnes of PET was recovered in NZ 2004, making it the fourth most common plastic reclaimed.

    1,600 tonnes of Composite Plastics were recovered in NZ 2004, making it the fifth most common plastic reclaimed.

    1,400 tonnes of PP was recovered in NZ 2004, making it the sixth most common plastic reclaimed.

    400 tonnes of PS and 200 tonnes of EPS were recovered in NZ 2004, making it the least common plastic reclaimed.
  • How much energy is saved through recycling glass bottles?
    Recycling 5 glass bottles saves enough
    energy to light a 100W bulb for 20 hours.
    from Auckland Regional Council)
  • How much energy is saved through recycling an aluminium can?
    Recycling 1 aluminium can saves enough
    energy to run a TV for 3 hours. (Statistics from Auckland Regional Council)

Brand Change FAQs