Frequently Asked Questions


Please see below for some of the more commonly asked questions, if you need more information please call or email us.

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.

  • 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 frequent collections means you can avoid charges. Small volumes of recyclable waste collected occasionally 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 frequency.

  • 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 pure as possible with minimal cross-contamination of the various recyclable materials that can enter a waste stream.

  • Why should I empty, rinse, and clean mixed recycling containers before disposal in the mixed recycling bin?

    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 pure as possible with minimal cross-contamination of the various residues that can enter a waste stream. Fats, greases 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?

    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, fewer diesel fumes)
    • Fewer collections (keeps operating costs low so reduces need for fee increases)
    • Lower operating costs (less use of forklift, 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?

    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?

    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.

    We are making changes to our truck run system. As part of this process, the customer portal will be unavailable on weekends until further notice (for Auckland customers only), from 3pm on Friday until 6am on Monday as we make changes.

    If you have any issues during this period, please call 09 551 0242. Thank you for your understanding

  • 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 Become a Customer form and we will be in touch soon.

  • How do I find out more about you?

    In the first instance, visit the About Us section of this website. 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 are open. Cardboard, paper, plastic containers, glass bottles and jars, steel and aluminium cans are accepted at the public drop off. 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?

    Yes. Reclaim’s Environmental Policy can be found on our Resource Downloads page.


Technical FAQs

  • 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 freight companies. If you are interested in finding out more about purchasing our pre-sorted recyclables, please use our Contact Form to get in touch.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Is there a penalty for sending waste to landfills?

    The Waste Minimisation Act introduced a $10 per tonne landfill waste levy, and this cost is passed down to waste producers, such as Auckland businesses. Many industry experts believe this levy should be increased to reduce waste going to landfill and encourage effective recycling.

  • 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 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 1 litre 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 layers high.

  • How much energy is saved through recycling glass bottles?

    Recycling 5 glass bottles saves enough energy to light a 100W bulb for 20 hours (statistics obtained from Auckland Regional Council).