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The 4 R's

Learn ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to lessen the quantity of waste you throw away and consider what you can Recover.

4R's Waste Management Hierarchy

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to lessen the quantity of waste you throw away. Consider Recovery.


Take your own bags to the supermarket, this saves collecting bags that you don't really want, buy products with less packaging or recyclable packaging.


Reusable shopping bags are readily available and proven to be cost effective while also protecting the environment, second-hand dealers and charity groups will often take useful items.


Take advantage of the recycling collection that happens once a week in Waipawa and Waipukurau. 


Consider composting or use of a building recycler who may recover materials from buildings.

Below is a list showing how long it takes for the following common items to break down.

Item Breakdown Time
Cigarette butts 1 - 5 years
Aluminium cans and caps 500 years
Glass bottles 1000 years
Plastic Bags 10 - 20 years
Plastic coated paper 5 years
Plastic film containers 20 - 30 years
Nylon fabric 30 - 40 years
Leather up to 50 years
Wool socks 1 - 5 years
Orange and banana peels up to 2 years
Tin cans 50 years

As you can see from this table it takes a very long time for many of our everyday resources to break down in the landfill. After the waste is buried some of it will start to break down causing potential pollution problems such as leachate and methane gas. Leachate is a liquid made up of rainwater and rotting material, which is harmful to the environment if not properly contained and treated.

Methane gas is harmful to the Ozone layer and comes from the breakdown of organic materials. About 6% of New Zealand's Methane emissions come from landfills.


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