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The volatile global recycling market

The process and economics of recycling is global and changes quickly.

It means prices move up and down depending on geopolitical and economic factors. We try to keep WM New Zealand's prices as consistent as possible, but do need to make adjustments when there is sustained pricing pressure.


The conflict in Ukraine

An energy supply crunch tied to the conflict in Ukraine is causing widespread blackouts and soaring electricity prices across Europe.

It is affecting paper mills, and Europe is now sending much of its fibre recycling to Southeast Asia, where there is an oversupply.

What does it mean for New Zealand?

Southeast Asia is the primary market for our fibre materials. However, the glut from Europe means prices have dropped significantly and no longer cover the costs of collection.

We are raising our prices accordingly to ensure we can continue to sustainably take care of this recycling.  



Contamination also increases costs. Overseas markets, and increasingly our New Zealand recycling processors, will only accept high-quality materials free from any contamination. If a load of recycling is found to be contaminated it puts our ongoing relationship with recycling processors at risk.


What you can do

Make sure you have the right bins and are following recycling best practice.

Talk to your sales consultant for more information, but this series of videos is a great place to start. The videos outline:

  • Acceptance criteria per recycling service
  • Correct WM New Zealand bin to use
  • Correct WM New Zealand label to showcase on or above the bin
  • Common items that cause contamination


The good news

At WM New Zealand we are investing in the circular economy and choose local recycling solutions wherever possible. Most of our plastic can be recycled within New Zealand - a whopping 80% in 2022. The below diagram gives an overview of our partners and the end goods your recycling is turned into. View the PDF HERE.