6.1.i Recovery or recycling of forest products as a percent of total forest products consumption


This indicator provides information on the extent to which forest products are recycled or recovered. Recycled and recovered products are an important source of wood fi e for many industries and may compete with, or substitute for, harvested wood. Such products can help meet the demand for forest products without increasing harvest levels.

Current state

Paper is the major forest product that is recycled in New Zealand and the only product for which recycling statistics are available.

The total production of paper and paperboard for the year ended March 2014 was 749 314 tonnes. Based on the usage of waste paper, the recycled component of production is around 30 percent. Total domestic consumption of paper is roughly 870 000 tonnes annually.

With the exception of paper, New Zealand has made limited progress in the recycling of wood products. Significant volumes continue to go to landfills. The recycling (or safe disposal) of preservative-treated timber is an issue New Zealand must address.

Coping with numerous types of wood products, and finding reliable recycling suppliers, has presented problems to establishing recycling operations. Preservative-treated timber presents a new recycling (or disposal) issue for New Zealand, as the first significant volumes are beginning to reach the end of their (theoretical) life cycle.

A small and growing market has developed for the use of recycled indigenous timbers. These timbers are mainly recovered from the demolition of older buildings and houses constructed during the period when indigenous forests were the principal source of timber. The recycled timber is used in furniture manufacturing and (to a limited degree) in the construction of new houses.

In 2008, New Zealand passed into law the Waste Minimisation Act. This Act established a waste disposal levy that has been applied since July 2009 to waste disposed at disposal facilities. The levy has two purposes:

  • to raise revenue for promoting and achieving waste minimisation
  • to increase the cost of waste disposal to recognise that disposal imposes costs on the environment, society and the economy.

The levy is currently set at $10 plus GST (goods and services tax) per tonne and generates a net income of nearly $25 million per annum. Half of this money goes to territorial authorities (allocated proportionally to their share of the population), to help them with minimising waste in their area. The remaining levy money (minus administration costs) is put into a fund to support waste minimisation activities around New Zealand.


The annual tonnage of waste paper used in local manufacturing of paper and paperboard has been relatively static. When coupled with the waste paper that has been recovered and exported, overall recovery of paper has been gradually increasing.


Little progress has been made in the recycling of waste timber and wood products (other than paper), with significant volumes going to landfills. In 2004, timber accounted for 14 percent of the then estimated 3.2 million tonnes of solid waste that went to landfills. This does not include waste disposal to cleanfill, construction and demolition waste landfill sites, or dedicated industrial waste landfills. More recent information indicates that timber still comprises at least 11 percent of the levied (nearly) 2.5 million tonnes nationally of solid wastes that are land filled annually.

Trend Status /

Data Quality L / M

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