Rubbish and recycling

Hazardous waste

Identifying hazardous waste

Hazardous waste has certain characteristics which make it unsafe to put in your kerbside rubbish bin. These characteristics are:

  • flammable
  • oxidising
  • toxic
  • explosive
  • corrosive
  • eco-toxic
  • infectious
  • radioactive

Hazardous household waste disposal service

Auckland Council provides a free service for people to drop off their hazardous waste. This ensures the waste does not go into landfill in an untreated state. This service is available at four transfer stations in Auckland.

If a waste type is not accepted for free, it is because there are already public recycling schemes available for this waste.

You can take hazardous waste that meets our guidelines, and is an accepted item, to any of these transfer stations:

  • Claris Landfill 
    Grey Rd, Claris
    Great Barrier Island
    (09) 429 0622
  • Econowaste Silverdale Refuse Station
    101-107 Foundry Road
    09 426 9333
  • Waiheke Island Recycling Centre
    110 Ostend Road
    Waiheke island
    (09) 372 1070
  • Waitakere Refuse and Recycling Transfer Station
    50 The Concourse
    (09) 301 0101

Commercial healthcare and medical waste

Healthcare and medical waste from healthcare centres, pharmacies, and other commercial and public medical premises is prohibited from Auckland Council waste services. A private waste collector has to dispose of this waste.

See the NZ Standard: NZS 4304:2002 Management of healthcare waste for instructions on disposal.

Home healthcare and medical waste

Medical waste can be generated from healthcare delivered in a person’s home, and is prohibited under the Auckland Council Solid Waste Bylaw.

Providers of home healthcare materials are responsible for disposing of the waste.

For high waste or recycling volumes as a result of home healthcare, contact your health professional or home healthcare provider.

Medicine disposal at pharmacies

All pharmacies across Auckland now offer a free, safe collection and disposal service for unwanted and out-of-date medicines. This includes over-the-counter and prescription medicines, sharp items such as needles, and cytotoxic (chemotherapy) drugs.

For more information, see the leaflet:

Dispose of Unwanted Medicines Properly leaflet.

What can and can't be dropped off

We will accept hazardous waste that meets the following rules:

  • Each type of waste must be defined as "household waste" (see below).
  • The waste must be in containers not exceeding 10L each.
  • Each individual form of waste must not exceed 10L. We will accept multiples of any one type of hazardous waste only if circumstances indicate the origin of the hazardous waste is from a household source.

The following table indicates whether or not the waste will be accepted as household hazardous waste. However, site operators may accept non-household waste at a separate cost. 

Contact the site directly for more information.

Accepted hazardous waste

Not accepted hazardous waste

  • Household chemicals such as disinfectants, swimming pool chemicals, glues, cleaners, varnish, wood stains, paint stripper, bleach, anti-freeze and brake fluid, etc.
  • Garden chemicals such as herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) regardless of source.
  • Old chemicals (20+ years old) of any variety, and chemicals in a degraded and potentially dangerous state. This includes materials clearly from pre-1980s which are unlabeled.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
  • Special paint products limited to lead based, marine anti-fouling and bitumous products.

    Waitakere Transfer Station accepts all paint other than commercial in quantity or nature.
  • Solvents e.g. methylated spirits, mineral turpentine, kerosene, petrol, diesel, paint thinners and similar.
  • Specific potentially explosive or dangerous chemicals as follows:
      • picric acid
      • anaesthetising ether
      • potassium permanganate
      • hydrofluoric acid
      • red lead
      • sulphur
      • mercury and mercury containing items, including small items that have been mercury contaminated such as carpet pieces and small vacuum cleaners
  • Gas bottles (such as 9kg barbecue bottles).
  • Materials types of brands which are generally not used by households, such as two pot automotive paint.
  • Agricultural chemicals.

    These can be disposed of using the Agrecovery Product Stewardship scheme.

  • Paint and paint like products.

    These can be disposed of using Resene's PaintWise Product Stewardship scheme.

    Some resource recovery sites may accept paint for re-distribution to the community or at the customer's expense.

    Waitakere Transfer Station accepts all paint other than commercial in quantity or nature.

  • Mobile phones and batteries.

    Old mobile phones and phone batteries are collected by the RE:Mobile program, and can be dropped off at any Spark, 2degrees or Vodafone store.

  • Household batteries - see how to dispose.

  • Vehicle batteries.

  • Fluorescent tubes and energy saver light bulbs.

    Fluorescent tubes are predominantly a commercial waste.

  • Used petroleum based oil This should be diverted to the Repco and SuperCheap Auto voluntary product stewardship schemes. See for more information.

  • Vegetable oil.

  • School laboratory chemicals.

End of life disposal - paint, agricultural chemicals, oil

Some responsible industries and companies provide end-of-life disposal options for their products. This is called product stewardship.

In the Auckland region, there are industry-provided product stewardship schemes for some waste. They include:

To find out more about product stewardship go to the Ministry for the Environment website.

How to dispose of household batteries

It is not advisable to stockpile batteries in your home, as there is a risk that old batteries can degrade and potentially cause fires.

Rechargeable batteries (e.g. Ni-cd, Li-ion and Ni-MH batteries)

These must not be placed in your kerbside refuse or recycling bin. Please contact your nearest Community Recycling Centre or e-waste recyclers Abilities Incorporated, or Upcycle Limited to find out the best way to recycle these items.

Single use household batteries (e.g. zinc carbon, zinc chloride and alkaline, button batteries)

The safest way to dispose these household batteries is in your council kerbside refuse.

Great Barrier Island residents should take their batteries to Claris Landfill Transfer Station.

If you use a non-council refuse service, you should check with your refuse disposal agent on how to dispose them.

Batteries sent to landfill

Batteries, along with other household rubbish will be sent to one of the following landfills:

  • Redvale
  • Whitford
  • Hampton Downs.

These modern landfills have appropriate collection systems which prevent leaching of harmful materials (such as mercury) into the environment, thus making it safe for you to dispose of batteries in your kerbside refuse.

For more information, including research on battery disposal, see our report:

Assessment of appropriate disposal options of household batteries (PDF 1.12MB).

Product stewardship

Some battery packaging may state that batteries can be recycled. This is because some batteries are manufactured overseas where battery recycling facilities exist (known as product stewardship).

The Ministry for the Environment is currently investigating e-waste product stewardship in New Zealand, which may include batteries.

See the WasteMINZ website for more information.

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