How can I recycle my old mobile phone?

Electronic waste (e-waste), including unwanted mobile phones and their accessories, should not be included in your household rubbish. This is because they contain heavy metals which are toxic, and these are released into soil and groundwater when dumped onto landfill (or illegally dumped). 

You can donate old mobile phones through RE:MOBILE. This is the only government-accredited mobile phone recycling programme in the country. A percentage of the profits from donated phones are given to charity.

Before you donate your phone, you should disconnect it from any cloud services, remove the SIM card and switch the phone off. It’s ok to leave the battery in.

You can leave your phone at the following drop-off locations: 

You can also send your old phone to RE:MOBILE through their recycling partner, Swapkit (see the RE:MOBILE website for the postage addresses ).

2degrees, Spark and Vodafone also take used mobile phones as trade-ins for a new phone.

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Who will take my old computer and television?

There are a number of organisations which take most types of e-waste for recycling or safe disposal (of non-recyclable parts), including some landfills. Generally you have to pay a fee for this service. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find somewhere nearby, or you could contact your local council

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Where can I take my old books?

You can donate books and magazines to a number of places. Depending on the type of books you have, you could offer them to a local hospital, charity or school library, or to a charity book fair or op shop. Your local CAB can help you identify organisations who might be interested in them.

You can also take them to a book exchange or second hand bookshop or sell them online. 

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I heard that energy-saving light bulbs have to be disposed of in a special way. What am I supposed to do with them?

Some energy saving light bulbs e.g. compact fluorescent light bulbs, need to be disposed of carefully because they contain a toxic heavy metal called mercury. Rather than putting them in with your household rubbish, it’s safer to have them recycled instead. You can contact your local council to find out what options are available in your area.

If you can’t recycle the bulb, you should at least put it in a sealed glass or plastic jar before you put it in the rubbish.

For more information about the safe disposal of household light bulbs see the website of the New Zealand National Poisons Centre.

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How do I dispose of used car batteries safely?

Lead acid batteries, such as car batteries, need to be recycled rather than simply dumped. Where you can take them to depends on where you are in New Zealand, but you can find out about the options for your area by contacting your local council or car battery dealer. In many places you can take your car battery to a council transfer station or recycling depot, while in other areas you will be directed to a list of private organisations which accept them for recycling.
Some organisations will pick them up from you or even pay you for your used car batteries.  

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Where can I take plastic bags for recycling?

Some council recycling services do take soft plastics such as plastic bags, but if yours does not you may be still be able to get your plastic bags recycled.

The NZ Soft Plastics Programme allows you to drop off your unwanted (but clean and dry) plastic bags and soft plastic packaging to a participating store, where they will be collected for recycling. They can be recycled into outdoor furniture, bollards and recycling bins.