The New Zealand metal recycling industry encompasses a range of businesses involved in the collection, processing, re-processing and export of metals.

Metals are infinitely recyclable, but often require processing to remove non-metallic components. The industry handles metal items of all types – it is a common misconception that the only metal items which can be recycled are those which are accepted in municipal kerbside collections.

Most recyclers offer a drop-off facility for the public to recycle their metals; depending upon weights and market prices at the time, most customers are paid for the items they bring in to recycle.

Metals are valued commodities which trade internationally. In calendar year 2022, AMR members processed over 842,000 tonnes of metal in their service of communities across NZ.  630,628 tonnes were exported from New Zealand. (Processing is part of the value chain with some processing occurring before materials are on-sold to the final exporter.)

For dry cargo (non refrigerated), NZ has an import to export imbalance. The industry assists this by making use of the oversupply of containers in depots which reduces the number of empty containers that shipping companies must return at their own cost. Getting paid both ways helps keep the import freight rates down. Without a significant amount of return cargo, many shipping companies will avoid sending cargo to NZ and all imported goods will further increase in price.

Our President, Glen Jacobs, is the spokesperson for AMR. You can reach him by email on

Our previous media releases:

Send less metals to landfill not more

05 Feb 2024

Metal Packaging is 100% recyclable at your local metal recycler - for immediate release

The Association of Metal Recyclers (AMR) is concerned that the new standardised kerbside collection system which has been rolled out around the country excludes a range of valuable metals packaging from collection. AMR is concerned that the messaging will lead people to think that these items are not recyclable, when in fact they are.

Council collections will no longer accept the metal lids from food cans unless the lids are left attached to the can, which is often not possible to achieve safely. Aluminium foil and trays which are increasingly being used to replace plastic will also be excluded despite representing a growing market using a 100% recyclable material.

The Association of Metal Recyclers’ members operate over 90 sites nationwide and they encourage New Zealanders to collect their metal packaging and drop it off for recycling. Metal recycling sites are looking to provide drop off bins for the public to use in lieu of their kerbside bins for an easy solution to ensure these metals continue to be recycled.

Items that will be accepted at most metal recycling yards include:

Food cans and lids, rinsed to remove food

  • Beer bottle caps
  • Jar lids
  • Drink cans and tabs
  • Foil and foil trays, rinsed to remove food
  • Wine caps

Unfortunately, aerosol cans are not accepted at present because these are pressurised and can present a fire hazard, however the industry is supporting the members of the Food & Grocery Council to solve this issue so that this valuable metal is not lost to landfill.

Last year AMR members recovered 3146 Tonnes of aluminium cans which were exported to support the global circular economy.

AMR has a Find a Member directory on its website at to make finding your local recycler easy.

For further information, please contact AMR President Glen Jacobs on 027 330 4091



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