What we do

Our work is about delivering real economic and environmental benefits to individual businesses, industries, government and the wider world.

The term ‘Product Stewardship’ describes what we do, but it’s not widely understood.

Put simply, it’s about reducing the environmental impact of a product over its lifetime by involving stakeholders at every stage.  Using the waste hierarchy as a guiding principal, we apply existing ideas where appropriate or collaborate with others to create innovative new solutions.

We believe helping clients take responsibility for their products at the end of their life can reduce environmental harm and improve resource efficiency.

Our work can also trigger other economic benefits such as winning new customers, gaining entry to new markets, meeting compliance for trade, creating employment opportunities, or developing new products from recovered materials.

Critically, we can help you solve a key problem for your customers: how to responsibly dispose of unwanted products and packaging.

Waste Hierarchy

Rather than just being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we believe businesses should also take into account how we develop, manufacture and consume a product.  This will minimise the need for end of life recycling or disposal.

As New Zealand imports most of our consumer goods, so current stewardship programmes are mainly focused on dealing with the resulting waste.

As programmes mature, they (and the consumers they represent) should be able to exert more influence back through the supply chain.

Find out more about the impact of waste in your industry – call 3R now.

Paint & Textiles

Recycling paint and its packaging is no easy task. We have been involved in paint stewardship since 2004, when Resene approached us to help develop their programme. We developed effective solutions for collecting, processing, recovering and recycling products from paint and packaging.  One of our main goals has been finding innovative new uses for the recovered paint – a challenging but rewarding process.  Through this process, we developed PaintCreteTM.

From the start, 3R have been working with stakeholders to establish an industry-wide paint stewardship programme.  3R are also involved with the Australian Paint industry, providing our knowledge and experience to help them design an industry-wide programme.

Although paint has been our focus, our work goes much further.  We have helped other companies develop stewardship solutions, such as the Interface ReEntry Programme.  We are also working with other household and industrial textile wastes, seeking solutions to divert waste from landfill for business and consumer alike.

Resene PaintWise

Every New Zealand household has an estimated 12 – 15 litres of old paint in their sheds (approximately 20 million litres). Uncontrolled, the disposal of paint is highly damaging to the environment.

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3R has been working with industry leaders since 2000 to create an industry-wide paint and packaging take back scheme for New Zealand. One result of this work – the Dulux take back scheme for trade clients.

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3R works with the agricultural sector, helping farmers and others in primary industry to better manage their waste. Traditionally, New Zealand farms have burned or buried their waste, but the increasing scrutiny placed on the environment practices means this is no longer acceptable.

It’s a big problem. A 2014 Environment Canterbury study of non-natural rural waste found over 50 different types, such as twine, netting, bale wrap, agrichemicals, containers, used oil, timber, tyres, animal health products, and feed bags in farm pits in the region. Using data from the 53 farms surveyed, it was estimated that approximately 9 tonnes of non-natural rural waste is produced on average by each farm every year.

Our initial project involved designing, implementing and managing Agrecovery Rural Recycling, a programme we continue to successfully manage today.


Our agriculture sector uses millions of litres of chemicals each year. Potentially harmful plastic containers and unused chemicals are regularly burned or dumped. 3R were instrumental in the design and delivery of Agrecovery and managed the programme for 10 years.

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Agrichemicals Review

Agrichemicals have been used in New Zealand for over 100 years. In the last 20 years central and local government have made various attempts to collect and dispose of unwanted chemicals, with varying levels of success.  3R is leading the industry in developing solutions for this problem.

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Many in the nursery and garden industry see plastic waste as one of the most significant issues facing the industry. 3R’s Gardenwise programme finds better ways to recycle and safely dispose of problem plastic.

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3R believes that every vehicle owner should have the opportunity to ensure that their vehicle and its components, when no longer useful, are appropriately disposed of.

Tyres in New Zealand are a prime example where fees are charged for environmental disposal but often nothing further is done to ensure that this is actually happening.  Government and Industry have the shared responsibility to ensure that fees collected are used for the recycling of this valuable resource.

3R was instrumental in setting up the Tyrewise project and leading the working group to find an industry-wide solution for end-of-life tyres.  We are also working on solutions for other vehicle components and related items, such as child car restraints.

Vehicles offer a myriad of opportunities for effective stewardship, and 3R is working at the forefront of this.


Around four million passenger tyres and one million truck and other tyres reach their end of life in NZ each year.  3R worked closely with industry to find a viable solution for these.

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Many people don’t know that child car restraints (car seats) have a fixed life span of between six and ten years. Rather than just dumping these products in landfill, 3R is providing a recycling solution.

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Along with skyrocketing consumerism, electrical and electronic equipment now permeates every aspect of our lives.  3R are keen to see a solution for e-waste that is industry-led and government supported.

Significant work by the industry and retail has already shown that voluntary measures are not effective in solving the problems surrounding disposal of e-waste.

While an effective programme will divert a recyclable resource from landfill, it is also critical that we recognise the need to avoid the high environment impact of

inappropriate disposal for products containing toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury and brominated flame retardants.

The government is looking closely at the problem and 3R aims to work with them, retailers and others in the industry to find an appropriate product stewardship solution for electrical and electronic equipment.

Read a summary of our submission to the E-Waste Product Stewardship Preliminary Report, November 2014.

Want to learn more about our recycling and disposal programmes? Get in touch today.

Keeping It Pure

Watch our interview on the Keeping it Pure documentary (2014) which screened on Prime. We talk about waste issues in New Zealand and some of the product stewardship programmes we manage.

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