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 were 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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If you aren’t already recycling your paint and packaging, get in touch.

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Food and Beverage Packaging

When it comes to recycling, container glass (bottles and jars) simply makes sense. It can be infinitely recycled, retains its purity and quality, uses less virgin materials and reduces greenhouse gas emissions when used to make new glass.

3R manages the Glass Packaging Forum’s accredited product stewardship scheme, which aims to improve the quality and quantity of container glass going back to the furnace to be recycled. An important part of this is encouraging and awarding grants – funded by members levies – for projects that improve glass recycling, or for research into alternative uses for glass which cannot be recycled.

Glass Packaging Forum

We also use our expertise in collaboration and facilitation to bring stakeholders together to connect businesses that sell glass-packaged consumer goods with those that collect and recycle glass.

This work includes improving public access to container glass recycling, helping to increase glass recycling in the hospitality sector, promoting glass recycling among the public, facilitating efficient transport and logistics, representing members in wider forums and effective distribution of grant funding for projects which support the Forum’s aims.

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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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Lubricant Containers

Around 4.5 million lubricant containers are discarded every year in New Zealand. Lubricant packaging is hazardous and problematic to recycle due to the residue left inside even when they’re empty. New Zealand’s leading lubricant manufacturers and distributors are working to change that with 3R Group as project manager.

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Car bumpers

In 2016 some 360,000 car bumpers were sent to landfill, despite being made of recyclable plastic. 3R have partnered with the Motor Trade Association to carry out a car bumper collection trial in Christchurch. The trial will allow us to research solutions for the bumpers and keep the resource they represent in use for longer.

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Hazardous Materials

Hazardous waste is a critical waste issue for many across New Zealand.  Disposal options vary considerably by region and collection and disposal can be expensive.

3R Group offers collection and disposal services for hazardous waste, as well as working on a number of product stewardship programmes or projects that seek to create sustainable solutions for hazardous materials.


3R provide a comprehensive chemical collection and disposal service for a wide range of industries. Whether your chemicals are industrial, agricultural or household, our ChemCollect service has got you covered.

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The Great DDT Muster

3R created The Great DDT Muster to rid New Zealand of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as DDT, Lindane, Dieldrin and others. While these chemicals have been banned for many years, large quantities still remain on properties across the country.

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Synthetic Refrigerant Project

Refrigerants (CFCs and HCFCs) deplete the ozone layer and contribute to climate change. End-of-life refrigerant disposal demand is growing and it is forecast to continue growing over the coming years.  The Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants (RECOVERY), a voluntary product stewardship programme, will be working with 3R to address shortfalls in funding.

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Nursery & Garden Industry

Plastic waste is recognised by many in the nursery and garden industry as one of the most significant issues is faces.

Having tackled rigid plastics and films through the Agrecovery Rural Recycling programme, it was obvious to 3R that a nursery and garden recycling programme is well overdue in New Zealand.

The nature of the mixed, contaminated, yet technically recyclable, plastics typically found in the garden industry requires the innovative and experienced approach that 3R brings to any project.


3R did some initial work with the nursery and garden industry in 2009 and 2010 looking at a product stewardship scheme for plastic pots and soft plastics used in the industry.

In August 2019, the Government announced consultation on a possible declaration of priority product for six products which includes packaging and agrichemicals. If you are a retailer or nursery interested in product stewardship for your products, we’d love to help you progress this.

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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 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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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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