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NZ Plastic Production Statistics

Did you know the NZ plastics industry...

  • has over 400 plastic companies
  • has a turnover of $1.8 billion per year
  • employs over 8,000 people
  • has 14 NZ plastics processing companies that employ more than 100 people each
  • converted 236,755 tonnes of plastic into products in 2001
  • provides products for the packaging, agricultural, construction and homeware sectors.

New Zealand plastics production in 2001

57% Packaging
19% Construction
12% Agriculture
5% House ware
5% Other
1% Recycled
1% Waste


Trends in production show that...

  • low density polyethylene (LDPE) is the largest area of production in New Zealand, it is commonly used for film and pipe applications
  • polypropylene (PP) usage is growing rapidly and is predicted to be the next viable material for community or kerbside collection
  • for each dollar of output, New Zealand manufacturers are using less and less material. More than 50,000 tonnes of material has been saved by source reduction in the eight years from 1994 to 2001 (PNZ, 2002).

There are six main types of plastic imported as raw material. The following graph shows the total tonnage of NZ raw materials annual imports.

The New Zealand plastics industry...
  • does not manufacture plastic raw materials
  • imports all its plastic materials, in granular form as raw materials, mainly from Northern America and Asia
  • predicts from current trends that over 300,000 tonnes of raw plastic material will be imported in 2030.

See following graph and the results of the 2001 NZ plastics Mass Balance Survey (pdf) for more details.

How does our annual production compare?

New Zealand 236,000 tonnes
Australia 1,200,000 tonnes
Western Europe 33,575,000 tonnes
America 44,800,000 tonnes


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