Auckland, initially the capital and now the largest city in New Zealand, is a city with a relatively short history[1]. The 2006 census shows that one-third of the total population of New Zealand is located within the regional boundaries of Auckland – that is approximately 1.3 million people[2][3]. Its geographical location, an area of land that is ‘situated on a narrow isthmus of land between two large harbours that almost divide the North Island’, and populace contribute to the diverse economic hub that is Auckland[4]. An area such as Auckland which is ‘experiencing rapid population and urban growth,’ should be concerned with urban and environmental sustainability[5].

Based on population growth data from 1996 to 2002, projections have suggested that the population growth within Auckland will increase by 50 per cent over the next 50 years[6]. As the population of the region grows, so does the quantity of waste that ends up at the landfill every year – this means that population growth places pressure on the environment because of the additional waste generation[7]. For example between 2000 and 2002, 968,000 tonnes of waste was disposed of at the landfill sites of Auckland[8] [9]. More recent estimates suggest that nationally 3.4 million tonnes of waste continue to be disposed of at landfills every year[10]. Landfills are not economically viable, nor are they an appropriate way to dispose of waste – thus it is best for residents to ‘reduce waste, reuse goods and recycle materials’[11].

Of the waste ending up at landfills, 65 per cent of it is not rubbish – instead these are wasted resources which could be reused or recycled[12][NN1] . Due to the continued disposal of possible resources in this continually expanding city, recycling remains a central part of fostering a sustainable super city[NN2] .

This policy project seeks to investigate the current situation regarding recycling in Auckland with the aid of the analysis of government failure. In addition to which, comparative institution framework will be utilised to examine other recycling initiatives that may prove to be a viable option for a super city such as Auckland.

[1] John Boon, “The interplay of market forces and government action in the achievement of urban intensification: the case of Auckland, New Zealand,” Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability 3, no. 3 (2010): 296.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Sumita Ghosh and Robert Vale, “Is policy leading to improved sustainability at the local urban scale?,” (paper presented at the International Conference on Sustainability Engineering and Science: Talking and Walking Sustainability, Auckland, February 20-23, 2007). (accessed May 2, 2012).

[4] John Boon, 296.

[5] Sumita Ghosh and Robert Vale

[6] Auckland City Council, “State of the City Report 2010,” (accessed March 20, 2012).

[7] Auckland Regional Council, “Auckland waste and recycling,” (accessed May 3, 2012).

[8] Ibid.

[9] Auckland City Council, “State of the City Report 2010,” (accessed March 20, 2012).

[10] Auckland Regional Council, “Auckland waste and recycling,” (accessed May 3, 2012).

[11] Auckland Regional Council, “Auckland waste and recycling,”

[12] Ibid.