While the Rena's recovered containers are remaining in the Bay of Plenty, the sand fouled by its leaked oil is being trucked nearly 150km away to Waikato.
Nearly 1000 tonnes of oily waste has been collected from beaches and rock pools across the region, and the closest site capable of handling it is a specially prepared pit at the Hampton Downs landfill.
The bulk of the waste will be contained within the 386ha landfill, which is Waikato's largest, with three layers of protective lining to stop the highly toxic oil escaping.
Des McCleary, project development manager for Envirowaste, which manages the site, said there were no cost-effective ways of recycling the muck.
"Not of all of it will be landfilled and, where available, alternative methods of disposal are being looked at."
In Mt Maunganui more than 1300 tonnes of liquid waste from the bird washing process at the oiled wildlife centre has been processed and clarified.