Waste not, want not. Apparently it is a saying first recorded in the 1770s — and derived from another saying even 200 years older.

Towards the latter part of the 20th century we started using the term 'throw-away society' — driven by consumerism, cheaper products and improved incomes.

Now, it seems, there is a realisation this cannot continue.

Wastefulness is bad, landfill is unsustainable and plastics are killing the oceans.


All the cyclings are good — recycling, upcycling, even bicycling it seems.

It used to be simpler — glass bottles were washed and re-used, groceries came in brown paper bags, tyres were re-treaded and used again, plastics weren't abundant enough to be an issue.

The issue with effective waste management and recycling is cost — nothing is free or cheap anymore, or is it.

One Waipā family operating from a base in Kihikihi is doing its bit to carefully and correctly recycle metal and associated products, and in most cases they pay you to get rid of your rubbish.

B&M Autos is located at 28 Leslie Street and has been operating about six years.

It was started by couple Ben and Michelle Bowen, more as a sideline business.

Michelle says her husband is a motor mechanic, and was working at his trade at the time but they were also wrecking cars for the scrap metal.

"It grew from there, simply because there was a need," she says.


We believe they are the only metal recyclers in the district, and while Hamilton city has metal recycling yards, the Kihikihi business is easier to access and helps our local economy.

Michelle says whereas most transfer stations will charge to dispose of all waste, including metal, they allow free whiteware drop off, which can cost $20 elsewhere.

They also take LPG bottles for free, which most transfer stations won't accept.

Steel has the least value, so weighing and paying for small amounts isn't cost effective, but it can still be dropped off free of charge.

Larger amounts, plus the valuable metals such as copper, aluminium and brass are all weighed and paid for at the going rate.

Alloy wheels and dead car and truck batteries are also worth good money.

They don't accept television sets or computer monitors, but do take the computer boxes, which have recyclable metals.

Clients can bring their metals to the yard on weekdays, between 9am and 4pm — or at other times by arrangement.

Large loads go over the newly installed weighbridge before being unloaded and sorted for on-selling.

Michelle says their aim is to reduce waste and be honest with customers.

"If the metal has value, we will pay for it," she says.

And the business produces very little waste — everything gets used.

Plus they are as green as possible — using solar energy for most of their electrical requirements.

While Michelle looks after the yard, Ben is kept busy doing pickups — so busy they have employed their daughter Daryin to help.

They have three trucks to deal with different sized loads and/ or accessibility issues.
He visits farms, workshops, businesses, homes — anywhere there is metal to collect.
Ben travels much of Waipā and also into Ōtorohanga and Te Kūiti.

A lot of his work is picking up cars — which can be worth $80 to $150 to the seller.

They are always on the lookout for 1990s model diesel 4WD vehicles — running or not, but complete.

Ben says these are worth between $500 to $2000 to the seller because he onsells them to an exporter who has a market for the vehicles in Dubai, where they are highly sought after and returned to the road.

A number of businesses also have a B&M Autos scrap metal bin, and Ben provides a pick-up service for those.

Anyone having a clean out can also request a bin for a short term.

Metal recycling is also an effective fundraiser for groups and organisations, and B&M Autos is happy to help.

For any information about dropping off or collection, contact Michelle on 0275 486220, email bmscrapmetal@gmail.com or find Kihikihi Scrap Metal on Facebook.