Forced to spend more time at home over lockdown, the volume of recycling and rubbish Aucklanders put out to be collected in April skyrocketed.
There were 1870 more tonnes of rubbish (12 per cent increase) and 326 extra tonnes of recycling (3 per cent increase) collected from Auckland households in April this year compared to 2019.
It followed lows in recycling and rubbish tonnages, which were down for January and February, suggesting households were producing less waste.
The increase in waste over April was natural as people stayed in and ate from home during alert level 3 and 4, Auckland Council councillor Richard Hills said.
"I'm really proud of the efforts that everyone made over this time and the household waste increase reflects that we were staying inside," Hills said.
"Compared to last year, the additional household rubbish generated in Tāmaki Makaurau for April could have filled 66 double-decker buses."
Roughly 80 per cent of total waste to landfill came from commercial sources, not households, so lockdown could have had a net positive in overall waste from Auckland.
There was also an increase of 26 per cent in glass recycling, equating to just over 1100 tonnes. There were only four tonnes more aluminium cans recycled in April.
All of Auckland's glass recycling was pressed in New Zealand, so the spike would have been good news for local recyclers, Hills said.
Recycling of PET plastic bottles decreased 18 per cent and Auckland Council also collected 27 per cent more HDPE plastic - the opaque plastic used for milk bottles and cleaning products.
Hills, Auckland Council's chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, said they would advocate for more onshore recycling capacity for materials such as plastics, paper and cardboard.
"Processing this material locally means we won't need to ship it overseas, and it can instead be a valuable resource for Aucklanders," Hills said.
"Rinsing your plastics, glass, and cans, and properly recycling can make a difference, but we also need to move away from a throwaway culture and single-use plastic more generally.
"Everyone needs to reduce their waste to achieve a sustainable future for Tāmaki Makaurau."