Meet the Member: Phoenix Metal Recyclers

28 May 2021

Our Meet the Member series is a chance to hear more from those joining the NZGBC, and learn about their ambitions for the future. We asked Phoenix Metal Recyclers owner and Commercial Manager Hilary West-Reeve about the work they're doing.

Tell us a bit about Phoenix Metal Recyclers and the work you do

Phoenix Metal Recycler’s NZ Limited is an integral contributor to NZ's waste and resource recovery circular economy – offering metal recycling, waste and de-construction services to commercial, industrial, trade and the general public. We are a wholly NZ owned and managed business.

Our core business is metal recycling. The metals we recycle are extracted from our demolition projects or collected from our branches and customers. At our branches we sort, grade, process and package the metals for export to be recycled globally. By recovering re-useable metallics, Phoenix Metal Recyclers are not only diverting material from landfill, but also reducing the depletion of natural resources. The metal recycling sector plays a significant part in our disposable society, as we continue to push towards a cleaner and greener New Zealand. We contribute to the global resource recovery circular economy because:

  • Metal is 100% recyclable; it is permanent and can be recycled over and over again.
  • Recycling metal emits 80% les CO2 than production from raw materials
  • Recycling 1 tonne of steel can save 1.5 tonnes of iron ore from being mined and saves natural habitats and forests.
  • Recycling steel uses 70% less energy than mining and refining virgin iron ore.
  • Recycling metal avoids sending a permanent material to landfill

We have 50+ staff across 6 locations in the Upper North Island; Whangarei, Hamilton and 4 in Auckland. We have 1600+ bins on customers sites; servicing customers on demand for their metal recycling and waste needs. We have a dedicated specialist Health & Safety team. We own and operate cutting edge equipment & methodologies to deliver our services. We are members of the NZ Association of Metal Recyclers, and recently new members of the NZ Green Building Council and the NZ Property Council.

We have 7 years of demolition experience - our largest most complex site to date is the demolition of the Tank Farm site down at Wynyard Wharf in Auckland's CBD. This was completed this month, recycling 92% of the waste and de-construction material from the site. The future of this site is yet to be determined, but Phoenix have delivered a Green Star project ready site anyway.


Before and after demolition at Wynyard Wharf


How did you come to join the NZGBC?

We joined the NZGBC because our values are aligned. Our core business ethos is for the reduction of waste to landfill. Due to our size and regional reach in the most populated area of New Zealand we have a real impact within NZ’s recycling industry. Our waste processing facilities can deliver the ‘Construction and Demolition Waste Reporting’ and ‘Life Cycle’ credits required for Green Star Building projects. We would like to work with NZGBC members to achieve their waste and recycling plans for their businesses and their Green Star projects.

What are some of the key challenges when it comes to sustainable metal recycling in New Zealand?

Due to NZ being an island nation, and a small one at that – we do not have the availability of renewable energy powered infrastructure to manufacture the metal products we provide recycled raw material for. We have to trade our recycled metallics with Global manufacturer’s who make their products made overseas in Electric Arc Furnaces. This makes it difficult for us to control emissions in the transportation of our products once it has left our sites. We track our transport fleet so we can constantly analyse our efficiency to reduce on road emissions and ensure we back load all our pick ups and deliveries to our customers. In the future, when the EV technology for material handling becomes more available we will upgrade our equipment to reduce our emissions within the processing arm of our business.

What do you think is key to creating a successful, sustainable built environment here in Aotearoa?

Everyone contributing in every little way. Due to our multi-site business we offer convenience; in Auckland especially, to allow everyone to recycle to reduce waste to landfill - contributing to cleaner and greener land to receive new Green Star projects.