The recycling setback stems from China's decision to no longer accept shipments of the materials when China used to take 50 percent of the global recycling waste.
Indonesian officials have this week found nearly 550 shipping containers had contaminated plastic waste and is unable to be recycled by them.
Indonesia has become the main destination for used, low-grade plastic since China banned the import of most types of plastic, due to high pollution levels and environmental concerns.
The shipping containers of contaminated recyclables, including some from New Zealand will be returned.
Chairman of Zero Waste Network Marty Hoffart joins Ryan Bridge on Magic Talk Drive to explain what will happen to the materials upon their return.
Marty tells Ryan of the 550 containers to be returned to their original countries, current reports suggest that 5 belong to New Zealand.
He further explains the process of separating the different grades of plastics, where more valuable materials are sorted within New Zealand but the less valuable plastics would be bound together and sold as a unit to be sorted by the recipient which until recently was China.
You can watch the full interview above.