The amount of packaging used last year rose strongly despite a general slow down in the New Zealand economy.
Figures from the Packaging Council show 28,000 more tonnes of aluminium, glass, cardboard and plastic were used last year - an increase of 4% on 2007.
The largest increase was in cardboard, which rose by 15,000 tonnes.
The proportion of packaging material collected for recycling fell slightly to 58% of all material consumed.
Packaging Council executive director Paul Curtis says the recession has seen consumers change their buying decisions to cheaper items, but the overall volume of produce has not reduced.