Changes to Kerbside Recycling
From 1 December 2020 Central Otago will join the increasing number of districts that only accept plastics that are able to be recycled within Aotearoa/New Zealand. Only plastics numbered 1, 2 and 5 will be accepted for recycling in your yellow kerbside recycling bin. A second change will be that pizza boxes, no matter how clean, will not be accepted for recycling in your yellow bin.
The change in plastic collection is being made to align with Aotearoa/New Zealand’s commitment to move away from using hard-to-recycle, low value plastics. These are commonly processed overseas and contribute to the problematic international trade in plastic waste. By focusing on higher value plastics with a transparent supply chain we can ensure that that there are better environmental and social outcomes for our recycled items. This keeps valuable resources out of our landfill, creates employment within Aotearoa/New Zealand and helps us “close the loop” with effective recycling.
The Government is also looking at standardising kerbside recycling nationwide, based on recommendations from a new report Standardising kerbside collections in Aotearoa.
Pizza boxes are very commonly contaminated with grease and food and this makes them unable to be recycled with other cardboard and paper. It is very difficult to separate out what is too contaminated from what isn’t, so a blanket ban on these will improve the quality of our cardboard and paper recycling overall.
From 1 December only the following plastic items will be able to go in your yellow wheelie bin:
Clear plastic bottles only
All plastic grocery and household containers and bottles
All plastic containers
All other plastics are unable to be recycled and should be placed in the red topped bin. This includes: All soft plastic, number 1 plastic items that are not bottles (meat trays, cracker trays, punnets, clamshell packaging), number 1 plastic coloured bottles, any plastic items numbered 3, 4, 6 or 7 or with no number.
A second change will be that pizza boxes will not be accepted at all in the yellow recycling bin. These are often too contaminated by grease and food and can not be recycled. This type of cardboard can make a great addition to your compost, or for layering on your vegetable garden to keep weeds down. Alternatively, they can be used as a fire starter, or even better, dine in or make your own to avoid the waste altogether.
The following items can still go in your yellow mixed recycling bin:
- Clean aluminium drink cans
- Clean steel food cans
- Clean and dry paper and cardboard
Follow these three simple steps to make sure your plastic recycling is right:
Check for a number on your plastic item -
No number? This is unable to be recycled and should be placed in your red bin.
Number 3, 4, 6 or 7? This is unable to be recycled and should be placed in your red bin.
Number 1, 2 or 5? Great! Ready to recycle!
Empty out any contents and give it a good rinse.
Remove ALL lids, trigger sprays or pumps. These need to go in your red bin, or see if you can find some creative use for them!
Remove any shrink-wrapped plastic labelling (this should have a "zip" perforation for this purpose) and place this in your red bin.
Place your bin out at the kerbside before 7am on the day of collection, away from trees, power poles and parked cars.
These items can be made of either number 1 or number 3 plastic. It can be difficult to tell these two plastics apart when they are manually sorted at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Frankton.
Currently our recycling processor does not have an optical sorter that could overcome this issue, however planned upgrades will address this.
There is currently no market in New Zealand to reprocess this type of plastic, so it has to go to landfill.
"Lids" covers a wide variety of items.
- Sometimes the lid is made of the same plastic as the main container and sometimes not.
- Sometimes the lid is the same colour as the main container and sometimes not.
- Sometimes the lid is quite a big part of the container and sometimes not.
- Sometimes the container has been well cleaned out and the lid replaced, and sometimes not.
Because of these variabilities, to increase the quality of our recycling and to simplify the process of recycling the messaging is no lids – of any kinds.
Often lids are left on a dirty container causing contamination of all other recycling when the lid inevitably falls off during processing - not to mention making it a bad workday for our hard-working recycling sorters. When the plastic items are baled up for reprocessing the smaller lids will often fall out and end up in landfill or causing littering issues.
Other lids are pumps or triggers and possibly contain a mixture of plastic types and metals making them hard to recycle.
Please remove all lids from plastic items 1, 2 and 5 and place in your red rubbish bin – or find some creative reuse for them.
Over the next month, have a check of the plastic types in your cupboards and in your trolley and start making switches to easy-to-recycle products so that you are ready for the change.
Look for similar products that are packaged in other recyclable materials like, cans, glass or cardboard.
If you cannot avoid non-recyclable plastics, perhaps reduce how frequently you purchase the item.
Change requires a collaborative approach involving councils, producers, manufacturers and the community, with central government as the key enabler.
Last year we supported the Local Government Waste Manifesto as a remit at the Local Government New Zealand conference. They're calling on the Minister for the Environment to make key changes that will allow central and local government to work together to minimise waste to landfill and significant reductions in all waste classes.
The Ministry for the Environment is currently consulting on how to move away from hard-to-recycle plastics. Submissions close 4 December and we encourage our community to share their views.
CODC is also working with our neighbouring districts and at a regional level to ensure we work to support the vision of our Waste Management and Minimisation Plan - Towards Zero Waste and a Sustainable Central Otago.
11 March 2021: We sought some clarification after we received this very good question from a Central Otago resident via Facebook. Here's what we found out:
“Clear no. 1 plastic bottles” can cover a variety of items. Soft drink and water bottles are the first things that come to mind, but there other types of screw-lid container can also be acceptable in this category.
This photo below pictures some of the things that you may not have thought of that can be accepted if they are clear no.1 plastic.
Clear dish wash liquid bottles, liquid soap bottles, peanut butter and Marmite jars, or any other bottle/jar made of no. 1 (PET) clear plastic CAN be accepted in your yellow kerbside recycling bin.
They are going to need a darn good clean, especially things like oil bottles and peanut butter jars, and please remember that all lids need to be taken off and put in the red bin.
It's good to see the list of plastics we are able to accept increase.