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Changes to recycling plastics from today

Changes to recycling plastics from today

Posted June 15, 2020
Council Matters

From today, Monday 15 June please only put plastic types 1 and 2 in your recycling wheelie bin for Kerbside collection. Cans, tins, paper and cardboard can also still go in your wheelie bin as usual.

Plastics 1 and 2 are high grade plastics PET(E) and HDPE which are used in milk, soft-drink and water bottles, among other uses. Some of these other uses include some food packaging, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and cleaning products. These plastics are recycled in New Zealand.

The best way to find out what type of plastic you have is to LOOK FOR THE NUMBER, usually on the bottom inside a recycling triangle made of arrows. If there’s a number 3 - 7 or no number, please don’t put it in your wheelie bin or take it to our Refuse Transfer Stations for recycling – it won’t be accepted.

Wheelie bins will be checked and those containing plastics 3 – 7, unnumbered plastics or it’s contaminated with ‘wishcycling’ products, won’t be emptied.

‘Wishcycling’ is when you really don’t want to throw something that can’t be recycled into the rubbish, so you put it out with your recycling in the hope that somehow it will be recycled anyway.

Plastic types 3 – 7 or unnumbered plastics should go into your rubbish as they can not be recycled within New Zealand and have to be shipped overseas for processing. They are no longer accepted by most global markets so shipping our plastic overseas is no longer a viable option.

“A number of initiatives have been investigated across New Zealand for recycling plastics 3 - 7, however the viability of this remains largely impractical, so these plastics will be going to landfill in New Zealand for now,” says Thames Coromandel Operations Group Manager Bruce Hinson.

“Recycling sent overseas can end up as someone else’s rubbish,” says Mr Hinson. “Shipping our recycling overseas also incurs a large carbon cost and although some plastics can be processed overseas they often have significantly different employment practices to New Zealand – potentially putting those workers at risk handling refuse in unsafe conditions. For these reasons, it’s best that we handle all our recycling here in New Zealand.

“We are asking that people on the Coromandel avoid buying products that use non-recyclable plastic for packaging where possible, in order to lessen the amount of plastic going into landfill,” Mr Hinson says.

“We know it’s hard to put some types of plastic into the rubbish bin when you’ve been able to recycle them up until now, but the reality is, they can’t recycled.

“Please don’t ‘wishcyle’ and place plastic types 3-7 into your recycling bin because you wish they could be recycled, or in the hope it might get recycled. It won’t be,” Mr Hinson says.

Best practice recycling
Rinse your plastics, tins, cans, bottles and jars
Discard the lids – they’re too small to be recycled
If pizza boxes have globs of cheese stuck on them, throw them out
Soft plastics, like bread bags, aren’t collected for recycling here.

The Soft Plastic Recycling scheme has collection bins at some supermarkets and other shops in bigger centres.