Why are changes being made to recycling?
Recently there have been changes to the global recycling market with other countries no longer taking plastics for recycling. This is consistent with other councils around New Zealand who are reviewing plastic recycling and have already made similar changes.
There is still a demand for plastics classified as 1 and 2. Plastics classified as 1 and 2 are:
- Clear Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET 1), and
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE 2).
PET 1 is used for soft drink, water and juice bottles. It is is recycled by Lower Hutt’s Flight Plastics and used for its products such as kiwifruit trays.
Plastic milk bottles and detergent containers which are classified as HDPE 2 are sent to Palmerston North where they’re turned into pallets, ending up as wheelie bins and other products.
What changes are being made?
There are two key changes - plastics collected at the kerbside and plastic bins at recycling stations.
Changes to kerbside recycling
Some types of plastics will no longer be accepted. We are encouraging people not to put these products in their recycling bin:
- Type 3: products such as certain types of biscuit trays and clear food wraps and packaging, blister packs and toys
- Type 4: Bread and produce bags, and other soft plastics
- Type 5: Containers for yoghurt, soft cheese, deli foods and take away meals
- Type 6: Disposable Styrofoam cups and plates, some meat trays and take away containers
- Type 7: Other plastics, or layered materials such as Tetra Pak, milk and juice cartons, foil laminated or coated packaging.
If people put these plastic products in their recycling bin during the change-over period they will still be taken away to the sorting facility in Lower Hutt, but will be sent to landfill.
Changes at recycling stations
Contaminated recycling at recycling stations across Lower Hutt is escalating and is not viewed as sustainable by Waste Management NZ or council.
The plastic recycling bins are affected worst by contamination. As a result, the plastic recycling bins which also take aluminium and tin products have been removed from the recycling stations.
Plastics 1 and 2, and aluminium and tin products can continue to be put in your kerbside recycling.
Can I still recycle?
Yes. We encourage all Lower Hutt residents to recycle. Get involved in our new 'Let’s sort out waste' campaign so that we can all work together to minimise waste and contribute to an effective recycling system.
Examples of products that can be put in your recycling bin at the kerbside are:
- Glass bottles and jars
- Metal and aluminium cans
- Paper and cardboard
- Plastics type 1 - soft drink, water and juice bottles
- Plastics type 2 - Milk bottles, some juice containers and cleaning product bottles
What happens if people still put 3-7 in their recycling bin?
During the phase in of the change plastics 3 to 7 will be taken away but will go to landfill as it is too difficult for collectors to sort through recycling bins. It is best if everyone does not put these products in their kerbside bin. If people continue to put these products in their recycling bins the bins will not be emptied. This is the same situation if contaminated goods are put into bins.
So what do I do with my plastics 3-7?
It goes into the general rubbish, but our focus will be on reducing the amount of this we use over time.
We are still looking for another recycling option for this plastic. These plastics only make up around 4% of our recycling, so shouldn't add much to your rubbish.
When will I receive information on better ways to recycle?
Guidance will continue to be provided to residents on recycling.
Council will be launching a 'Let’s sort out waste' campaign to advise people about these changes, and to let residents and businesses know how to minimise waste and contribute to an effective recycling system.
What are you doing about waste?
We want to reduce waste in our community and lessen the impact on our environment.
One of the current challenges for all of us is to work with businesses and the community to look for alternatives to plastics 3 to 7, and to avoid unnecessary packaging material.
We are also undertaking strategic reviews into our waste system. This includes how we collect recyclables at the kerbside.
I've heard that Hutt City Council is undertaking a waste review. What's the status of this and how does this link to the recycling changes?
While the changes announced today are about what materials are collected specifically plastic, Hutt City Council is also reviewing how it might collect recycling at the kerbside in the future. We are aware of the limited capacity of the recycling crates, and that it results in increased litter on windy days. One of the options currently being assessed in more detail is utilising large 240L bins for collecting recyclables
Updated: 5 May 2019