The campaign supports changes to kerbside collections where plastics 3 to 7 will no longer be collected, and at recycling stations where bins primarily intended for plastic materials are being removed across Lower Hutt.
“The first phase of the campaign is called What’s the number? and aims to get people to check the number on the bottom of containers and packaging to see if they can be recycled. We want everyone to identify recyclable plastics in categories 1 and 2 which can go in kerbside crates and get them to think differently about what plastics are going in their recycling bin,” says Hutt City Council’s Manager Sustainability & Resilience Jörn Scherzer.
“While we accept that putting plastics 3 to 7 into rubbish bins and then the landfill isn’t ideal we need to face the reality that they can’t currently be efficiently recycled. A key challenge for all of us is to reduce and avoid unnecessary waste. Businesses and manufacturers are part of the solution too and need to rethink their use of the plastics that can no longer be recycled and look for alternatives. Some businesses have already stopped using polystyrene, which can’t be recycled, and are now using moulded pulp cardboard packaging which is recyclable,” says Scherzer.
“Most plastics take centuries to degrade and there is declining demand internationally for most of the plastic products that were previously taken by China. A lot of people think that by putting plastic products in their kerbside recycling or taking these products to our recycling stations that the problem is taken care of but this is not always the case.
“Let’s sort out waste will help to raise awareness amongst our communities that change needs to be made,” says Scherzer.
Read more about about Hutt City Council’s recycling changes.
Hutt City Council Recycling Campaign
Hutt City Council is making changes to recycling. The key drivers for the change are that there are no longer any large-scale markets for plastics 3 to 7, and products left at recycling stations are often contaminated or not of the right type to be recycled. The worst affected bins at these stations are the bins for plastic materials.
Council’s waste collection service advises that almost $50k per month is being spent to sort and dispose of plastics 3 to 7 now that the international market for these products has fallen away. In addition each year in Lower Hutt alone $600k is spent on clearing illegally dumped rubbish from recycling stations and $180k of this cost can be directly attributed to contaminated products left at recycling stations.
8130 tonnes of recyclable goods are collected each year in Lower Hutt. Around 4% or 320 tonnes is plastics 3 to 7 which will now be going to landfill.
Examples of typical products that can be put in your recycling bin at the kerbside:
- 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.
Plastics classified as 1 and 2 are clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET 1) and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE 2). PET 1, used for soft drink and juice bottles, is recycled by Lower Hutt’s Flight Plastics and is processed into containers for produce like kiwifruit. 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.
Plastics - always check the number on the bottom of the plastic container.
Examples of plastic-containing products that should not be in your 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, clean film 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 there is no recycling code, put it in your rubbish bin.