Other councils around New Zealand are reviewing plastic recycling and have already made similar changes.
“We want to give residents as early advice as possible that changes are going to be made. Many other countries who have traditionally taken our plastic recycling are pulling out of these markets,” says Hutt City Council’s Manager Sustainability & Resilience Jörn Scherzer.
“As a result, plastics numbered 3 to 7 will not be accepted for processing in the near future. We will be communicating with Lower Hutt residents on how these changes will affect them over the next couple of months.”
The plastics market is diverse and complex and while there is still a demand for plastics classified as 1 and 2, there is little to no demand world-wide for most plastic types 3 to 7.
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.
“The challenge for all of us is to work with businesses and the community to look for alternatives for plastics 3 to 7.”
While the bulk of recyclables in Lower Hutt are collected from the kerbside, there are also five community recycling stations that provide for increased amounts of recycling, such as bulky cardboard, beyond the capacity of their kerbside crates.
Illegal dumping of rubbish at recycling stations in Lower Hutt is an on-going problem.
“We are looking to remove the bins which are used primarily for plastics from the recycling stations due to contamination issues and illegal dumping of mainly plastic rubbish at these sites.
“Associated costs for continually clearing the plastic are escalating and are not viewed as sustainable by Waste Management NZ or the Council,” says Scherzer.
Guidance will be provided to residents in the coming months on changes to recycling.
Hutt City Council will be launching a “Let’s sort waste out” 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.
For more information, check out our recycling page.
Always check the number on the bottom of the plastic container.
Examples of 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, juice containers, shampoo and cleaning product bottles
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 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 combined materials such as Tetra Pak and milk cartons, foil packaging