Kerbside Recycling Kick Starting Again – With Some Changes

Canterbury’s recycling sorting facility is reopening under Alert Level 3, and kerbside recycling will start being processed again from Monday 4 May. The move brings changes to the types of plastics that can be recycled, and residents are asked to implement the changes straight away.

Recycling bin out for collectionTighter acceptance criteria from overseas, lower commodity prices and limited access to ports has changed the global market for plastics so only types 1, 2 and 5 can be accepted now.

Mixed plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7 and any soft plastic that can be scrunched into a ball will need to go in the rubbish.

Plastic types 1 and 2 are things like soft drink, juice, milk and cream bottles and ice cream containers. Type 5 plastics are often used for large yoghurt containers, margarine, spreads and less rigid containers.

Solid Waste Manager Kitty Waghorn said the changes are an unfortunate flow on effect of the international plastic market.

“Plastic types 1, 2 and 5 are able to be recycled in New Zealand, which give us some stability. Plastic types 3, 4, 6 and 7 are generally used for containers for sour cream, yoghurt pottles, biscuit trays and less rigid plastics that are low value. Thankfully, these make up only a small portion of our total kerbside recycling.”

Kitty stresses that while recycling will continue being diverted to landfill until processing can start, it’s important that people make the change to their plastic recycling now.

“We want the right items going in the recycling bins now, so that by the time processing starts, there is no contamination in the bins”.

Kitty encourages residents to keep up good recycling habits and make sure only items that can be accepted are put in kerbside bins, as well as the recycling containers at transfer stations.

“It’s important that people check the bottom of containers for the plastic type, the number in the triangle, before choosing which bin to use. If in doubt, it’s better that it goes in the rubbish. That way that we don’t end up with contaminated loads that will end up being landfilled anyway”.

With kerbside recycling taking place fortnightly, there will be some crossover with items that have already gone in the bin, with the plastics we can now only take.

There are things you can do to ensure the Districts recycling doesn’t end up in the landfill including:

  • Check plastic containers for a plastic type – if it’s numbered 3, 4 6 or 7, put it in the rubbish. This goes for all lids as well, regardless of the plastic type
  • Recycling must be clean – dirty recycling will be rejected and could contaminate a whole load of otherwise good materials
  • Keep soft plastics out – soft plastics are a common contaminant. Put anything that can be scrunched into a ball into the rubbish, regardless of the plastic type
  • Look before you buy – if it’s not a plastic type 1, 2 or 5, look for alternatives or contact the maker to ask them to consider alternative packaging
  • 50 percent of the mixed paper that comes through the recycling stream is junk mail. A no circular/junk mail sticker on your letterbox is a great way to significantly reduce this.

We will continue to update residents about any changes during COVID-19 and the changes through alert levels. Follow us on Facebook or check our website for updates.