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Plastic recycling changes

Plastic recycling has changed in Palmy, and that affects what you can put in your orange-lid wheelie bin. Now we only collect plastic with the numbers 1, 2 and 5.

Plastic with the numbers 3, 4,6 and 7 is no longer collected for recycling

Previously these plastics were sent overseas but over the past two years we haven’t been able to find a market for them. We’ve been storing this recycling at our Awapuni Resource Recovery Centre but we can't continue to do this long term for health and safety reasons.

Council agreed to stop collecting these items following a public consultation last summer. The changes came into effect in May 2021.

These numbers only make up a tiny fraction of your wheelie bin

These numbers make up around five per cent of the average residential wheelie bin and weigh between 400g-1kg each fortnight, so don't have a significant impact on people’s rubbish services.

All other glass and wheelie bin recycling is still collected and recycled here in New Zealand.

The changes to what we accept also affect our drop-off stations at Ashhurst, Ferguson Street and Awapuni.

These numbers contain some everyday items

One of the biggest areas for change is in your fridge. Some sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese containers and six-pack pottle yoghurts are made of plastics we don't collect any more. While the small pottles of yoghurt are not recyclable, the 1 litre tubs are a different plastic number (5) and are still recyclable in the city. This means you can portion yoghurt into smaller re-usable containers to reduce waste.

Other items affected include some clear trays for holding food or takeaways, some large cleaning bottles with sturdy handles, packaging for electronics and batteries, some meat trays, some squeezy sauce bottles, plastic bags, bubble wrap, foam cups, protective packaging and harder plastics for baby bottles, cups and toys.

Photo shows hundreds of bales of mixed plastics, compacted and heaped in piles at Awapuni.

Mixed plastics stored at Awapuni.

Make sustainable choices 

Use your purchasing power when buying packaged goods. When you're shopping, opt for items with packaging with a 1, 2 or 5 that can be recycled here in New Zealand.

Why not write to your favourite companies and ask them to convert their packaging into materials that can be recycled locally?

And keep an eye on our website for more tips about how you can make more environmentally friendly choices and reduce your waste.