Plastic recycling changes start Monday 17 May

Palmy residents are being asked to use their purchasing power when buying packaged goods, as changes to plastic recycling come into effect.

Plastic recycling is changing in Palmy, and that's going to affect what you can put in your orange-lid wheelie bin. From Monday 17 May, we'll only be collecting plastic with the numbers 1, 2 and 5.

Plastic with the numbers 3, 4,6 and 7 will no longer be 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 over summer.

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 will not have a significant impact on people’s rubbish services.

All other glass and wheelie bin recycling will continue to be 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 will no longer be collecting. 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.

Awareness campaign underway

An education campaign has been running to alert residents and businesses to the changes. We sent residents a flyer alerting them to the changes, reminding them what can and cannot be recycled, and about our other services to reduce waste in the city. Radio, newspaper and social media advertising has also been happening.

We understand residents may be disappointed by the changes.

We know our residents want to make sustainable choices. When shopping opt for items with packaging with a 1, 2 or 5 that can be recycled here in New Zealand and write to your favourite companies and ask them to convert their packaging into materials that can be recycled locally.

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