Recycling is a great way to reduce waste – but many of us aren’t recycling right, which means recyclables can end up in landfill despite our best intentions.
So here are three steps to up your recycling game.
Check your local council’s website to see what you can and can’t recycle in your area. Each council has different rules depending on the recycling operators they have contracts with – for example, residents in Auckland can recycle milk cartons but those in central Wellington can’t. So have a look online and familiarise yourself with your local rules or print a copy to keep handy in your kitchen.
Tip - If you’re going on holiday to a different part of New Zealand, have a look at their local recycling rules to ensure you’re recycling right. The rules could be quite different to what you’re used to!
Rinse and clean your items! This rule applies no matter what part of New Zealand you live in. Dirty items like unwashed cans and plastic food containers can’t be recycled and might contaminate your other items. This could mean all your recyclable items end up being sent to landfill.
Rinse your tins, plastic and glass items so that there is no food or other residue on them. This includes rinsing out recyclable bottles from your bathroom and laundry.
Clean pizza boxes before recycling them by scraping off the cheese (and double check that your council takes pizza boxes).
Do you leave the lid on? Yes to lids and bottle tops in Auckland, no in Wellington and Christchurch (lids and bottle tops should go into the rubbish bin in these areas). Live somewhere else? Check your local council’s website.
Do you squash items? In some areas yes, in others no. Recycling facilities around New Zealand have different machines, and some need items in the original condition to detect what they are made of. Check your local council’s website to find out whether to squash or not.
Put it in the right bin. As above, find out what can be recycled in your local area and what needs to go into the rubbish bin instead. As a general guide, anything that isn’t a ‘grocery’ item can’t be recycled in kerbside recycling systems – so donate those old clothes or use them as rags, and keep that broken furniture out of your recycling bin.
Some councils have dedicated bins for glass. If that’s the case in your local area, make sure that your glass jars and bottles go in the right bin and don’t contaminate your other recyclables - simple right!