Reuse, Reduce, Rethink, Recycle. Recycle is at the bottom of the chain as there are much better ways for cutting down on waste. But when we do recycle then let’s do it well.
Different councils have slightly different rules. Often smaller councils don’t have the infrastructure to handle some products. In the bottom of South Island, they find it’s not worth shipping glass all the way to Auckland. Unless they pay the extra, it is use as aggregate in roading material or capping dumps. It can even be ground right to back to sand. Same with the tetra pack family of containers, only big councils have the gear to recycle these which are then sent overseas to be processed.
What do we recycle easily?
Plastic bottles, containers, and clear food containers 1 to 7.
1: PET plastics, soft drink bottles the most famous. These are recycled in NZ. The clear ones can be made in to anything. Coloured ones are less useful. They can be made into clothing , polyester etc.
2: HDPE, bathroom and laundry products. Slightly cloudy variety, often in milk bottles, is the most valuable. As soon as colour is added then these have more limited use. Ecostore uses recycled and carbon capture sugar based HDPE for its range.
3-7: Less wanted, often baled and exported or even sent to landfill for PVC and 7’s
All bio plastics, unless going to a specialist collection, goes to landfill.
This can only be recycled at soft plastic recycling stores, never in the recycling bin. Auto equipment means plastic bags gets wrapped around gear and workers have to go in with angle grinders to fix this every day.
Aluminium and glass
Can be recycled infinite times because they are pure elements, aluminium and silica. Steel cans are also fine.
Products like mail, newspaper and magazines, paper and cardboard packaging and egg cartons.
Keep these out of your recycling
Plastic bags, food and garden waste, hazardous waste and chemicals , polystyrene trays and packaging, coffee cups, batteries, nappies, clothing window glass, mirrors or light bulbs, cookware, electrical items, building waste and off course medical waste.
You need to think of the workers and machines that are sorting this stuff. Stuff you have sorted already into plastic bags, and put the whole thing in the bin will go straight to landfill because no one wants to puts their hands into these.
Washing containers is important. Make sure they’re empty of liquid or residue. Rinsed out but not spotless - just clean enough for optical sorters so they know which type of plastic it is.
Pizza boxes: a bit of grease is okay, a few crumbs is alright - but masses of cheese no good.