Let’s Recycle Right, Auckland
In the lead up to Recycling Week NZ (21-27 October), Auckland Council is promoting its innovative online game, Recycle Right, to encourage Aucklanders to do their bit to improve the quality and quantity of Auckland’s kerbside recyclable materials.
“As Aucklanders, we’ve definitely got room for improvement when it comes our recycling habits,” says Parul Sood, General Manager Waste Solutions.
“Generally speaking, most containers from our kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries can be recycled. But it can be confusing. So, we’ve tried to come up with a fun, engaging way to make it easier for Aucklanders to do the right thing with their recycling,” says Parul Sood.
Aucklanders can play the game to discover if they’re a recycling legend by swiping left and right to choose whether items should go in the rubbish bin or recycling bin.
Once people get their game results, there is also a handy video, which shows exactly what can and can’t go in your kerbside recycling bin.
Putting the right things in our recycling bin
Putting the right things in our recycling bin helps us make the most of recyclable materials. Problems arise when one of two things happen – we put the wrong items in our kerbside recycling bin, or we put in items that are too dirty to recycle.
“Currently, about 12 per cent of what we pick up from our kerbside recycling collection is either non-recyclable items that people incorrectly put in the bin or items that are too contaminated to recycle. Unfortunately, we have to send this waste to local landfills,” adds Parul Sood.
On the ‘hit list’ of worst items that end up in kerbside recycling bins are shoes, batteries, medical waste, disposable nappies, clothing, and single-use plastic bags – although numbers of bags are dropping following the introduction of the single-use plastic bag ban back in July 2019.
Empty, rinse, sort
Parul Sood says that there are three simple things we can do to help improve the quality of what’s collected. Firstly, completely empty out containers, especially ones with liquid or drink. Secondly, rinse out all containers. The cleaner the better is the rule of thumb.
Lastly, sort our waste carefully to make sure only the right recyclable containers from the kitchen, bathroom and laundry go in the recycling bin.
Keeping recyclables out of landfill
The more we recycle, the less goes to landfill. At the moment, about 15 per cent of an average Aucklander’s kerbside rubbish bin is made of up materials that could be recycled. Getting those recyclables into our kerbside recycling bins makes a big difference.
“As a council, we’re focused on recovering as much recyclable material as we can. They’re valuable resources and we need to treat them that way," says Parul Sood.
"There are recycling markets in New Zealand for glass, PET (number 1) plastic, and steel so we want to make sure we’re supporting our local recyclers by keeping materials out of landfill and flowing through to local businesses. It’s good for our economy and good for the environment.
“New Zealand also needs more onshore processing capacity for our recyclable materials. By making sure we recover both good quality and the maximum amount of plastic, glass, steel, and aluminum containers, as well as paper and cardboard, we provide the raw materials required for recyclers to innovate and invest in more local infrastructure."
Want to learn more about recycling
Auckland Council also has a recycling search tool if people are unsure as to whether an item can be recycled or not.
You can also direct your recycling questions to Auckland Council’s friendly recycling chatbot, Binny, on Facebook Messenger or download the free Binny app at the Apple App Store or on Google Play.