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Big Recycling Changes For Canterbury

Canterbury’s recycling sorting facility is reopening under Alert Level 3, and kerbside recycling will start being processed again, rather than stored, from Monday 4 May. The move brings changes to the types of plastics that can be recycled, and residents are asked to implement the changes straight away.

Tighter acceptance criteria from overseas, lower commodity prices and limited access to ports has changed the global market for plastics so only types 1, 2 and 5 can be accepted now.

Mixed plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7 and any soft plastic that can be scrunched into a ball will need to go in the rubbish.

Plastic types 1 and 2 are things like soft drink, juice, milk and cream bottles and ice cream containers. Type 5 plastics are often used for large yoghurt containers, margarine, spreads and less rigid containers.

Waste Minimisation Team Leader Sally Cracknell said the changes are a flow on effect of the international plastic market and global environmental movements.

“We’re asking residents to check the number in the triangle on the bottom of their plastic is 1, 2 or 5 before putting it in their recycling,” she said. “Plastic types 3, 4, 6 and 7 have now become a landfill item.”

“We are in the process of drawing up a notice that can go out with our recycling bags as a reminder, but it’s important our residents make this change as soon as they hear the news” she said.

“Prior to Level 4 lockdown the Hurunui had a great track record for low contamination rates in our recycling, meaning less of our recycling was diverted to landfill.”

“We are grateful for the effort our district put in to its recycling and we know this is a big change for our residents. The best advice we can give right now is to buy products in types 1, 2 and 5 plastics if you can and put all other plastic types in your rubbish.”

There are things residents can do to ensure the district’s recycling doesn’t end up in the landfill including:

  • Check plastic containers for a plastic type – if it’s numbered 3, 4, 6 or 7, put it in the rubbish. This goes for all lids as well, regardless of the plastic type
  • Keeping recycling clean – dirty recycling will be rejected and could contaminate a whole load of otherwise good materials.
  • Keeping soft plastics out – soft plastics are a common contaminant. Put anything that can be scrunched into a ball into the rubbish, regardless of the plastic type
  • Look before you buy – if it’s not a plastic type 1, 2 or 5, look for alternatives or contact the maker to ask them to consider alternative packaging
  • 50 percent of the mixed paper that comes through the recycling stream is junk mail. A no circular/junk mail sticker on your letterbox is a great way to significantly reduce this.

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