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‘If In Doubt, Leave It Out’ Of Your Recycling Bin

New Zealand households will be encouraged this month to play an online game to help reduce confusion about what should be going in our recycling bins.

The aim of the game is to start a national conversation about how we can all do better for the environment by getting our recycling right.

The game, Can I Recycle This?, is part of a three-year Rethinking Rubbish and Recycling project by the Waste Management Institute of New Zealand (WasteMINZ) to reduce the amount of recyclable material being sent to landfill.

As part of the project, we will be running an ‘If in doubt, leave it out’ campaign for two weeks from 12-29 March. This will include a fun, interactive game that will help householders work out what can and can’t be recycled.

Although recycling rules vary across Aotearoa, some things can never be included in kerbside recycling, and there are common rules about cleanliness.

Putting the wrong item in a recycling bin can cause major problems. It can contaminate other items, and makes the recycling process more expensive and labour intensive. In some cases, it can lead to whole truckloads of otherwise recyclable material being sent to landfill.

Contamination is generally unintentional and is caused by confusion, lack of knowledge, or ‘wish-cycling’. ‘Wish-cycling’ is when an item is put in a recycling bin in the hope it can be recycled. Common examples include compostable packaging and cups, and takeaway coffee cups.

Another cause of contamination is when material is placed in a recycling bin in an unsuitable condition, such as recyclable packaging with food left inside.

Specific details on the campaign:

  • A fun, interactive game, Can I recycle this?, will be promoted through Facebook and www.recycle.co.nz
  • The game is also available at www.canirecyclethis.org.nz
  • Short videos will also be available about how to recycle specific items and what should not be put in recycling bins
  • The campaign will run 12-29 March 2021.
  • One lucky game participant will win their choice of either an e-bike or e-scooter, along with a helmet, at the end of the campaign.

 WasteMINZ is the largest representative body of the waste, resource recovery and contaminated land sectors in NZ. Formed in 1989, it includes seven sector groups who represent 65 territorial authorities as well as many large, medium and small players in the not-for-profit and private sector.

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