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Kerbside Recycling The Same Nationwide From 1 February

Wellington, New Zealand: Starting from 1 February 2024, what New Zealanders can put into their household recycling bins will be the same across most of the country.

Standardised kerbside recycling is expected to divert an extra 36,000 tonnes of recycling from landfill each year — that’s almost 30kg per household — as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfill and generating more value from recyclable materials.

Items that can be recycled from household kerbside recycling bins are:

· plastic bottles and containers marked with recycling symbols 1, 2 or 5

· glass bottles and jars

· paper and cardboard (including pizza boxes)

· food tins

· drink cans.

Ministry for the Environment General Manager Waste Systems, Shaun Lewis, said nationwide, around 16 per cent of items put out for recycling don’t belong in the recycling bin.

Conversely, 13 per cent of household “rubbish” would be recycled if it was put in the recycling bin instead of the rubbish bin.

“A large amount of landfill waste comes from people putting items into the wrong bins. When this happens, recyclables, such as high-quality plastics, become contaminated and end up at the tip,” said Shaun Lewis.

“By simplifying what can be recycled, it is now easier for people to put items in the right bin, no matter where they are in New Zealand. This means that wherever people go on holiday or travel around New Zealand, the rules will be the same.”

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The move will help businesses design and make packaging that is more likely to be properly recycled. The changes will also help recycling facilities in New Zealand by improving the quality of the materials they receive, so that more can be recycled into new products.

Hamish McMurdo, General Manager of Southland-based registered charity, Recycle South, is supportive of the changes. The organisation processes all recycling collected from around the region. 

“Having one system for collecting kerbside recycling will make it much easier for New Zealanders to do the right thing. It will mean we get less contamination at our facility, so we can recover more materials to be reprocessed into new products.”

Shaun Lewis said people could take items that can’t be recycled from kerbside collections to local recycling drop-off points.

“Just because an item is not accepted for recycling at kerbside does not mean it cannot be recycled at all.

“Check with your local council for information on any drop-off recycling services in your area.”

For more information on recycling services in your area, visit your local council’s website.

For more information on the changes to standardise household recycling, visit

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