Changes to Ōpōtiki kerbsite collection from February
Residents on the urban collection route and users of the Resource Recovery Centres across the district need to be aware of changes to items accepted for recycling from February this year.
These changes are part of the Ministry for the Environment’s Standardising Kerbside strategy, which requires all councils to collect the same items in kerbside recycling across Aotearoa.
While Ōpōtiki residents are already well-practiced at sorting and cleaning recycling into crates, there are a few changes that will impact collection from February.
The main change for Ōpōtiki recyclers is that only plastics 1, 2 and 5 will be accepted in plastic recycling and no soft plastics or mixed plastics will be collected. In the tin crate, aerosol containers will no longer be collected as these are difficult to safely process because of the pressurised cans.
In New Zealand, plastics 3, 4, 6, and 7 are difficult to recycle and there are limited recycling options for them here or overseas.
The council’s Operations and Systems Manager, Anthony Kirikiri, said that the changes were about making sure recycling is consistent across the country so it is easy and more effective – not just throwing materials in the recycling bin and ‘hoping’ they were recyclable.
“These are national changes from February, but for most people it won’t be a huge change. In Ōpōtiki we are already pretty good recyclers. The changes will make things more consistent across the country and for us it is a chance to make sure everyone is doing it right – rinsing, sorting, and making sure our recycling doesn’t get contaminated with things that shouldn’t be in there.
“In Ōpōtiki, there are a few things that can no longer go in recycling bins (especially no soft plastics) and a couple that you might not have thought could be recycled but can, like pizza boxes.
“We’d all like more things to be recyclable but it simply doesn’t work that way and ‘wishcycling’ just contaminates our recycled items and masks a growing waste problem.
“I hope these changes help people be more aware of the types of plastic they purchase and the amounts of un-recyclable waste that is generated. Hopefully it changes manufacturing processes as well so people buy what can be recycled. This will also provide better data to inform government decisions and actions in this space,” Mr Kirikiri said.
Mr Kirikiri said that the best way for residents to identify recyclable plastics was to check the numbers found on the bottom of many plastic products and remember that recycling is the LAST resort after we have already refused, repaired, reduced and reused.
Examples of plastics 1, 2 and 5: milk, soft drink and juice bottles, large yoghurt containers, 2L hard ice cream containers, cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese containers, some dip containers, and some tomato, BBQ, and mustard squeeze bottles. It also includes meat trays and some takeaway containers. Rinse all recycling before putting it into the recycling bin.
Examples of plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7: small yoghurt/sour cream pottles, styrofoam, PVC pipes, polystyrene, biscuit and cracker trays, pill packets, some dip containers, soft plastics (plastics you can scrunch in your hand such as biscuit and cracker bags and trays, packaging from bread, rice, packaged vegetables and fruit, shiny gift wrap) and some tomato sauce, mustard and BBQ squeeze bottles. These need to go into your 45l refuse bin for collection.