1 February 2024 recycling changes

Will the size of the yellow and red lidded bins need to change with fewer recycling items now collected?

The hard to recycle plastics numbered 3, 4, 6 and 7, make up less than 5% of all plastics currently in the kerbside recycling. The Ministry for the Environment are encouraging consumers to be conscious about what they’re buying. Buying plastics with a recycling number 1, 2, or 5, and leaving hard to recycle products 3, 4, 6 and 7 on the shelf, help keep plastic out of the landfill.

Why did Hamilton City Council continue to collect plastics 1-7 when the new kerbside contract started in 2020?

When we put the tender out for the new kerbside services contract, overseas and local markets for the 'hard to recycle' plastics were open and plastics 1-7 were collected by all New Zealand councils. Between the tender going out and contract being finalised, the overseas markets had closed. With the contracts written, agreed upon, and with the potential for the markets to become viable, an agreement was made between Hamilton City Council and our current contractor to continue to collect 1-7, but separate out and dispose of hard to recycle plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7. Options remain limited for recycling hard-to-recycle plastics and now Ministry for the Environment has mandated Councils to no longer collect them as part of the Standardising Kerbside strategy.

Why is the Ministry for the Environment standardising kerbside collections?

Standardising the materials collected across the country will improve the clarity and effectiveness of kerbside collections. This will reduce confusion about what can and cannot be recycled at the kerbside, no matter where you are in New Zealand, it also aims to divert more food waste from landfill. Learn more about standardising kerbside.

From 1 February 2024, is the change in how we recycle only for kerbside collections?

No, recycling collected from the Lincoln Street Resource Recovery Centre goes to the same sorting centre as kerbside. If you recycle using the Lincoln Street Resource Recovery Centre, you will need to ensure you are only recycling plastics 1, 2 and 5 as well as paper, cardboard and clean tins and cans. There are separate bins for glass recycling. Recycling properly, by separating out what can actually be recycled is also just the right thing to do. There is no point in adding items to your recycling bin because you think they should or used to be recycled. This creates more work for the people who sort through recycling by hand. 

What are examples of hard-to-recycle plastics?

Plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7 include: small yoghurt/sour cream pottles, styrofoam, PVC pipes, polystyrene, biscuit and cracker trays, some food packaging, pill packets, some dip, cream cheese and sour cream pottles, soft plastics (plastics you can scrunch in your hand – bread, rice, packaging from fruit/vegetables, shiny gift wrap) and some tomato sauce, mustard and BBQ squeeze bottles.