A media release from the council:

plastic waste nzFrom 1 May your kerbside collection provider will only collect plastic types 1, 2 and 5 for recycling.

Plastics numbered 1, 2 and 5 make up 87% of plastics and can be recycled in New Zealand. Types 3, 4, 6 and 7 had been shipped overseas, but are no longer accepted by most global markets.

There is no change to other types of recycling the collectors will take so you can still put clean paper, clean cardboard, glass and cans out for recycling.

Know your plastics

Plastic products should be marked with a number from 1 to 7, which corresponds with what type of plastic it is.  The number is usually found on the bottom of the packaging.

Plastics numbered 1, 2 and 5 include:

  • water, juice, soft drink and milk bottles
  • shampoo and cleaning product bottles
  • yoghurt containers and ice cream tubs.

Plastics numbered 3, 4, 6 and 7 include:

  • some biscuit trays
  • bread and produce bags
  • styrofoam cups and plates, and some meat trays.

Kerbside collection providers will be informing their customers of the changes directly in the coming weeks.

Councillor and sustainable waste management portfolio holder Jackie Elliott says waste sent overseas can end up as someone else’s rubbish, and incurs a large carbon cost.
“The international markets for plastic have been reducing since 2017. The situation now is that most of the countries that used to take our plastic are not taking it anymore,” Mrs Elliott says.

“Unfortunately this means that plastics graded 3, 4, 6 and 7 are ending up in landfill, so many councils and collection companies around New Zealand are reviewing the way plastics are collected.”

Kāpiti Coast District Council Sustainability and Resilience Manager, Nienke Itjeshorst, says that plastics numbered 1, 2 and 5 are highly recyclable and there are companies in New Zealand recycling these types into useful products, such as wheelie bins, buckets, and fruit containers.

“We also encourage people to reduce buying packaging that cannot be recycled and reuse plastics as much as possible to minimise waste going to landfill, ” Mrs Itjeshorst says.