You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
In a report to the Clutha District Council service delivery committee yesterday, waste minimisation officer Laura Gourley detailed proposed changes to plastic recycling in the district.
Yesterday the council adopted the proposals, meaning it will soon only accept type 1 plastic (polyethylene terephthalate/PET), type 2 plastic (high-density polyethylene/HPDE) and type 5 plastic (polypropylene) for recycling.
Other plastics, or recycling containing unlisted plastics, will be sent to landfill.
In her report, Ms Gourley said the change had come about due to a 2018 change in policy from China, which no longer accepts contaminated plastic recycling.
Historically, Clutha’s recycling has been exported to China via waste management company OJI in Dunedin.
The Chinese policy in turn led to changes in New Zealand government policy aimed at reducing global environmental harm from plastics.
Future emphasis will be on trade in high-quality, sorted, clean plastic waste, making it difficult to trade in mixed or less recyclable plastics such as types 3, 4, 6 and 7.
Under the Chinese policy "strict contamination limits made export of most fibre and plastics to China impracticable", Ms Gourley said.
"In December last year, the [Government] published ... a comprehensive survey of plastic use in New Zealand, recommending a focus on plastics 1, 2 and 5."
This was supported by a recent Waste Management Institute of New Zealand audit of kerbside plastic recycling, including sampling from Milton, she said.
The audit showed 85% to 90% of plastic household rubbish and recycling collections consisted of plastics 1, 2 and 5, leading to recommendations councils nationwide standardise their systems.
Ms Gourley said many councils, including Dunedin’s, were already adopting the change, and suggested Clutha follow suit.
The Gore District Council no longer accepts plastics or paper in its recycling, limiting collection to glass.
It will inform residents of the new policy before phasing it in.