Recycling changes set to start

A consistent approach to recycling throughout New Zealand from next month will not quite be standard across the South.

National rules about kerbside collection in urban areas are intended to provide clarity about what can and cannot be recycled, and to reduce confusion.

However, not all will apply to everywhere at the same time.

For Dunedin, introduction of the standardised service means little change.

"We already have collections in place for glass, plastics numbered 1, 2 and 5, aluminium and steel cans, and paper and cardboard", a Dunedin City Council spokesman said.

"We will stop collecting aluminium foil and aerosol cans to bring us in line with the national standard."

Lids, nappies, juice cartons and certain types of plastic continue to be unwelcome.

The city has bin inspectors to see if the correct items are being put in them.

Soft plastics, lids and caps were the most common items wrongly put in recycling bins, the council spokesman said.

All households in New Zealand urban areas are to have kerbside collection of food scraps by 2030.

In Dunedin, separate collection of food and garden waste will start in July this year.

The Gore District Council collects glass at the kerb for recycling in Gore and Mataura and the council has until the start of 2027 to have a collection in place for all the other accepted classes.

In 2020, the council significantly reduced its kerbside recycling options offered to the community.

"The changes were forced by collapsing markets for recyclable product, a contentious and ultimately abandoned tender process for kerbside recycling and a lack of government direction on waste minimisation initiatives", the council said in an agenda last year.

An extension granted to the Gore District Council is for introducing infrastructure.

The first step will be to have an additional bin for mixed recycling in Gore and Mataura.

It could be implemented in early 2025.

The Clutha District Council has until January 1, 2027, to add glass to its recycling collection.

No tweaks will be needed to the district"s system on February 1 this year.

The Waitaki District Council does not provide a kerbside recycling collection service, but private contractors do.

Standardisation changes do not extend to private kerbside recycling collections.

"A wider range of items will still be able to be recycled at resource recovery parks or by private kerbside recycling service providers", a council spokeswoman said.

The council was still able to offer a view on what people tended to get wrong.

This included not cleaning items before putting them out for recycling, "wish-cycling" items such as frying pans or larger plastic items, and "just generally not checking the recycling number or info on products before putting them out".

"Plastics with the number 1, 2 or 5 can currently be recycled here", the spokeswoman said.

"A good idea is to check the number or info before you buy, remember to rinse items well and to find alternative collections for those other items such as dropping metal off to a scrap metal merchant or taking household items to reuse shops for parts recycling or to be adopted by another family."