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Nationwide changes to recycling from this February

Nationwide changes coming to recycling across Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Nationally, our recycling rates are, at best estimates, 28%. These 2020 figures point out that commercial rubbish accounts for 86% of town landfills, and therefore, the impact we can have is immense. From February 1, new recycling rules are in place to standardise materials collected for recycling across the nation. Below is what will be accepted and not accepted as of February 1.

District and city councils can only accept:

— Glass bottles and jars

— Paper and cardboard

— Plastic bottles, trays, and containers (grades 1, 2 and 5 only)

— Tin, steel and aluminium cans (if you want to recycle can lids, leave them attached)

New items excluded from 1 February 2024:

— Items less than 50 mm (e.g. caps, small cosmetic and spice containers)

— Aerosol cans (steel and aluminium)

— Liquid paperboard (beverage cartons and juice boxes, Tetra Pak, for example)

— Plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7

— Aluminium foil and trays

— All lids (unless tethered to an open bottle or container)

— Items over 4 litres

The following plastics can no longer go into your recycling bin

#3. PVC (Plasticised Polyvinyl Chloride)

Common products include takeaway plastic food containers. These products will be banned from mid-2025. Here’s what you can use instead:

— Bamboo and sugarcane food boxes

— Paper bowls with lids and noodle boxes

#4. Low-Density Polyethylene or LDPE 

Common products typically include mustard, ketchup and similar sauce bottles.

#6. PS (Polystyrene)

Common products typically include takeaway containers, coffee cup lids, and meat and sushi trays. These products will be banned from mid-2025. Here’s what you can use instead:

— Bamboo and sugarcane food boxes and trays

— Kraft paperboard trays

*If your place of business is using plastic-lined coffee cups or plastic lids and receives a high volume of these items disposed of on-site, switch to compostable alternatives and subscribe to a compost collection service to divert these products and your food scraps from landfill. For further information, visit Compost Collect.

#7. Plastic Composition – Other (Composite)

Common examples include PLA bioplastics and any mixed or multilayer plastic packaging, for example, with rigid base and peelback film. 

Are you composting?

If you are using certified compostable packaging (including PLA), please get in touch to discuss our closed-loop solutions. Compostable products, along with food scraps, can be diverted from landfill. We have eight collection partners ready to assist. 

For additional information, check your local council website.

Further changes are coming to Aotearoa, New Zealand, that seek to remove plastics from supermarket shelves, businesses and our environment. You can view the 2025 plastic bans here