As of 1st of February 2024, New Zealand shifted to a standardized collection of materials at the kerbside.

What this means and how it impacts you depends on how you view recycling.

Ultimately, this shift is designed to eliminate confusion and contamination, and improve consistency at MRF’s (Material Recovery Facilities).

So, as we are all impacted by this change (whether you like it or not), here are three things you need to know.

One – Plastics with 1, 2 & 5 are accepted

This move from the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) has narrowed the type of plastic packaging that can be accepted in your home recycling bin.

Now it only accepts plastic grades that have 1, 2 & 5 on the packaging.

Why these numbers only?

They are materials that have higher value when recycled, easier to be recycled and sorted, and ultimately aligns closely with the circular economy.

Kerbside Recycling Materials

Two – What about caps?

Digging into the new standards, lids, caps and tops (except for tethered lids, caps and tops) are not accepted in the new recycling standards.

One of the main reasons according to MFE is “Small loose lids and caps are too small for recycling plants to sort successfully”.

But why don’t you just leave the lids and caps on?

According to MFE, the reason why lids and caps should come off is “When lids are left on closed bottles or containers, liquid or food is more likely to remain inside and the container will be discarded to landfill”.

Bottle Caps and Lids

Three – Wash out your packaging and containers

Okay, technically this is not really identified as a standard. However, it is important process to help eliminate contamination in the recycling system.

So, things like peanut butter and marmite jars should be washed out before putting them in your recycling bins.

Michael Basagre, our Sustainability Manager recently posted about doing this very activity on LinkedIn and it must of hit a nerve as it had over 21,000 views!

21,000 Views For This

So to conclude, read up on the full changes and what they all mean. Be sure to check the labels on the packaging, especially plastics numbered with 1, 2 & 5. Remove caps and lids, unless its tethered on, and be sure to wash out your bottles, jars and packaging to ensure it has the best chance to be recycled.

Till next time,

Team Hi-Tech Packaging