Rubbish & Recycling
COVID-19 Update: At Alert Level 1 our waste facilities opening hours are back to normal. Please see the Alert Level 1 rules on our Covid-page here.
RECYCLING CLEAN UP
Due to the high costs associated with disposing of contaminated recycling, Council’s contractor has been instructed to no longer empty contaminated household recycling crates.
This page contains information on what CAN and CAN’T be recycled in the South Waikato.
The same applies to our recycling drop-off zones.
From mid-July, crates with the the following contamination issues will not be emptied. They will be stickered and an education flyer left in the mailbox to help residents improve their recycling efforts.
Causes of contamination:
- Contains NON-RECYCLABLE material. Examples of items that can’t be recycled, include: plastics 3-7*, polystyrene, fabric, soft plastic bags, dirty nappies, fastfood bags, (with or without leftovers), broken household items (chairs, buckets etc). Put these items in your rubbish. * only plastics 1 and 2 can be recycled
- Contains items that were dirty, UNRINSED or had food waste on it. Examples of these are unrinsed milk bottle containers, unwashed dog food cans, pizza boxes with food sticking to the cardboard, fastfood packaging that is greasy and has food scraps. Rinse items or if that is not possible, put them in your rubbish.
- The crate was too full, OVER-FLOWING.
- Crate was not placed at KERBSIDE.
- Crate contains potentially HAZARDOUS material.
- Contains LIDS/CAPS/TOPS which need to be removed. Put lids/caps/tops in your rubbish.
- Recycling was not in an OFFICIAL Council crate. Council’s contractor will only empty official Council crates.
Top 5 recycling tips
Here are the top five tips for recycling in the South Waikato. If you get this right, you’re well on your way to being a top recycler!
- Plastics 1s and 2s only - clear and coloured. No other plastic can be recycled. If it has numbers 3 to 7 on it, please bin it. If you can’t see a number or there is no number, please bin it.
- Clean, wash, rinse. Dirty products contaminate recycling.
- Remove all lids, caps, tops and put in the rubbish. Even if it says plastic 1 and 2. These items are too small to process.
- Flatten and fold. Un-flattened boxes take up too much space!
- If in doubt, chuck it out… in the rubbish!
Top 5 recycling mistakes
There are a number of products on the market that people commonly think can be recycled, but they can’t be; so we need to remove these items from our recycling.
- Plastics 3 to 7 can’t be recycled. Please bin these products. Better yet, stop buying them – lower sales figures is a great way to get manufacturers to change their ways!
- Glass products other than glass bottles, such as windscreen glass, mirror glass, window glass etc are not recyclable. Please discard these safely into landfill.
- Most ice cream, yogurt and margarine containers can’t be recycled. They are mainly made from plastics 4 or 5 (not all, but most). Many of these containers are however, fairly durable, so they can be reused!
- Soft plastics such as potato chip packets, lettuce packaging, nut and scroggin packets, plastic wrap, chocolate bar wrappers can’t be recycled. Please put these products in the bin. A good alternative to plastic wrap is a honey wrap product.
- Broken plastic items such as buckets, chairs, plates are not suitable for recycling.
Where is the plastic recycling symbol?
The plastic recycling symbol is usually on the bottom of the product. Only 1s and 2s can be recycled.
- Commonly used plastic items that ARE recyclable: Milk bottles, soft drink bottles, some plastic meat trays, some household products...
- Commonly used items that AREN’T recyclable: Yogurt pots, margarine containers, ice cream containers, some plastic meat trays, some condiment containers...
If you can’t see a recycling symbol or there is no number in the symbol, put the item in your rubbish. Sadly, Council has no control over the visibility of these symbols!
There are millions of products on the market. We cannot list them all!
Crate content changes!
We are asking our community to disregard the messages on the crates. Acceptable crate content is changing to prepare for our new wheelie bins! If you don't get this quite right and your recycling is not contaminated, we will still empty your crates. But it would be a great help if you could start to make these changes.
- Green crate - glass ONLY
- Maroon crate - plastic, tins, cans
- Cardboard and paper folded, bundles and stacked to the side of your crates.
Wheelie bin roll out is now scheduled for July 2021. It was supposed to occur in October 2020, but was postponed to reduce rates, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Waste management facilities
Council owns and operates a landfill in Tokoroa and a transfer station in Putāruru. Greenwaste mulching takes place in Tokoroa. All of these sites are managed for Council by private operators in accordance with Council's Landfill Management Plans. For more information on landfills, please follow this link.
Council provides weekly refuse and fortnightly kerbside recyclable collection from urban areas paying for this service, in Arapuni, Putāruru, Tīrau and Tokoroa. For more on our recycling service, please follow this link or for the recycling calendar please click here.
Council also provides for litter collection in our CBD areas and parks and reserves.
For landfill fees follow this link here.
Frequently asked questions
Are other district councils in New Zealand still collecting plastics 3-7?
We don't know, however our understanding is that most councils have stopped or are in the process of stopping collecting Plastics 3 - 7. Even if some councils are still collecting these at this point in time, they will likely end up landfilling at some stage. We believe it is best to appropriately sort at the kerbside.
Is this change permanent?
Likely yes, we will continue to keep an eye on world markets, but plastics are definitely a problem for our world going forward. Plastics are simply not sustainable.
What is the cost to Council to redirect collected plastics 3 - 7 to landfill?
It costs around $27,000 for Council to redirect collected plastics to landfill.
How do I know if a plastic product is recyclable or not?
Look for the recycling symbol on the product, usually on the bottom. If it has a number 1 or 2 in the middle, it is recyclable; if it has any other number, or no number, it is not. We know these
What is central government's responsibility around plastics?
Local government has advocated central government review its Packaging Accord to better manage plastics. Very little has been done to date in this area. It is possible that the current problem with plastics may force a review of the New Zealand Waste Strategy (2010) to include a range of actions that Government could take.
Why must we remove lids, caps and tops?
These small items are fiddly for manual sorting and can jam mechanical sorting machines.
How can I find out more about going plastic free entirely?
Visit the Plastic Free July website here.
Can I recycle [product/brand]?
It is very difficult for staff to advise on individual products as different brands and products use different plastics. Please look for the recycling symbol. It is usually on the bottom of the container. If there is a 1 or 2 in the middle of the symbol, it can be recycled. Any other number or no number or if you can't read the number, please put in general waste. Do not put this in your crate or in the rural recycling station. Council has no control over the legibility of these numbers.
Is cling wrap or plastic wrap recyclable?
No, cling wrap is a soft plastic which many of the plastics 3 - 7 are. It cannot be recycled. Look for alternatives like Lilybee wrap or similar. They are more expensive, but they are reusable for up to a year. Visit these websites - Lilybee Wrap or Honeywrap or similar product website.
Similar wrap can be homemade too.
Does this information apply to the recycling drop-off zones?
Yes. Signage has been installed to assist.