Sorting & preparing your recycling

The suburban recycling service differs from the inner city recycling collection.

Green recycling crate filled with glass bottles.

Remember not to overfill your crate - it's unsafe for our collectors

Remember to:

  • remove lids and wash your plastic, tins and cans.
  • place all recycling materials loosely in your bins or bags.

Suburban areas

  • Place paper, tins and cans, and accepted plastic in wheelie bins or official Wellington City Council recycling bags. 
  • If you're using a wheelie bin:
    • flatten boxes and put loosely into the wheelie bin as jammed cardboard will stop your bin being emptied.
    • close the lid of your wheelie bin and attach the wheelie bin clip so it doesn't fill with rain water and recycling materials won't blow away.
  • Place only clean glass bottles and jars - no lids - in the 45-litre green recycling crates, and don't fill the crates over the top edge.

Inner-city areas

  • Sort your recycling into clear plastic bags and tie at the top. You can use clear market bags or buy a 10 pack of bags (five for glass, cans and plastic, and five for paper and cardboard) from our Service Centre, and New World Chaffers and Willis Metro.
  • Put paper and cardboard into one clear plastic bag, and glass, plastic, and tins and cans into another clear plastic bag.
  • Bundles of cardboard under 15kg may also be put out (this is only available for city-centre collections) - flatten and securely tie with string or tape. Cardboard is collected on Tuesday night.

Extra-bulk recycling

You can take any extra recycling to the recycling station at the Southern Landfill, Happy Valley or Spicer Landfill, Porirua.

Recyclable materials

See the following table for what you can or can't recycle.

A note about paper

You can recycle paper of any kind, unless it:

  • is waxed or foil-backed
  • has plastic or food on it.

A note about plastic

The plastic we collect and recycle is mainly food, drink, and household containers of various kinds. Please don't put polystyrene, or soft, scrunchable plastic like plastic bags, bubble wrap or food wrap out with your recycling. We encourage Wellingtonians to avoid acquiring plastic bags where possible and reuse the ones they do get. The soft plastic recycling scheme previously provided by The Packaging Forum is suspended, with plans to resume a sustainable service later in the year.

Recyclable materials Examples
Paper and cardboard
  • newspapers and magazines
  • egg cartons
  • office paper and envelopes
  • junk mail
  • cereal boxes
  • toilet paper rolls
  • cardboard boxes, including pizza boxes (but remove pizza scraps and cheese residue)
  • brown corrugated cardboard
  • drink and milk bottles (lids removed and clean)
  • food containers (clean)
  • cleaning product containers
Tins and cans
  • aluminium drinking cans
  • food tins (clean)
  • pet food tins (clean)
  • glass bottles and jars (lids removed and clean)
Don't put these in your kerbside recycling Examples
  • fly spray
  • spray deodorant
  • cream cans
General waste
  • food and liquid
  • cloth or clothing
  • bottle and jar lids
  • takeaway coffee cups and lids
Wax-coated, lined cartons or light-proof
  • tetrapak juice cartons
Specific types of plastic and metallic wrap and packaging
  • plastic bags
  • polystyrene 
  • bubble wrap
  • cling film
  • tin foil
  • meat trays (polystyrene and plastic)
Green waste
  • lawn clippings
  • weeds
Specific types of glass
  • broken glass
  • ceramics
  • drinking glasses and cups
  • glass bricks
  • light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • medical and lab glass containers
  • mirrors
  • Pyrex
  • TV tubes and computer screens
  • vases and ornamental glass
  • window glass
Hazardous items
  • sharp objects
  • medical syringes with needles
  • batteries
  • paint and oil
  • all types of gas bottles / cylinders

Terms and conditions for kerbside collection

  • The official containers for recycling are:
    • for glass only - the official Council 45-litre green crates
    • for other recyclable material - either the Wellington City Council black and yellow 140-litre wheelie bin or the Council's 70-litre green plastic bags.
  • Only appropriate recyclable materials will be collected.
  • The maximum weight for the contents in a recycling bag is 10kg, or green crate is 15 kilograms.
  • For health and safety reasons, the 45-litre crates must not be filled with glass above the top edge. If they are, they will not be collected. 
  • Glass and other recyclables will be collected on alternate weeks as specified for each area.
  • The official recycling containers must be on the kerb within specific times and:
    • either on a public street and in a way that doesn't obstruct a carriageway in front of the associated property if practical
    • or at a specific location as set by the Council.
  • The Council can declare some streets or locations unsafe for recycling collection. Phone (04) 499 4444 for more information.
  • The Council may withdraw services to residents who do not comply with the conditions.

For more detailed information, refer to: