News | 18 October 2023
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How to talk to your flatmates about recycling

If you’re sick of fishing recyclables out of the flat rubbish bin but smart enough to know that passive-aggressive notes aren’t going to cut it - read on for some tips on how to talk to your flatmates about recycling.

Glass bottles in a crate.

It can be disheartening to recycle hard all week just to see someone has crushed cans and food left on packaging, contaminating everything you’ve done. Sure, you could spend more of your precious time scooping other people’s recycling out of the trash bag and making sure it’s sorted properly, or you could sit down and have a chat with your flat, using our handy hints below. 

1. Be friendly about it

Have a gentle chat to your flatmates about why recycling is important to you, and the environment, and start by suggesting a few ways they can improve. It might be best to start with easy targets, like – all glass in the glass bin please. We have this handy guide which you can stick on your fridge or wall as a reminder of how to do it. 

2. Utilise our cool website

If that doesn’t cut it, direct them to our excellent recycling directory. Or, if they seem to forget when the recycling is meant to go out, they can use our online search tool. It's easy to use - so easy that it won a Plain Language Award in 2022! 

3. Make it simple

Make it as easy as possible for your flat to recycle – if you have space, set up separate bins for waste, recycling, and glass recycling. As to who takes the rubbish out each week, suggest setting up a roster so you can all take turns. 

4. Yes, we absolutely DO recycle things

Remind them that things do get recycled. A lot of recycling apathy is related to people who believe things aren’t recycled here. But, they do. Take a sneak peek inside Oji, where Wellington's recycling goes to get sorted.

5. Rinse and repeat

Try to hammer home a few very key recycling rules ie – Wash don’t squash, lids off plastic bottles. Naturally we have a guide for that, too. Squashing items makes it difficult for them to be accurately sorted when they reach the recycling facility in Seaview and can lead to contamination/waste being sent to the landfill.

6. Work together as a team

Being a 'rubbish recycler' means recycling that’s not prepared properly goes to landfill. Remind them of how it's a collective effort to make sure things are recycled.

If this is all going well and you’d like your flat to expand their recycling power, take a look at this information from our waste minimisation team about what can and can’t be recycled.