News | 10 June 2024
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Recycling myths – busted!

We’re taking the guess work out of recycling by debunking some of our most common recycling myths and mistakes.

Image of a person sorting their recycling, holding a tetrapack
Wellingtonians are pretty great at recycling, but in surveys we’ve done in the past, we found quite a few of us are 'wishcycling' – recycling items we’re unsure of and hoping for the best!  

So, to clear up any more confusion, we’re crossing a few things off Wellington’s ‘wish-list’ once and for all. 

What’s the beef with plastic meat trays? 

As of June 2021, clean plastic meat and food trays with a recycling symbol and a number 1,2 or 5 can go in your kerbside recycling. Just remember to remove the soaker pad and plastic film, these need to go in your general rubbish. 

Want to say nay to the tray altogether? Try bringing your own container to the deli counter or your local butcher and fishmonger. 

Time to Tetra Pak it in? 

Contrary to popular belief, wax lined cardboard milk cartons, juice boxes and Tetra Pak cartons are not recyclable in your kerbside recycling, so please pop them into your kerbside rubbish. 

If you’re really dedicated to recycling, you can drop it off at a collection point to be recycled by SaveBoard. 

Squash your can crushing habits 

Some of you might be a bit flattened to hear that you shouldn’t crush your aluminium drink cans. A can that’s crushed flat will not be properly recognised by machinery at the recycling processing plant and will end up going to landfill, or getting mixed up with paper and cardboard, contaminating that recycling. 

Tin cans? Put a lid on it! 

You can actually leave the lids on your tin cans as long as they’re still attached and pushed inside. Loose lids floating in your recycling are too small to be recycled and the sharp edges pose a safety risk to staff, so please wrap them and put them in your rubbish if they come off the tin. 
image of recycling bag on the street.
What’s the deal with bottle caps? 

Both plastic and metal lids and bottle tops should not go in your kerbside recycling. Some lids and caps are too small to go through the sorting and bailing process at the recycling facility. Bigger lids, like the one you might find on a 1 litre ice-cream container, are flight and light, and can get mistaken for paper by our sorting machines, messing up our paper recycling.  

Pumps and triggers from the top of spray bottles also need to go into the rubbish.  
The Tip Shop and Sustainability Trust have free collection points for clean, metal bottle caps, lids for glass jars and grade 2 and 5 plastic lids. 

Plant pots – not as green as they seem! 

Unfortunately, plastic plant and seedling pots can’t go in your kerbside recycling. However, if they’re in good nick, you can donate them to a variety of organisations and charities including your local op-shop or the Tip Shop (if they have space and there is market demand), list them on a marketplace, or check with your community garden so they can be reused.   

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Alternatively, you can take any grade 5 plastic pots to your local Mitre 10 store for recycling. 

Which paper makes the cut? 

Not all paper is actually recyclable. Receipts and thermal paper contain chemicals so they’re a no go. The fibres in tissue paper, paper towels and napkins are too short so they can’t be recycled either. But wrapping paper (without glitter, foil or plastic), office paper and newspapers all make the cut and can go in your kerbside recycling. 

If the paper is smaller than a credit card, it will need to go in the rubbish as it’s too small to go through processing and bailing machinery. 

Image of person carrying their glass recycling bin.

Making a call on old electronics 

Electronics or 'eWaste' is any kind of item that uses a plug or battery. These electrical devices contain valuable resources that can be recycled and reused. 

You can drop eWaste off at The Southern Landfill Tip Shop. All items are free, except for TVs and computer screens. If the Tip Shop is a little far to travel, Sustainability Trust also has a drop-off point at their inner-city location (fees apply). 

Fridge on the fritz? 

Fridges and freezers can be recycled at the Southern Landfill for a fee of $25. They contain refrigerant gas which needs to be removed before being recycled as scrap metal. 

All other whiteware can be placed in the scrap metal section at the Southern Landfill Transfer Station (fees apply).  

Should we scrap the pizza boxes? 

Clean pizza boxes can actually go into your kerbside recycling but be sure to scrape off any leftover cheesy food scraps. Grease stains are ok! 

If you splash out and get a jumbo pizza, fold it so it's no bigger than a recycling bag and leave it next to the rest of your recyclables. 

If you’re ever unsure about whether to put an item in your recycling, you can look it up in our handy online directory or give our Contact Centre a call on 04 499 4444. 

Happy recycling everyone!