What can go in kerbside recycling

Find out what you can and can’t put in recycling bags, wheelie bins and crates.

Recycling changes

From 1 February 2024, the materials councils can accept in their kerbside recycling collections will be the same across the country.

Luckily for Wellingtonians there are no changes to the type of materials we accept for recycling, but this is a good opportunity to make sure you are recycling right.

How to recycle

  • Check the bottom of plastic containers, bottles and trays for the numbers 1, 2 or 5 inside the recycling symbol.
  • Remove all container and bottle lids, triggers and pumps – these can go in your rubbish. The Tip Shop and Recycle Centre and Sustainability Trust have free collection points for metal bottle caps, jar lids, and plastic lids (types 2 and 5 only).
  • Rinse all plastics, tins, cans and glass.
  • Don’t squash plastic, tins and cans – squashing makes them harder for the machine to sort.
  • Do flatten cardboard and break up large boxes.
  • Place all recycling items loosely in your bin or bag so they can easily be collected or emptied.

What can go in your recycling

Download our recycling guide, print it, and keep it in a handy place to refer to:

You can put the following items in your kerbside recycling collection.

Plastics

Only plastics with the recycling symbol and numbers 1, 2 or 5 can be recycled.

The items need to be clean, not squashed and the lids removed.

Examples:

  • drink and milk bottles
  • food containers
  • cleaning product containers

Note: Polystyrene, soft plastic and Tetra Pak cannot be recycled in kerbside recycling.

Paper and cardboard

Examples:

  • newspapers and magazines
  • egg cartons
  • office paper and envelopes
  • domestic junk mail
  • cereal boxes
  • cardboard boxes, including pizza boxes (but remove pizza scraps and cheese residue)
  • brown corrugated cardboard
  • books (remove plastic cover)

Note: It can't be recycled if it is waxed or foil-backed, has plastic or food on it, or if it is smaller than a postcard.

Tins and cans

Clean and not squashed – examples:

  • aluminium drinking cans
  • food tins
  • pet food tins

Glass

Clear and coloured glass bottles and jars – clean and lids removed.

What can’t go in your recycling  

Please do not put the following items in your kerbside recycling collection. They can’t be recycled.

Specific types of plastic and metallic wrap and packaging – examples:

  • plastics with numbers 3, 4, 6 and 7
  • plastics with no number
  • plastic bags
  • polystyrene
  • bubble wrap
  • cling film
  • tin foil

Consider avoiding these types of plastics and packaging to reduce your waste.

Wax-coated, lined cartons or light-proof – examples:

  • Tetra Pak juice cartons
  • potato chip tubes
  • powdered hot chocolate tubs

General waste – examples:

  • food and liquid
  • cloth or clothing
  • bottle and jar lids
  • nappies
  • takeaway coffee cups and lids

Specific types of glass – examples:

  • 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 – examples:

  • sharp/broken objects
  • medical syringes with needles
  • batteries
  • aerosols such as fly spray, spray deodorant and cream cans
  • paint and oil
  • all types of gas bottles / cylinders

Green waste such as lawn clippings and weeds

What to do with your waste

If you want to check how to dispose of a specific item, search for it on what to do with your waste.

Bulk recycling

If you have more recycling than can fit in your wheelie bin, you may place additional Council recycling bags by your wheelie bin for collection – you will need to buy the recycling bags.

For large amounts of recycling, you can take it to the Recycle Centre at the Southern Landfill. They have bulk bins for free, domestic recycling.