Changes coming for kerbside recycling
Kerbside recycling will soon stop accepting grades 3 to 7 plastics in Tairawhiti as a result of significant changes to the global recycling market.
Grades 3 to 7 include widely used items such as ice cream containers, yoghurt pots and takeaway containers. There is no reputable or sustainable market for these types of plastics.
Waste Management NZ Ltd, the local contractor for rubbish and recycling, began rejecting these grades from commercial customers at the end of last year. In the coming months they will no longer be accepting them from household kerbside collections either.
At the end of 2017 China banned the import of 24 grades of waste including household plastics and mixed paper. Since then New Zealand has been sending plastic waste to South East Asia, but now Malaysia is also banning imports of non-recyclable plastics.
While some councils are stockpiling these plastics as they look into other options, the most sustainable way forward is a change in consumer habits.
Households can stop these plastics ending up in landfill by choosing not to buy them in the first place. The type of packaging a product comes in should be a factor in purchase decisions – check the grade of plastic first to identify whether it can be recycled. If it can’t, try to choose an alternative.
An education campaign will be developed to help inform the community and encourage people to reduce, reuse or completely avoid these types of plastics.