Plastics marked with 1, 2 and 5 are good to go – 3, 4, 6 and 7 are a “no” following changes to recycling at Wastebusters.
Wastebusters recycling manager Bis Bisson, of Wanaka, said plastic containers with a number 1, 2, or 5 on the bottom would be taken for recycling.
Any plastic materials received by Wastebusters with a number 3, 4, 6, or 7 on it would be sent to landfill.
Those changes will be effective across all Central Otago depots managed by Wastebusters.
The changes do not apply to plastics recycled through kerbside collection.
Mr Bisson said the change reflects the reality of today’s recycling world and the organisation’s desire to be honest with its customers.
The move also aims to encourage more “transparency” in the recycling industry.
“Since China stopped taking plastics for recycling under National Sword, Wastebusters hasn’t had anywhere globally to send mixed bales of (3, 4, 6 and 7) for recycling,” he said.
“Plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7 make up a small fraction of the recycling we collect, and with no way to reprocess them, we’ve made the decision to stop collecting them”
Those items include things such as small, single-serve yoghurt pottles and plastic trays.
Wastebusters has about 200 bales of mixed 3-7s stored at its Wanaka and Alexandra sites.
Those bales will remain stored by Wastebusters in the hope there will be a solution for them in the future.
Hand-sorting the items was a preferred method for the team, allowing it to separate more materials, while also producing high quality, uncontaminated recycling, he said.
“Hand-sorting means we can rejig our sort line very easily and we’ve been able to start pulling out 5s and bale them separately so we can recycle them on-shore.”
Plastics marked with 5, such as ice cream and yoghurt containers, are estimated to make up more than half of the volume of 3-7 plastics received at Wastebusters.
Mr Bisson said letting the public know the changes meant people could make better decisions when they went shopping.
“Our customers can be confident that nearly all the 1, 2 and 5 plastic containers and bottles that go through Wastebusters will be recycled on-shore by reprocessors who meet New Zealand’s environmental and labour standards.
“It also gives them a clear message to avoid taking home plastic containers and bottles with a 3, 4, 6 or 7 where they can,” Mr Bisson said.
Wastebusters staff also encourage customers to make sure their plastics are rinsed well to ensure no food is stuck in them; and to take lids off containers before recycling.
- 1, soft drink bottles
- 2, milk bottles
- 5, ice cream containers and large yoghurt containers