Rubbish Talk


# 12 Recycling Bin Etiquette

First big point - Check your council website and our info for what can go in your recycling bin. DONT believe the packaging companies, media, next door neighbour, or just do wish cycling, or pop it in and hope. Yes, your blouse/ slippers/ duvet might be nice and useful to someone but not in your recycling bin.

Make sure it’s clean and in answer to the how clean question: How would you feel about handling item in two weeks time in middle of summer? In the words of an 8-year-old,” A good recycling bin should smell of soap powder and butterflies”

Recycling is a resource NOT rubbish

No bags: everything needs to be loose in the bin, not bagged or tied up. 
Soft plastic bags can be dropped in to participating stores with Soft Plastics Recycling in Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri. Link to

No liquids/food: Containers need to be empty and clean to be recycled.
There is no washing facility at the dump and recycling needs to be clean before it goes in the bin!

Food/liquid from dirty or partially full containers will contaminate the surrounding recycling in the bin, and in the collection truck.

Use the last of the liquid* from bottles, then rinse the bottle well and make sure it is empty before putting it in the bin.

Don’t squash bottles or screw up paper.
The sorting machinery recognises bottles by plastic type and by shape – squashing them will result in them being identified as a ‘mixed plastic’, which cannot be recycled in NZ. Screwed up paper won’t be sorted properly as paper, and may end up being landfilled.

Squashed Aluminium cans and tins make them hard to recycle too.

Most common minor contamination we are finding is:
-       Lids
-       Tetrapaks
-       Coffee cups
-       soft plastic
-       masks and gloves
-       Colgate toothpaste tubes

(see our other tips to see where these things should go.)

Gross Contamination
​No unsanitary items. No. Just no. It’s rubbish, not recycling!

"Well my all time worst was fish curry , picked up the brown paper bag full of it to see what was under neath to have bottom of bag fall out and contents explode everywhere , My body is not a speedy model , but I broke records that day jumping out the way. 
Pretty sure we have now found everything in recycling bins , and I can understand a bit of plastic confusion , but I will never understand: Food, Nappies, Sanitary items , masks, gloves, Tissues ,soil, rocks , condoms, toys of night time entertainment , dead animals, liquids, wood ash, grass clippings  etc etc"
Lesley, Waste Expert, Ecoeducate. 

- No dead animals in the green bin. Living Earth is not consented to process whole dead animals. Please contact the vet for options if home burial is not an option. They can be bagged and go in the red bin (unpleasant as that, however this the direction we give around eg pest rats, mice).

 - Double bag animal poo, and animal litter, and put in the red bin only, or a specialised composting system (as per notes on composting animal waste).

- Medical waste. For medicine and sharps (needles and insulin pens) visit CDHB and for all other medical waste visit Interwaste

- Ammunition and firearms. Contact the 
Police Arms Office

- Explosive and flares. Contact the Police Arms Office