More action on waste

As part of a wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in New Zealand’s landfills, the Government is to fund the upgrading of seven high-tech recycling plants from Northland to Canterbury.

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage says “Some plastic materials are very difficult to tell apart, even for the professionals. This is where the optical sorter can determine in a split-second whether for example, a clear rigid plastic is made from 1, 3, 6 or 7 resin. The latter three plastics are low value and treated as contamination in many kerbside collections nowadays.”

She also welcomed the recommendations in a report on how New Zealand’s kerbside recycling can be standardised.

The report, Standardising kerbside collections in Aotearoa, prepared for the Ministry for the Environment by WasteMINZ and Sunshine Yates Consulting recommends that:

  • Materials collected are standardised for domestic kerbside recycling collections across the country (e.g. plastics 1, 2, 5; metal, glass, cardboard and paper)
  • Local authorities are incentivised to collect food waste for composting or anaerobic digestion
  • Local authorities are incentivised to collect glass separately to other recyclable materials
  • Best practice is promoted for food waste, recycling, and residual rubbish collections to increase consistency across the country.