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  • Rights: University of Waikato
    Published 9 November 2018 Referencing Hub media

    What can we recycle in New Zealand? This video looks at all the things we can recycle.

    This is the third of three videos used to explore the recycling process with levels 1–4. The videos have a focus on Auckland recycling but it is also relevant for students across New Zealand.

    Related content

    This video is part of a series of three videos, the other videos are:

    The teaching and learning activities that use these videos can be found here.



    Let’s take a look at all the things we can recycle.

    Paper and cardboard – boxes, flyers, letters, cards, window envelopes, tissue boxes, magazines and cartons that hold liquids. Any small or shredded pieces of paper should be placed inside an envelope or box to keep it together, otherwise it can jam the sorting machines.

    Glass – bottles and jars with the lids on no matter what they are made of. There are processes for separating the materials once they are inside the sorting facility, but when lids are loose, they find their way into all the wrong places. Don’t include glass cookware, drinking glasses, lightbulbs window or mirror glass, which are not recyclable often because they are strong or temperature resistant and don’t melt properly in the furnaces which are used for recycling glass.

    Aluminium and steel – food cans, drink cans, spray cans and baking foils. These must be clean and empty. Don’t include any other steel or aluminium items. Scrap metals or metal household items must be disposed of in other ways.

    Plastics – bottles or containers that you find in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry. You can also recycle some meat trays now. Check the back – as long as it’s not polystyrene code 6, you can rinse well and recycle. Always put the lids on after rinsing. This keeps the plastic together and gets it to the right place. Don’t include other plastic items from around the home or workplace. Only plastic bottles and containers and some meat trays are recycled through your kerbside collection service.

    Make sure you never put these in your recycling bin:

    • Nappies – they’re not recyclable, and they are a serious health risk to people who work at the MRF.
    • Soft plastics – any plastic you can scrunch up with your fingers, including plastic shopping bags, is not recyclable in your kerbside bin. Soft plastic items can jam in the sorting equipment and cause damage.
    • Clothing, blankets and shoes – these are not recyclable in your kerbside bin. You can take these to your local charity shop or a clothing bin.
    • Dirty contaminated recyclables – all items need to be clean and clear. Dirty items can ruin clean recyclables, and they can also be a health risk to Aucklanders working in recycling jobs.

    For a quick way to check items you’re not sure about, look at the sticker on the inside of your recycling bin lid. You can also check any items you are not sure about with Auckland Council’s online recycling search

    Share this video and spread the word. With just a little awareness at home, we can all recycle right and make Auckland an even more beautiful and eco-friendly city.

    These resources have been produced by Cognition Education for Visy Industries and Auckland Council.

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