One, two and five. One, two and five. These are the numbers to remember when sorting your plastics to drop off at Wastebusters.
Wastebusters is reducing the range of plastic containers and bottles it accepts for recycling to 1’s, 2’s and 5’s, to reflect their commitment to recycle onshore where possible.
From August 1, Wastebusters will only accept plastic containers and bottles with a number 1, 2 or 5 on the bottom for recycling. Any plastic containers and bottles received by Wastebusters with a number 3, 4, 6 or 7 on the bottom will be landfilled.
Recycling manager Bis Bisson said the policy reflects the reality of today’s recycling world, and Wastebusters’ desire to be upfront with their customers and 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 3-7’s for recycling. 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.”
“Our customers can be confident that nearly all the 1, 2 and 5 plastic containers and bottles that go through Wastebusters will be recycled onshore by reprocessors who meet New Zealand’s environmental and labour standards,” said Bis.
“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.”
Wastebusters asks their customers to keep rinsing bottles and containers to ensure there is no food stuck to them, and to taking all the lids off before recycling.
Where Wastebusters recycling goes
Clear PET (#1 eg soft drink bottles) goes to Flight Plastics in Wellington to be made into fruit containers. Includes pale green and blue tints. Coloured PET (#1 eg soft drink bottles) is baled separately, and the last load was sent to OJI Fibre who onsell it overseas. PET meat-trays are now baled separately so we can find a reprocessor to take them. HDPE (#2 eg milk bottles and cleaning product bottles) goes to Comspec in Christchurch to be processed into flake, which is then made into drainage pipe or other industrial plastics. Polypropylene (#5 eg ice cream and yoghurt containers) goes to Comspec in Christchurch to be processed into flake, which is then made into cable reels or other industrial plastics.
Queenstown Lakes District Council recycling
QLDC maintenance and operations manager, Erin Moogan said consideration had been given to reducing the range of plastic containers and bottles QLDC accepts for recycling as part of the new service roll out, but it was decided not to take that step just yet. “At this stage we do still have markets that are accepting mixed plastics, provided they are clean and uncontaminated, although much of our mixed plastics do end up in manufacturing factories offshore. We agree that this means we don’t have the same level of detail on the final destination of our mixed plastics or what each number is made into,” she said.
“QLDC is keeping a close watching brief on what’s happening in this space and may reconsider the decision to change what we accept in the future. Given this would be a huge change for the district we need to make sure any changes are the right decision for the long term.”