Whakatāne District Council is reminding residents that, from this weekend, only grades 1 and 2 plastics should be placed in yellow-top recycling bins and all other plastic grades should be placed in general refuse bins.

Council Solid Waste Manager Nigel Clarke says the change to the service is an unfortunate outcome of changes in international recycling markets.

“Plastic grade information is generally located on the bottom of packaging items, so residents are asked to check their plastic waste and look for the triangular recycling symbols,” he explains. “Grades 1 and 2, which include items like plastic drink and milk bottles, should still be recycled. The other plastic grades, which include widely-used items like ice cream containers, yogurt pots and some takeaway containers, should ideally be reused, or alternatively, be placed in the green, general waste wheelie bins.”

Mr Clarke says the changes will only impact on plastic recycling. “All other recycling, including cardboard, paper and tins and cans should continue as usual.

“This change to plastic recycling will be a return to the service we had in place prior to 2016 when we only collected grades 1 and 2 plastics. At that time we had the same size general rubbish bin, which coped with the amount of waste generated,” he says. “We appreciate that some people may find it difficult to accommodate extra waste in their general refuse bins and suggest that all grades 3-7 items that cannot be repurposed should be flattened, so that they take up less space.

“Changing our consumer habits can also help,” he adds. “If you’re buying a product in plastic packaging, check the grade of plastic first and if it can’t be recycled, look for an alternative product in the same price range, or consider bulk purchasing in reusable containers.”

Households and businesses will this week receive a sticker to put on their recycling bin lids as a reminder of the change. Any household that does not receive a sticker through their local circular delivery service can collect one from Whakatāne Civic Centre or Murupara Service Centre.