Wellington City Council halts all recycling for coronavirus lockdown

Wellington residents will have to hold on to their recycling for the entirety of the lockdown as the council will not collect it.

Wellington City Council announced on Wednesday, hours before the country went into Alert Level 4, that it would not collect recycling from Wellington homes due to the risk of COVID-19.

"Our recycling operation involves a high degree of hand sorting of recyclable products, both when going into the trucks (for glass) and at the Oji plant in Seaview," said a spokesperson on Wednesday.

"Workers there manually sort recyclables along a series of conveyor belts."

"Given we understand the COVID-19 virus can remain active for up to three days on some surfaces like plastic, metal and glass, workers are facing too great a risk."

General rubbish will still be collected. 

The council says people can either toss their recycling into bags for landfill or wash and stockpile them until the lockdown lifts. 

Hamilton and Taranaki residents will also have to stockpile with councils announcing their recycling services would cease throughout the lockdown.

Recycling will continue in other parts of the country. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he was initially advised recycling would not be possible, but has since found a workaround.

"Auckland council can now confirm that recycling will continue under necessary safety provisions for workers," Goff said.

"I want to thank all those involved in keeping these services operating, on which the wellbeing of our community depends."

Christchurch's services will also continue. 

New Zealand entered near complete lockdown on Wednesday night with all non-essential businesses and venues closed. People are urged to remain in their homes unless they are going to the supermarket, pharmacy or doctor.

The lockdown will last for a minimum of four weeks as the country tries to stop the spread of COVID-19.