New recycling standards to come into effect nationwide, Auckland Council encourages diligence 

Auckland Council is encouraging residents to "brush up on their recycling etiquette" before new national standards come into effect in February.    

From February 1, everyone in New Zealand will have to follow identical guidelines for what items can and cannot be placed in their kerbside recycling bins.    

Previously, regions had different rules for what was accepted in local council collections.    

Auckland councillor Richard Hills is chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and is urging Aucklanders get familiar with the new guidelines.    

He said recycling correctly will increase the quality of the materials recycled and mean ratepayers' money is being used more effectively.   

Contamination of recycled materials costs Auckland ratepayers an extra $3 million a year in sorting and disposal as nearly a quarter of material collected around the Auckland region is contaminated.   

"By only putting in the right recyclable items into our bins, we are helping increase the quality of materials collected for recycling, which in turn reduces disposal costs," Hills said.   

Auckland Council has updated their website and Binny smartphone app to reflect the new national standards. 

Items that will be accepted in your kerbside recycling bin from February 1 2024:   

  • Glass bottles and jars  
  • Paper and cardboard  
  • Plastic bottles, trays, and containers (grades 1, 2 and 5 only)  
  • Tin, steel and aluminium cans   

The grade of plastic containers can be deduced from a small triangle symbol with a number in the middle that will be on the container.  

A guide for what plastics can and cannot be recycled.
The grade of plastic containers can be deduced from a small triangle symbol with a number in the middle that will be on the container. Photo credit: Ministry for the Environment

New items excluded from 1 February 2024:  

  • Items less than 50mm (e.g. caps, small cosmetic and spice containers)  
  • Aerosol cans (steel and aluminium)  
  • Liquid paperboard (Tetrapak and juice boxes)  
  • Plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7  
  • Aluminium foil and trays  
  • All lids  
  • Items over 4 litres   

If you're not sure whether you're already recycling correctly you can take a test on Auckland Council's website.   

While reducing the use of single use items is the best way to reduce waste, the second best is recycling correctly.  

"This change is another important step along the path to Auckland's goal of zero waste by 2040," Hills said.    

Auckland Council said that some items, which have never been accepted in recycling, are still showing up.   

These include:   


Textiles, carpets and clothes    

Nappies, medical waste and garden waste    

Soft plastic and plastic bags    

Bagged recycling and rubbish    

Lithium-ion batteries and appliances.   

Some of these can be recycled, just not through the council, and people are encouraged to investigate community recycling centres or other avenues.    

The best way to stay on top of your recycling is with the Binny app, avaliable on Google Play or the App Store.