Where to recycle things no longer accepted at kerbside recycling

With new standardised recycling rules in place across most of the country, some items are no longer accepted in kerbside bins but can still be recycled - so what do you do with them?   

Last year, the previous Government introduced a plan to standardise recycling nationwide.  

From February 1, the new plan was implemented where everyone 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. It's hoped the new rules will make recycling the correct items easier for everyone and reduce the amount of contaminated items in recycling bins.  

The new rules have seen items like aerosol cans, aluminium foil/trays, bread bags, juice boxes, beverage cartons and items less than 50mm such as caps no longer allowed in your kerbside recycling bins. But they can actually still be recycled. 

The new plan has left some Kiwis scratching their heads about what to do with items that can still be recycled but not kerbside.   

The Ministry of the Environment says people can either recycle these items at drop-off locations or through take-back schemes.   

For aerosol cans, the Ministry of the Environment says they can be recycled through drop-off and takeback services. People are reminded that all cans must be completely emptied before recycling and should check their local council's website to see if a drop-off service is available.   

Aluminium foil/trays can still be recycled but only at drop-off locations. The ministry says some scrap metal recyclers accept aluminium foil for recycling. The foil must be clean and scrunched into a ball.  

Food and drink cartons (Liquid Paperboard, Tetra Pak) can still be recycled but via drop off only. The ministry says the Food and Beverage Carton Recycling Scheme accepts all clean food and drink cartons such as juice, stock, long-life milk and alternative milk cartons but cartons must be fully opened out flat and washed before drop-off.  

Lids/caps/tabs have always been a conundrum for Kiwis about whether they can be recycled or not.  The ministry says lids/caps/tabs are not accepted in your kerbside bin but can be recycled at drop-off locations. 

Metal lids can be recycled at your local Lions club or at your local metal recycler but they must be rinsed and dried. For plastic lids, the ministry says there are no nationwide schemes currently but there are some local initiatives including EnviroHub Bay of Plenty - Precious Plastic Tauranga and How It Works - Good Caps.   

"Some councils such as Wellington Council offer drop-off locations for both plastic and metal lids," the Ministry of the Environment said.   

Polystyrene packaging can still be recycled but at drop-off locations only.  

The ministry says Expol operates a Household Polystyrene Recycling Programme for polystyrene used to protect electrical and household appliances when transported. Kiwis can also drop off polystyrene at Mitre10 after the company partnered with Expol.  

The polystyrene should be clean and have no stickers or tape, no dirt, food waste or residue. Polystyrene food packaging is not accepted by this scheme. 

For a full list of where to recycle items that are no longer accepted kerbside and to find drop-off locations, click here.   

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

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

According to the Ministry for the Environment, standardising recycling means an extra 36,000 tonnes of waste will be recycled each year - so long as Kiwis follow the advice.