What You Can and Cannot Recycle in NZ

What You Can and Cannot Recycle in NZ

On the 1st of February 2024, council recycling collections across Aotearoa became standardised. For most, this has only brought minor sorting/preparation changes but one of the most widespread changes is the introduction of consistently collecting #5 plastics across the country (which used to vary region by region).

Pioneer Group always recommends checking in with your local council about their recycling rules and regulations, but as a general guide, here are our top dos and don'ts for recycling in NZ.

What are some of the biggest changes?

  • Plastics 1, 2 and 5 will go into in kerbside recycling
  • All lids must be removed from recycling
  • Liquid paperboard containers (ie: milk/juice cartons) will no longer be accepted in curbside recycling

What can be recycled in your kerbside collection?

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Plastics 1,2 and 5
  • Aluminium Cans
  • Steel Tins

What can’t be recycled in your kerbside collection?

  • Liquid Paperboard (ie: Milk/Juice Cartons)
  • Aerosols
  • Aluminium foil or trays
  • Polystyrene
  • Plastic bags, film and soft plastics
  • Lids/Caps
  • Food waste
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Garden Waste
  • Nappies/Sanitary Products
  • Electrical Products
  • Batteries
  • Cookware/Pyrex ®
  • Clothing, Shoes and Textiles

If it can't go into my kerbside recycling, where can it go?

Even though it might not be able to be recycled in your kerbside recycling, there are a large amount of recycling programs running nationwide that take a variety of different things! A fantastic example of this is the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme run by the Packaging Forum, where they have bins present in the majority of supermarkets nationwide that you can drop your soft plastics recycling into!


  • While not every item can be recycled by your council, you may be able to recycle them elsewhere. For example, look into the soft plastic recycling scheme that runs in most supermarkets!
  • Remove as much leftover food and/or product residue from your recycling materials, otherwise it could be considered contaminated and be sent to the landfill instead
  • We recommend having a look at the informative A-Z Recycling Guide available on the Whangarei District Council website – you can search for specific items using the search guide, or you can scroll through and have a read!

Make recycling easy – contact us today!