Reducing contamination

Your recycling is too good to waste, and we need to make sure that it goes to the right place.

Reducing contamination

We've been working with residents to reduce recycling contamination because it's an issue that costs all of us: financially via rates (November 2022 saw contamination fines exceeding $30,000!), and environmentally, as it’s possible that contaminated recycling could end up in the landfill.

Thanks to our community taking the time to recycle properly, we've been making real progress in reducing contamination, which is a real win for the city. There's still a lot of mahi to be done here, but we're getting there!

Want to know which items can and can't go into your recycling bin? You can look up specific items here.

Remember: When something like a nappy, polystyrene or soft plastic ends up in recycling, one of the team at Oji Fibre Solutions in Seaview needs to pick it out for you.

To help keep make sure that everyone is kept updated  - and to thank people for fantastic recycling - we've introduced a sticker system:

To help lower our contamination rates, our bin ambassadors use these stickers to help you understand what can and can’t be recycled.

Green sticker
Orange sticker
Red sticker 1
Red sticker 2

If your recycling bin gets a Green sticker, everything in your recycling bin was correct – thanks very much, keep it up!

If you see an Orange sticker, one or two items in your recycling bin shouldn’t have been there. Please double-check that everything’s correct for next time.

If you get a Red sticker, your bin was too contaminated with two or more non-accepted items / materials, and it won't have been collected. If this happens, please remove the items that shouldn’t be there and put the bin out again on your next collection day. After two Red stickers, we may need to remove a recycling bin if it's found to be too contaminated a third time.

Please don't fill your bins and glass crate past the rim - they may not be emptied otherwise, as over-full bins / crates can be difficult to collect.

If a recycling bin is found to have too many non-accepted items or materials inside, we’ll give it a red sticker on collection day.

Most bins get the green sticker, which thanks people for their amazing recycling mahi. The orange sticker lets people know that not everything in their recycling bin was acceptable. The red sticker is for when the bin is too contaminated to be collected.

After two red stickers, if a yellow-lid recycling bin is found to be contaminated again, it gets removed by the bin collection team.

To make sure your recycling bin doesn’t get removed, be sure to read about what goes into your recycling bin here.

We don’t want to remove recycling bins – we’d love it if everyone recycled properly!

However, a recycling bin that is too contaminated increases costs for everyone, and can lead to a lot of good recycling getting sent to landfill. That’s too wasteful for us, it wastes everyone else’s amazing recycling efforts, and costs us all money via increased rates.

These red stickers help us to measure which yellow-lid recycling bins are sending contamination to landfill and ruining Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt’s recycling mahi.

This means:

  • Less recycling sent to landfill
  • The Silverstream Landfill doesn’t fill up as quickly
  • A more eco-savvy Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt
  • Less money – or preferably no money! –  spent on contamination penalty charges