Recycling bins put out on Auckland neighbourhood street
Research report
17 July 2018

What you can and can't recycle

It's not always clear what can and can’t go in kerbside recycling bins. Here’s our guide on some of the most commonly mis-recycled items.

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Joseph T.
11 Oct 2020
Battery Recycling

I am an elderly person. Every time I have a flat Battery am I supposed to take it to a recycling Depot? If that's the case then I would need to go to the depot every time I have a flat battery including Hearing aids. I would prefer to store them until I have an adequate amount to dispose of.
Therefore is there a safe way to store them?

Joe T
11 Oct. 2020

Pam R.
12 Mar 2022
Hearing aid batteries

Hearing aid batteries are often collected at the office of the hearing aid suppliers. They gave me a little box to put the batteries in and every now and again I take a nearly full box in to them. I hope they get the special metals out of them.

Mark B.
30 Mar 2019
Other recycling avenues

In Hamilton we have the Environment Centre, they have a pay to recycle scheme for batteries, electronics etc. only a small fee to subsidise recycling. I accept it as part of the cost of ownership but will be interesting to see if pressure on manufacturers to design less wasteful items takes hold

Sandra P.
13 Oct 2019
Who shd buck stop with?

I wld prefer the responsibility to RECYCLE go back to the Retailers. We need to look at providing OUR OWN reusable containers, alternative ways to transport items we purchase etc. For eg. We bought a TV wh came in a huge box. Once out of box we transported it wrapt in a moving blanket. Retailers cld offer reusable packaging tht is totally recyclable or returnable for use by others. I was horrified to learn tht NOT ALL Councils offer Kerbside Recycling? SHD BE COMPULSORY!! Qtn Mark's??ova the reasons why items cannot be recycled n R accepted sum places not others?? Makes no sense. Shd be Nationwide. There's alot more to comment on...maybe sum1 else can fill in the gaps. Sandra

Bryan W.
02 Feb 2019
Confusion in article

Some items are stated to not be acceptable in any roadside bins, but are then said to be acceptable in general rubbish bins. This should be clarified (in the article itself).

Stace H.
06 Aug 2018

I'd much rather see this be a compulsory part of the school curriculum than calculus or similar. I've struggled to learn how and what to recycle and how to reduce waste and while everyone 'should' find this out themselves, only a small percentage will. A quick survey around the office shows most adults have no clue including me. Thanks for the article.

Colleen K.
04 Aug 2018
Wine bottle caps

Does the aluminium collar that remains on the neck of wine bottle when the cap is removed have to be removed? I thought I read somewhere that wine caps did not have to be removed but it doesn't seem logical.

Consumer staff
06 Aug 2018
Re: Wine bottle caps

Hi Colleen,

Thanks for your question. Before glass from our kerbside bins goes back into the furnace, glass recyclers have a step where they filter out contaminants like metal from the crushed glass (known as cullet). It’s at this point that wine collars are removed. Recyclers say that they prefer wine caps and other metal lids to be removed but it’s not mandatory. If you’re interested, you can read more about the process here:
I hope this has helped.
Kind regards, Olivia - Consumer NZ writer

Previous member
28 Jul 2018
Clarification on items

Excellent , Thanks for the clarification. No harm in being more informed!

Catherine G.
21 Jul 2018

I thought I was pretty ok with rules in Christchurch- but wrongly putting in jar lids and leaving out tetrapaks. Thanks for clarifying.

Trevor B.
21 Jul 2018
Recycling where does it go?

Now that China is no longer accepting out recycling.
Where is it all going?
And what is the governments plans for recycling in the future?

Consumer staff
23 Jul 2018
Re: Recycling where does it go?

Hi Trevor, thanks for your questions. One way our country can reduce the recyclable material it sends overseas is to increase our usage of New Zealand-made recycled plastic packaging – we look at recycled PET plastic in this article:

Kind regards, Olivia - Consumer NZ investigative writer

Trevor B
21 Jul 2018
Aerosol cans - where they can be recycled

In your "can and can't recycle article you say "Hutt". Does this mean Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt?

Consumer staff
23 Jul 2018
Re: Aerosol cans - where they can be recycled

Hi Trevor, we’ve used the proper name of the council, so we mean Hutt City Council, which covers the Lower Hutt area. Some councils, like Upper Hutt, don’t run kerbside recycling schemes – instead residents have to choose and pay a private operator. Because of this, these councils aren’t included in our report. There’s a full list of the excluded councils in our Guide. I hope this has helped.
Kind regards, Olivia - Consumer NZ investigative writer

Caroline E.
21 Jul 2018
Only supermarket checkout bags can go in CCC recycling bins

This is a very useful article, however it has one thing wrong. The only shopping bags which can go in Christchurch City Council recycling bins are supermarket checkout bags. You cannot put in other soft plastic shopping bags such as those you get from clothes shops or even those used for produce in supermarkets. The only recycling option for these are the soft plastic recycling bins now at many supermarkets.

Consumer staff
23 Jul 2018
Re: Only supermarket checkout bags can go in CCC recycling bins

Hi Caroline, thanks for this feedback. We'll try to clarify this issue in our article.

Kind regards, Olivia - Consumer NZ investigative writer

Jenny W.
21 Jul 2018
Rubbish and recycling

Every wk I see bins stuffed with things in the wrong bin, or dumped at the roadside because they are unwanted. Many people are too bone idle to find out what they can recycle, or donate unwanted household goods to charity shops. Hard to monitor, I don't put my bin out the night before because it's never full and someone will dump crap in it overnight.

Laura K.
21 Jul 2018
Council lists

It would be so helpful if this article could be expanded to include other councils. I live in Kapiti but it isn't listed at all.

Peter R.
21 Jul 2018
Council Lists

I feel the same as the previous member. I live in Tauranga and the TCC features neither in the "accepted" nor "declined" lists. I am wondering what this says about the TCC.

Consumer staff
23 Jul 2018
Re: Council lists

Hi Laura and Peter,

Councils that don’t run kerbside recycling schemes are excluded from our list. Private contractors provide recycling services for Far North, Kaipara, Kapiti, Tauranga, Upper Hutt, Waitaki, Whanganui and Western Bay of Plenty council residents. Hope this helps.

Frank – Consumer NZ staff