The first public recycling bins at the lakefront were unveiled today.

The new bins would replace the rubbish-only bins in Rotorua's lake reserves and inner city areas.

Each bin had a general rubbish section as well as sections for recycling glass and plastic, paper and cardboard.

The wooden slat bins had a unique design which featured te reo Maori signage to indicate the types of waste - karahe (glass), hangarua (recycling) and para (rubbish).

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To help mark the installation, Rotorua Primary School's Rooms 7 and 10 joined Rotorua Lakes Council and Smart Environmental in a small ceremony.

The students were able to spend time learning about recycling and had a first-hand look at how the new waste trucks would empty their wheelie bins at home.

Rotorua Lakes Council transport and waste solutions director Stravros Michael said launching the bin was "quite rewarding" as it had been a long process.

The recycling bin project had taken a year of planning, he said.

He said the bins would complement new kerbside collection services, which will increase recycling in Rotorua.

"The changes to waste collection services in Rotorua are part of council's new Waste Management Strategy that aims to reduce waste entering the landfill, increase recycling, cut costs and improve waste management services.

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"The new public recycling bins are colour coded to match the bins being delivered to homes.

"We want the public to easily identify where the different types of waste go to reduce contamination."

The new bins are part of a public bin replacement programme being undertaken by council's new waste collection contractor Smart Environmental.

In addition to public recycling bins, Smart Environmental's custom designed wheelie bin arrangements for general rubbish will replace the blue drums in sports fields and residential reserves around the district.

Mr Michael said the overwhelming response from people around kerbside recycling had been "bring it on".

"I think most people have been waiting for these changes for a long time."

The bins will be installed in two stages over a two-year period with 24 public recycling bins expected to be installed at lakeside reserves by the end of November.

"The whole idea is encouraging people to think before they dump waste. If we encourage people in public spaces they are more likely to do it at home too."

Mr Michael said a primary target was schools and to gradually educate children on being environmentally friendly, as the children were the future generation.

They were looking to bring waste minimisation education programmes into schools, he said.

He said some hybrid vehicles would be used for litter bin collection, which had "very significantly reduced environmental footprints".

Mr Michael said they were also in the process of working with residents in rural areas and identifying options.

The Packaging Forum representative John Webber was present at the launch, and said they were "so delighted" to see Rotorua doing this.

"Hopefully this will be a precursor to other local authorities following."

For more information on the new rubbish and recycling services visit rotorualakescouncil.nz/rubbish or contact a customer adviser on 0800 020 001.