Three more district councils in the Waikato have cut back on which plastics they collect for recycling with the international demand for higher grades of plastics now non-existent.

Hauraki District Council, and Thames-Coromandel District Council have been forced to send certain forms of plastics to landfill, along with neighbouring council Matamata-Piako District council.

All three use the same recycling service. They join other councils across the country, including Waipā District Council in cutting back on plastic recycling as New Zealand grapples with the collapse of the overseas market for certain plastics.

Clean plastic grades 1 and 2 are able to be recycled in New Zealand and repurposed, which means less plastic is going back into the environment.


Historically there was an overseas demand for plastic grades 3-7. That demand collapsed after China, which bought 50 per cent of the world's recycling, stopped accepting the quantity of material they used to.

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Many New Zealand sorting centres have been stockpiling grades 3-7 over the last few months in the hope that the market would re-open , but this has yet to eventuate.

The New Zealand Government's Provincial Growth Fund, is reported to be looking at funding investment to build the infrastructure to recycle and reprocess plastics onshore.

Hamilton City Council has yet to confirm if it will continue with its goal of collecting plastics 3-7 when it launches its new kerbside rubbish and recycling collection service on August 31.

The new service will see households using four bins to separate their rubbish and recycling, with the HCC planning to collect plastics 1-7.

Hamilton City Council's new material recovery facility in Te Rapa. Photo / Supplied
Hamilton City Council's new material recovery facility in Te Rapa. Photo / Supplied

The HCC Fight the Landfill website says that "plastic types 3, 4, 6, 7 – and type 5 under one litre in volume" – will be sorted at the city's new material recovery facility in Te Rapa.
It says "the council is working on a long-term local solution for recycling these 'low value' items."

Hamilton City Council will also start collecting food scraps to be composted at the Envirowaste Hampton Downs Landfill when the new service begins.

The city waters manager Maire Porter said the council was ahead of schedule on rolling out the new bins across Hamilton, having already delivered to a number of the northern suburbs, including Burbush, Harrowfield, Northgate, Te Rapa Park, Rototuna North, Queenwood and Pukete.


"Our bin delivery contractors are now more than 38 per cent through, with fewer than 40,000 homes to go. It's a huge logistical challenge, but our teams are more than up to it," says Ms Porter.

"The team has delivered more than 63,000 bins to 21,000 homes – that's an average of 1000 homes or 3000 bins a day. There are approximately 180,000 bins to be delivered in total."