Hamilton City Council is taking steps to make the city environmental friendly as a new waste plan will come into action as part of the new 10-year plan.

The 2018-2028 10-year plan includes a proposal to expand the recycling collection in Hamilton to include plastics 3 to 7 from 1 July 2020.

It will align with introduction of three new wheelie bins being rolled out to each Hamilton home.

The three bins include a rubbish bin and a recycling bin, which will be collected fortnightly, and a food waste bin which will be emptied weekly.

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The council has tasked the chair of its Waste Taskforce, Councillor Mark Bunting, to write to the Minister for the Environment asking central government how it is planning to manage plastic waste in New Zealand.

The letter will express the council's support for onshore processing of plastic.
The move is in response to a community-led petition in December 2017 asking that the council introduces the collection of recyclable plastics 3 to 7. Hamilton City Council currently only collects plastics 1 and 2.

Plastics 3 to 7 include water bottles, plastic bags, yoghurt containers and plastic lunch box containers.

The concern around the collection of plastics 3 to 7 is the disruption in the major recyclable markets caused by China's "green sword" policy.

The policy is a ban on the import of 24 types of solid waste. For some plastics, this means that anything with more than 0.5 per cent contamination cannot be imported.

Before this policy was introduced, much of the world's recyclable material was being sent to China.

China introduced the policy in response to the increasing volumes of contaminated material entering the country and to concentrate on creating strong and reliable onshore recycling collection and processing.

Councillor James Casson asked about Hamilton's current plastic situation.

"Plastics 1 and 2 are not stored on our site. It gets taken over to Tauranga which is where it gets put together and sent overseas," waste minimisation advisor Charlotte Catmur said.

Councillor Casson also asked about the 400 tonnes of plastic Waikato District Council has stored andcan't get rid of, and Thames, which has 2000 tonnes of plastic stored.

"The majority of these stockpiles are 3 to 7 plastics rather than plastics as a whole, and 1s and 2s separated through collection have still got fairly buoyant market to go into."