Hikurangi will be turning blue from the end of this month, but residents are likely to be happy about the new colour scheme - it signifies new blue recycling bins being trialled in the Whangārei township.

Late this month, bright blue plastic bins will be appearing outside 500 homes in the township, ready to test the Whangārei District Council's next step towards better care of the environment through good waste management.

The council's solid waste engineer, David Lindsay, said the size of Hikurangi made it an ideal choice to trial the new blue bins dedicated to recycling glass bottles and jars.

Hikurangi is big enough to highlight any problems that could come up when the system is introduced district-wide at the end of the year, but small enough to use as an experiment.

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"The aim is to make our recycling system more effective and still keep it easy for people to use. We want to be very honest in all our efforts to protect the environment, using the systems we have in place to help people manage their waste," Lindsay said.

"That means being very clear about what we can and cannot send for recycling at the moment, making sure that what we do collect for recycling can be and is recycled, and making our recycling 'stream' as clean and efficient as it can be."

He said that last year other countries that had been taking material for recycling suddenly stopped because the system was not working.

"There are lots of reasons for that, but one was that the material being supplied to them wasn't fit to be recycled. Instead it was being stockpiled, or taken to landfill, and becoming a big problem for those countries,'' Lindsay said.

"Recycling machinery and systems require clean, high quality materials to ensure a good result that they can then on-sell. When recyclables are all jumbled up, or are contaminated, it is too difficult and expensive for recyclers to separate for processing. Recyclers can then refuse to take material and it can wind up being dumped.

"As a result, we do the sorting on the streets as we collect the recycling. That way we know we are sending a good product that recycling companies will use. Introducing the blue bins is an opportunity to get this 'sorting is the key' message out to people, so we can send recyclers the right stuff, in the right condition, separated out properly.''

He said the new blue bins are for good quality, clean and whole glass bottles and jars that the council knows there is a market for.

"They will be collected by the same truck that collects the red bins, at the same time on the same collection day."

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The blue one will be solely for glass bottles and jars, clean, complete and any colour. The red one will continue to be used for type one and type two plastics and tins or aluminium cans.