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Rubbish & Recycling Rubbish & Recycling

Kerbside recycling collection

Let’s be the best at this! There is no point in recycling if we do not do it right. It must be clean and not mixed with non-recyclables or rubbish. On this page you can find out how to do it right – important environmentally and financially.

Plastics5 WebpageNumber 5 plastic recycling is here

From March 1, 2022 Hastings residents can include number 5 plastics in their kerbside recycling collection, as well as at the rural and transfer station recycling centres.

Number 5 plastic products are made from polypropylene and include common items such as ice cream containers, large yogurt tubs, clear takeaway containers and dip pottles.

So get checking those triangles to see which ones you have at home.

Find out more about number 5 plastics recycling here

Find out if your property is within the kerbside collection zone and what day your collection is here.

Kerbside recycling truckA Solid Waste Survey in 2019 showed that more than 60 per cent of what is going into our rubbish bins and then into the landfill could have been composted or recycled, which is why we want you to Make Landfill Your Last Choice.

Last year we collected almost 3484 tonnes of recyclable material from the kerbside (glass: 1976; paper/cardboard: 930; plastic/cans: 578) – with almost all of it recycled here in New Zealand.

You can recycle:

  • Glass 
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Plastics (1, 2 & 5) and cans

Recycling in 4 easy steps

1. Wash, remove lids and flatten cardboard

Wash out jars, bottles and cans; remember no food or liquids.

Wash remove flatten

2. Any Council crate; Just separate

Each household within the Hastings kerbside recycling zone has three crates for recycling. Recycling will only be collected in Council-issued crates. You can put out multiple crates with the same items (for example two crates of paper), but don’t mix the different categories in the same crate.

Separate items into the following categories:

Three crates

3. Stop before the top

Don’t overfill your recycling crates.

Recycling outside of the crates will not be collected, for example large cardboard boxes.

If you have excess recycling, you can save it and put it out another week or take it to one of our free recycling drop off centres

Overfill crates

If it’s windy, pop your heavier crate (bottles) on top of your crate of plastics or paper and cardboard, so it does not blow onto the street.

7am clock

4. Kerbside by 7am

Place your recycling out at the kerbside by 7AM ON YOUR COLLECTION DAY. Place crates as close to the kerb edge as possible; not in the middle of the footpath.


Reycling 2

What you can (and can’t!) put in your crates

Paper and cardboard

Clean and flattened

Clean and flattened paper and cardboard. Large cartons can be dropped at our recycling depots or you can cut them down to fit in your crate.

Yes please! No thank you!
Junk mail
Egg cartons
Empty pizza boxes (remove all food)
Household packaging
Milk and juice cartons
Takeaway coffee cups
Packaging with food waste
Paper with glitter
Pet food and potato sacks

TOP TIP: If you have large cartons to recycle, you can drop them off for free at your local recycling depot, or cut them down to fit in your crate.

Plastics5 YesNoPlastic and cans

Wash, squash, lids off.

Number 1, 2 & 5 household plastics.

Yes please No thank you
Kitchen, bathroom and laundry plastics
Tin cans
Aluminium cans
Plastics number 3, 4, 6 & 7
Hard plastic
Soft plastic (e.g. bags)
Paint tubs
Buckets and plant pots
Chip packets and lolly wrappers

TOP TIP: Environment Centre Hawke's Bay can also take milk bottle tops, metal jar lids, aluminium screw caps, metal bottle tops, coffee capsules, plastic bottle tops, oral care products, aluminium foil and trays, batteries, bread tags and glad brand food wrap, ziplock bags and food storage containers.


Empty, clean glass of all colours.

The recycling teams will not empty bins that weigh more than 10kgs.

Yes please No thank you
Glass soft drink bottles
Wine, beer and spirit bottles
Broken glass
Window and mirror glass
Drinking glasses
Glass cookware
China and crockery
Light bulbs
Perfume bottles

TOP TIP: Metal jar lids, metal bottle tops, aluminium screw caps and fluorescent light bulbs and tubes can be recycled at Environment Centre Hawke's Bay. 

Sometimes eager recyclers may want to recycle things we don’t collect through our kerbside collection. But there are really good reasons not to do that.

Your recycling may get left behind if the wrong things are in your crate. We know this is frustrating when you were trying to do the right thing. The ultimate aim is to be able to make new products – and mixing them or including the wrong items means this does not happen.

  1. It costs time and money
    The average recycling service crew member will collect 500 to 750 crates each day, taking an average 12 seconds to collect and empty each crate. Having to stop and sticker incorrect crates doubles this time and creates additional operating costs – paid for out of rates.
  2. It reduces the quality of recycling
    If it’s not spotted by our crew in the short time they have to look at each crate, mixed or dirty recycling becomes a problem at the sorting facility. All recycling is sorted by hand to remove items that shouldn’t be there (such as the wrong types of plastic or items with food on them) but with hundreds of items passing sorters each minute they may miss some items.
    The sorted products are bailed for transport to re-processors to be turned into something new. If the levels of wrong or dirty items are too high the entire bale may be rejected and sent to landfill instead, meaning everybody’s good efforts have gone to waste.
  3. It may cause safety issues or damage the recycling machinery
    Having the wrong items in a sorting line can also cause issues if it’s going through a system not designed to process it. It may jam or damage the machinery and create a hazard for workers.
  4. Only accepted items go on to be recycled
    The facilities that take our recycling only have the ability to recycle the items we accept at the kerbside – that’s why they have been selected for recycling. Rejected items from the sorting line will go to landfill.


Plastic and cans

Plastics stamped with a 1, 2 or 5 are sorted from the cans in a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), in Kopu (near Thames) or Masterton.

Paper and cardboard

Our paper and cardboard goes straight from kerbside to local company Hawk Packaging who turn it into fruit trays.

Paper what happensGlass

Our glass goes to Visy Auckland.

Glass what happens

Using crates to separate items ensures we have the cleanest recycling possible. The high quality of material collected guarantees it will be recycled.

In Hastings, separating recycling allows paper and cardboard to be collected separately and dropped directly to Hawk Packaging to be made into fruit trays, saving on double-handling and transport costs and emissions. it is especially important to keep glass separate from paper and cardboard, as there can’t be any fragments of glass in it for health and safety reasons.

While wheelie bins are simple to use, the quality of recycling that comes out of the mixed recycling wheelie bins has proved to be much lower in the regions using them. Typically, wheelie bin systems also mean all recycling is mixed in together and requires sorting, which costs much more.

FAQs on number 5 plastics

Council will start accepting number 5 plastics in kerbside and drop off recycling services from 1 March 2022.

Council stopped collecting this type of plastic, along with numbers 3, 4 6 and 7, in 2019 due to China’s decision to restrict accepting plastics and the dramatic impact that had on world recycling markets, alongside an increased focus on finding ways to recycle onshore. 

Since that time, Council has been working closely with its recycling contractor Smart Environmental to find a way to sustainably recycle these products within New Zealand. In December 2021, Smart Environmental merged with Earthcare Ltd in Masterton, which has facilities that enable the plastics to be sorted into the correct different types by optical lasers, ensuring that the processed plastics are of a high quality that can be recycled by New Zealand re-processors.

Number 5 containers can go in the same crate with your number 1 & 2 plastics and cans. You can put out multiple crates of the same items (for example two crates of paper), but don’t mix the different categories in the same crate. Any crate, just separate rule.

No. The same rule applies wash, squash, lids off.

We can’t accept lids, even numbers 1, 2 or 5. Because they’re generally flat or small, the sorting machine has difficulty detecting them and they can end up in the wrong recycling stream or can fall out of recycling bales.

Lids go in the rubbish or you can recycle them at the Hawke’s Bay Environment Centre via their specialist recycling programme.

No. There will be no additional costs or increase in rates with this change.

We don’t anticipate number 5s taking up a huge amount of space in your plastics crate, however if they do you can take them to your local recycling depot – who are also now accepting 5s.

Don’t forget that our crates are interchangeable. You can put out multiple crates with the same items (for example two crates of plastics and cans), but don’t mix the different categories.

Your number 5s will go to our contractor’s facilities in Masterton, here the plastics to be sorted into the correct different grade by optical lasers, ensuring that the processed plastics are of a high quality that can be recycled by New Zealand re-processors.

We can't recycle plastic with the numbers 3, 4, 6 or 7. Please put items with these numbers in your rubbish bag.

We’ll always be on the lookout for new recycling options, but don’t predict being able to collect any of these numbers in the near future. The best thing to do is to try and reduce the purchasing of plastics all together.

No. Our recycling stations will be taking number 5s too. Find your nearest recycling station here.

The easiest way to check if an item is recyclable or not is to look for the numbered triangle. Look for numbers on the bottom of plastics.

HDC Plastics5 LookforNumber

Using crates ensures that we have the cleanest recycling possible and guarantees that it will be recycled. Our collectors can easily spot items that shouldn’t be there, still have food inside or are too dirty.

In Hastings, it is especially important to keep our glass separate from paper and cardboard. This paper and cardboard is sent locally to Hawk Packaging where it gets made into fruit trays. Fragments of glass would be a health and safety hazard.

The math adds up. A weekly collection of three 45 litre crates equates to 270 litres of recycling collected every fortnight. A standard sized wheelie bin used for fortnightly recycling collections is only 240 litres – so this way you actually get more space.

Unfortunately we don’t accept pot plant containers in our recycling services for a few reasons: They’re often contaminated with dirt; they can carry disease – leading to more contamination; and they’re usually dark plastics – which can’t be picked up by recycling facility machines and cause problems in the sorting process.

The good news is that some places do. Mitre 10 accept clean plant and seedling pots and labels made of plastic ID 5. You can read more about their Pot Recycle Service here.

If you have a question that has not been answered, you can contact us on or 06 871 5000.

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