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Rubbish and recycling FAQs

The global markets that process low grade mixed plastics changed in August 2020. In response, New Zealand’s recycling centres have had to adapt and are now only accepting grades 1 (Polyethylene Terephthalate), 2, (High-Density Polyethylene) and 5 (Polypropylene). So only grades 1, 2 and 5 can go into our recycling bins. This change has affected councils and communities all across the country, including Mid Canterbury. If you have placed a wrong item in your bin, which happens to have been audited, your bin will have a tag attached outlining why it was not collected. Unfortunately all plastic lids, regardless of their recycling numbers cannot be recycled.

There could be several reasons why your bin/crate hasn’t been collected. These include not having them at the kerb on time (by 7.30am); placing the wrong items in your bins/crate; having a bin that is overfull; or placing the bins/ crate too close together or behind an obstruction like a parked car or power pole.

If wrong items are placed into the recycling bins and make their way into the truck, these items can contaminate the entire load of recycling. This then means the load must go to landfill, this is an extra cost to all ratepayers. Council has a team of bin auditors who monitor bins at the kerbside prior to collection If bins contain non-recyclable material, the bin may be tagged (outlining what material should not have been in the bin) and not collected that day. Our audit team are happy to provide further information on what you can and cannot recycle. Repeat offenders may have their bins removed completely.

The 80 litre red rubbish bins are designed to encourage residents to correctly recycle as much as possible, rather than putting it in the rubbish. First have a look at the things your household is ordinarily putting into the rubbish bin. Can any of these items actually go in recycling? It may also be worth checking out the useful tips ‘ways to reduce your waste’ on page 18. If your rubbish bin is still not meeting your needs, the Council offers additional wheelie bins. These additional bins are charged to the user rather than through rates, so a tenant can pay for them rather than having to go through their landlord. Please note that these bins do not replace the bins and crate already provided through rates - they are an extra service. The additional wheelie bins are available in three sizes; 80 litre, 120 litre and 240 litre. Visit or call the Council on 03 307 7700 to enquire about the prices for each.

The Council offers additional 240 litre yellow recycling bins. These are charged to the user, rather than through your rates. They are an additional service to the bins and crate already provided. Visit or call the Council on 03 307 7700 to enquire about the price of these bins.

No. Your bins and crate will be collected no matter how full they are. However, they cannot be overfull - lids must be closed flat for the bins to be collected.

The ‘wind strap’ attached to your bins enables you to securely close the lid to prevent any spillage should your bin be blown, or knocked over. These straps should be used every time your bins are placed at the kerbside.

ADC branded black rubbish bags can be purchased from the Resource Recovery Parks and Council office. These can then be dropped off for free at the Ashburton and Rakaia Resource Recovery Parks, but you don’t need them for your red rubbish bin to be picked up.

You must ensure that your bins are packed in a way that allows all items to fall out freely when the truck is emptying your bin: - Placing newspaper in the bottom of your bin helps stop items sticking.

  • Do not place cardboard flat in your bin and push down as this can stop all items underneath the cardboard from falling out of the bin.
  • A tied up black bag acts like a balloon in your bin and often will not fall out.
  • Do not pack too much stuff into your bin!

There are a few reasons that a bin may be tagged but it will explain the reasons on the tag. The main reasons would be incorrect materials in the bin, the bin is overfull, or incorrect presentation e.g. behind or too close to an object.

The two Resource Recovery Parks can be found at: Ashburton, 25 Range Street and Rakaia, the corner of West Town Belt and Rakaia Terrace. Further details are available at

No. Items such as these will not be collected from your kerbside. If you have usable household goods or furniture in good condition, you are welcome to drop them off at the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park Reuse Shop. Alternatively, there are several local charities who would appreciate your donations. Electronics are not designed to break down in landfill, and they contain heavy metals - including lead, mercury and cadmium - that can be harmful to the environment. If electronic appliances no longer work, consider getting them repaired or sell them to a second-hand agent who can repair and on-sell them. Some manufacturers also have a take-back scheme, so it’s worth checking with them.

Hazardous waste must not be put out with household rubbish. The best place to dispose of your hazardous waste is at your nearest Resource Recovery Park. You can also manage your hazardous waste by reducing its use wherever possible.

  • Use household items as a replacement for harsh chemicals. Baking soda and vinegar, for example make great cleaning products around the home.
  • Reduce waste by only buying as much as you need.
  • Buy environmentally-friendly products - look for the New Zealand Environmental Choice logo.
  • If you’re shifting house, dispose of any hazardous materials safely at your nearest drop-off point. Don’t leave it for the new owner.

No. Wheelie bins are allocated to each property using a unique ID. They must stay at the correct property for new owners and tenants to use. If your new property is in the kerbside collection area, it will have its own bins and crate. If it doesn’t, contact the Council.