Recycling in Wellington

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recycling

Recycling in Wellington

Have you ever wondered what actually can go in your recycling bin? The answer may slightly be different depending on which district of Wellington you are living in. But the answer generally should be the same.

Can batteries and old light bulbs be recycled? Which plastics can we recycle? Did you know that the Southern Landfill can accept some of the hazardous items free of charge?

You have just tidied your home and have some items that are no longer useful to you but some people may appreciate them. It is good to give them a second life! But where can I recycle or donate them?

I will cover these topics below.

So what can I put in my recycling?

  • Aluminium and tin cans
  • Plastic bottles and containers numbered 1, 2 and 5
  • Flat cardboard and paper – envelopes, magazines, junk mail, egg cartons, and pizza boxes (you must remove pizza scraps and cheese residue)

What I can’t put in my recycling bin?

Basically, anything that isn’t in the list above cannot be recycled.

Some of the common things are

  • Plastics types 3, 4, 6 & 7 – Plastics types 3, 4, 6 & 7 are low-value plastics that are frequently contaminated and are harder to recycle and make new products. These plastics should be avoided, reused or put into the rubbish bin. Some of these include takeaway food packaging, biscuit and cracker trays, packaging for tomato ketchup & mustard, yoghurt container, sour cream & cottage cheese containers and sushi trays.
  • Bottle tops and anything smaller than 5 centimetres in diameter
  • Cartons – juice, milk and tetra paks (“So Good” & “Vitasoy” non-dairy milk and some juice use tetra paks)
  • Batteries – put single-use batteries (button and alkaline batteries) in your rubbish and save others for a hazardous waste collection day. However, this is not the most desirable way to dispose of our alkaline batteries as the hazardous substances they contain may leak out and into our environment. Fortunately, some places accept them for free or a fee. Please read on as I have written more information about this below.
  • Aluminium foil, sachets and food trays
  • Kitchen utensils made from plastic, metal and wood
  • Polystyrene – cups, containers and packaging
  • Soft plastics (see below for more information)
  • For a full list, see these pages for your district – Wellington, Hutt City

Can soft plastics be recycled?

Soft plastics include bread bags, frozen food bags, courier packs, bubble wrap, chip packets, ice-cream wrappers and plastic wrap/clingfilm. Can these be recycled? The short answer is ‘Yes’. But you cannot put them in your recycle bin to be collected on the kerbside. Here is a list of locations where you can drop off soft plastics to recycle them.

The Southern Landfill

The Southern Landfill is Wellington City’s only remaining landfill.

Did you know that they can accept some of your waste free of charge at the landfill?

Electrical waste
E-waste such as mobile phones, laptops, computers, tablets, video players, household electrical appliances such as microwaves and vacuum cleaners can be dropped off for free. – source

What if your e-waste such as mobile phones, laptops and computers hold private data you want to erase completely?
There are professional companies that can destroy the data securely and recycle them for you.
ITRecycla Wellington
Recycling for Charity

Domestic hazardous waste
Up to 20kg or 20L of domestic hazardous waste is accepted free of charge for safe disposal at the Southern Landfill.

Some of the hazardous items are (source)
– Domestic batteries, including lithium-ion, and used car acid batteries
– CFL power-saving lightbulbs and other fluorescent lamps
– Pesticides and other toxic compounds
– Paints, oils, chemicals, fuels, and solvents
– Smoke and heat alarms

Hazardous household waste must be separated out from other general rubbish. It may not be disposed of into the Transfer Station pit. At the Transfer Station, hazardous items should be put in the Hazardous Waste Storage Facility on the right side of the Transfer Station. – source

If dropping off at the Southern Landfill is not an option for you, Sustainability Trust also accepts unwanted electronic equipment for a fee. Please see their website.

* In order to protect our environment, we should never put paint, solvents or liquid waste into stormwater drains. The stormwater system flows without treatment into streams and the sea. These liquids poison marine and freshwater creatures, destroy habitats and disrupt ecosystems. Resene and Dulux can take your left-over paint for free so long as the paint is their product or they charge a small fee.

Useful information links

What about donations?

Tip Shop and Recycle Centre (The Southern Landfill)

When you arrive at the Landfill, please visit the Tip Shop & Recycle Centre first. You can donate goods in reasonable condition to the Tip Shop for resale. E-waste should be dropped off at the Tip Shop for reuse or recycling. Most e-waste is accepted for free, however, a charge applies for TVs and monitors. Good quality clothing and textiles can be donated to the Tip Shop or put into the clothing bins at the Recycle Centre (run by a private organisation). – source

Earth Link (Taita, Lower Hutt)

Earth Link in Taita accepts computer monitors, stereo equipment, computers, plugs, adapters, bicycles, scooters, motor scooters, furniture, art and glassware etc. These are not only items that they can accept. The full list of items that they accept can be found here. It is best to call them first to make sure that your items can be accepted. They may even be able to pick up items from your home or workplace. Earth Link also works with the Packaging Forum to collect soft plastics from places around Wellington, which then gets sorted, packed and baled for distribution to other companies to manufacture new products from the waste plastic. Awesome job!

Fortunately, there are many organisations that welcome donations. Please see the list of places where you can donate items here.


As our population grows, there will be more waste going to the landfills. We need to be mindful of how much waste we produce for our environment and future generations. Reduce, reuse and recycle.