Thursday, September 22, 2016

Rubbish and recycling in Auckland

I was recently browsing Auckland Council's excellent recycling page, and came across a few things that surprised me.
  1. They can't recycle most receipts.  Practically all the receipts we get are on heat-sensitive paper.  Turns out that they have a coating that makes them unsuitable for recycling.  Since I learned that, I've followed their advice and started putting them in the compost.
  2. They can't recycle really small things.  In the 'paper and cardboard' category, they note that they can only recycle jigsaw puzzle pieces if they're in an envelope.  Similarly, under 'plastic' they say that any bottle caps that go into the recycling need to be attached to their respective bottles, presumably for the same reason.  I don't find myself recycling jigsaw puzzle pieces very often, but I do frequently throw tiny paper offcuts from my card making into the recycling, and I throw unattached milk bottle lids into the recycling all the time.  No more!
  3. Baking paper can go in the compost.  I've tended to put this into either the recycling or the general rubbish somewhat at random.  But, under 'paper and cardboard', I not only learned that I really shouldn't be putting it into the recycling (coatings again), but that it happily breaks down in the compost.  Should I find un-decomposed baking paper in the compost when everything else has broken down in the coming months, I'll let you know!
Browsing the council website further, I learned something else.  Regular household batteries can go in the regular rubbish.  I had thought that they were hazardous waste, and had been saving them up for whenever we finally had enough to bother taking them to a collection.  It turns out that the council is confident their landfills are well-enough sealed that the heavy metals in the batteries will be safely contained - plus, they don't like people stockpiling them as we have done as that is a fire risk.  However, a quick check of the council's recycler directory revealed that there are three companies (handily all in our general area) who take them - and they all take rechargeables and button batteries, too :-)

So, if you have any questions about what you can recycle in Auckland (both through the council and through commercial companies) I highly recommend their well-designed and easy-to-use recycling page and recycler directory :-)

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