Rubbish Sorting, Tips & Tricks

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sorting rubbish v2
Mar, 2021

Rubbish Sorting, Tips & Tricks

Have you ever been unsure which bin to put your rubbish in?  You're not alone.  Keeping up with rubbish sorting guidelines can be challenging, especially since rules vary depending on where you live.  The first step is to understand what recycling means.  It's pretty simple, recycling is the action or process of converting waste into reusable material.  Recycling diverts waste from landfills, conserves resources, saves energy, feeds a green economy, and contributes to healthier communities.  It's one of the best ways we can make a positive impact on the environment.

Plastic Recycling Facts


  • It can take one plastic bottle 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill.
  • 100,000 marine animals are killed each year as a result of plastic bag pollution.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.

Waste disposal rules are different everywhere, but some of the most common sorting categories are plastic, glass, paper, metal, organics, e-waste, and rubbish.  If you're not sure how your community sorts waste, it's best to check with your local City Council or someone in your neighbourhood.  

Paper Recycling Facts
  • 15.3 billion trees are chopped down every year worldwide.
  • 21 trees can be saved for every tonne of recycled paper.
  • Cardboard boxes can contain up to 100% recycled fibres.

Once you know which categories to use, it's time to start sorting.  Creating a recycling station in your home or workplace with appropriate bins will help the practice become part of your daily routine.  Labelling the cans will help give you and others a visual reminder while disposing of waste.

Metal Recycling Facts

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  • It takes the same amount of energy to make one new can as 20 recycled cans.
  • Aluminium is a durable and sustainable metal, 2/3's of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today.
  • A used aluminium can be recycled and back on the shelf in as little as 60 days.

When recycling it's important to avoid contamination.  Contamination occurs when non-recyclable material or garbage ends up in the recycling system.  This can be as simple as leftover peanut butter in a jar, or yoghurt stuck to the bottom of the container.  This issue costs New Zealanders millions of dollars each year, but there's good news - you can help!  Emptying and rinsing recyclables before throwing them away can drastically help minimise the effects of contamination.

Remember:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Reduce paper waste by using both sides of the paper
  • Reuse canvas, paper, and plastic bags
  • Choose recycled products
Three easy things you can do right now...

Sometimes just the thought of implementing a recycling programme is so overwhelming and confusing that it's easier to do nothing.  But we are here to tell you it really isn't that hard - all it takes is making the commitment to start.  Here's how:

  • Invest in two to three new rubbish bins.
  • Set up a sorting station in your home or workplace.  Don't overthink it.  Start small with a bin for plastic, paper, and organics.
  • Label your bins using printable labels.

Before long you'll be a recycling pro, and you'll be happy to see how much of your waste can be diverted from the landfill.

Already a recycling expert?

Share this with your friends and family to help them become better recycling sorters.