Recycling - it's time to get to know your 1s, 2s and 5s.

by Georgia Merton - Jul 29, 2019

Wanaka Wastebusters is reducing the range of plastic containers and bottles it accepts for recycling to 1’s, 2’s and 5’s, because these are the only ones that can actually be processed on-shore.

Plastic containers and bottles with 3s, 4s, 6s and 7s received by Wastebusters will be landfilled. There’s a take home message here: before you buy, check the number - 1s, 2s and 5s are the lesser of the plastic evils. According to Wastebuster’s Communications Advisor, Gina Dempster, 1s and 2s are generally have the best recycling outcomes for plastic containers and are the highest in value.

According to Wastebusters Recycling Manager Bis Bisson, recycling globally is still a relatively new industry, and off-shore recycling supply chains are not transparent.

Screen Shot 2019 07 29 at 8.33.34 PM

These are the magic recycling symbols for 1, 2 and 5 - get to know them and check before you buy.

“Since China stopped taking plastics for recycling under National Sword,Wastebusters hasn’t had anywhere globally to send mixed bales of 3-7’s for recycling. Plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7 make up a small fraction of the recycling we collect, and with no way to reprocess them we’ve made the decision to stop collecting them.”

“Stories are circulating about plastic recycling being dumped and burned offshore, or sent back due to contamination. More of our customers are asking where their recycling is ending up, which we think is a really positive thing.”

“We need more transparency in the recycling industry, and Wastebusters wants to be part of the shift to a more honest and open recycling chain. Without a functioning and transparent recycling system, the circular economy will remain just a dream.”

“Our customers can be confident that nearly all the 1, 2 and 5 plastic containers and bottles that go through Wastebusters will be recycled onshore by reprocessors who meet New Zealand’s environmental and labour standards,” Bisson says.

Wastebusters asks their customers to keep rinsing bottles and containers to ensure there is no food stuck to them, and to take all the lids off before recycling.

Main Image: Wastebusters' Bis Bisson with some of the common 1s, 2s and 5s


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