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Aug—18

How clean does recycling need to be?

More than any other factor, avoiding contamination is key to successful recycling. Contamination refers to excess food waste on your recyclables, but it can also refer to the incorrect materials being put in incorrect waste streams.

We spoke to Jeremy from Oji Fibre, whose operation Fullcircle is New Zealand’s only paper recycling service which is able to manufacture paperboard and packaging products for the local packaging industry.

We don’t accept any products that are contaminated with food. Generally when we do the recycling, if it’s plastic or cardboard, once it's sorted there’s different grades - for example 95% or 85%. We tend to operate at 85% at our plant in Wellington.

The enemy of Oji Fibre’s Full Circle plant is glass. That’s why you’ll notice in Wellington that cardboard is collected separately – this is because glass can damage the rollers when paper and cardboard are recycled back into cardboard.

If recyclables are overly contaminated, they’ll be removed from the sorting process and sent to landfill and can’t be recycled.

Remember then to lightly rinse your recyclables and place them in the right bin. This way your recycling can successfully embark on its circular journey.