All about residential kerbside recycling

at the gate by eightCouncil contractors Nelmac collect the following materials for kerbside recycling:

  • Glass bottles/ jars
  • Plastics 1 - 7
  • Metal cans and tins
  • Paper
  • Light cardboard and corrugated cardboard

Collection is alternated each week - glass only is collected one week, the rest of your recycling will be collected the following week.

Tips - for preparing your recyclables

  • Plastics should have visible symbols / numbers as shown below
  • You can put in card / cardboard as long as it fits comfortably in the recycling bin
  • Plastic shopping bags, food wrap and other plastic items without numbers aren't collected for recycling


What can you recycle and what happens to?

Plastics recycling
SymbolCommon usesRecycled into
Plastics recycling symbol 1 Soft drink and water bottles, salad
domes, biscuit trays, salad dressing and peanut butter containers
Pillow and sleeping bag filling, clothing, soft drink bottles carpet
Plastics recycling symbol 2 Crinkly shopping bags, freezer bags, milk bottles, ice cream containers, juice bottles, shampoo, chemical and detergent bottles Recycling bins, compost bins, buckets,detergent containers, posts, fencing, pipes
Plastics recycling symbol 3 Cosmetic containers, bottles, garden hose, shoe soles, cable sheathing, watch straps Flooring, film and sheets, cables, speed bumps, packaging, binders, mud flaps and mats
Plastics recycling symbol 4 Garbage bags, squeeze bottles Rubbish bin liners, pallet sheets
Plastics recycling symbol 5 Dip bottles and ice cream tubs, potato chip bags, straws, microwave dishes, kettles, lunch boxes, blue packing tape Pegs, bins, pipes, pallet sheets, oil funnels, car battery cases, trays
Plastics recycling symbol 6 CD cases, plastic cutlery, imitation ‘crystal glassware’, low cost brittle toys, video cases Coat hangers, coasters, whiteware components, stationery trays and accessories
Plastics recycling symbol 7 Water cooler bottles, packaging Car parts, concrete aggregate, plastic timber

What is NOT recyclable

Some items can't be recycled for a variety of reasons, either through the kerbside collection or the public drop-off bins.

  • Buckets, milk and bread crates, fish bins and other similar items
  • Oil and fuel containers or any other dangerous goods containers
  • Bulky car parts, outdoor furniture items, plumbing or agriculture pipe and fittings, electrical conduit and fittings
  • All polystyrene based items such as meat trays, disposable drink cups, takeaway food clamshell containers and packaging materials
  • Clear plastic film such as food wrap etc
  • Plastic with cloth material, rubber or metal attached

For health and safety reasons, plastic items containing or contaminated with liquids (other than rinse water), blood, juice, food, etc, will not be accepted for recycling.

When and where

Wash, squash and at the kerbside outside your property by 8.00am on the same day as the blue Nelmac bags are collected.

Recycling bins – use and replacement

To encourage recycling when the scheme first got underway, every household was given a recycling bin. It is the responsibility of the householder to care for their bin. Write your house number on the bin to avoid confusion with other bins. Replacement or additional bins may be purchased for $18.60 from Nelson City Council's customer service centre or Nelmac at 2 Bullen Street, Tahunanui.

Alternate week collection schedule

Glass only will be collected one week, and the rest of your recycling will be collected the next week.  Download the calendar and put it on your fridge or other prominent place. If glass is put out on the wrong week, a sticker will be placed on your Blue Bin to inform you of the mistake and the material will not be picked up.

Hard copies of the Nelson recyling calendar will be delivered to Nelson addresses during January, or you can download a copy here.

What needs to be put in bags within the blue bin

Only paper - this is to stop it blowing away,and getting wet. All other materials can be washed and squashed and placed in your bin. Please remember that the recyclables are sorted by real people, not machines. Contaminated items can cause health and safety problems and also have the potential to ruin an entire run of a particular item.

If there is too much recycling for one bin

Plastic bags containing clean recyclable materials separated into the categories will also be collected if placed on the kerbside. Replacement or extra bins can be purchased for $18.60 each from NELMAC at 2 Bullen Street, Tahunanui (off Parkers Road). Follow our handy guide to preparing your recyclables for pickup.

Commercial recyling

Find out more about commercial recyling

Recycling at events

Recycling at public events is easy and provides an opportunity to educate Nelson households on how to recycle. A great deal of help is available to event organisers, who can also find commercial benefits in being able to advertise that they recycle at their event. Find out more with our recycling guide for events.

Recycling on farms

For more information visit the Waste Education Services website and check out the Waste Service Providers.

Rubbish that can't be recycled

If you put out rubbish that can't be recycled, it will be left on the kerbside with a sticker explaining why it can't be accepted. Please make sure you retrieve and dispose of your unaccepted items. 

Nelson Recycling Centre Resale Shop

Clothing, toys, and re-useable individual items may be accepted for resale at the Nelson Recycling Centre shop on Pascoe Street.

Items that are unsuitable for resale may be rejected.

Telephone +64 3 548 5601.

Used engine oil

Non-commercial used engine oil can be dropped off at the Transfer Station at no charge, providing the oil has not been contaminated with other products. Please see the Transfer Station attendant.

Maximum container size 20 litres. Over-filled containers are not accepted.

Telephone +64 3 548 5760.

Safe disposal of energy-saving light bulbs, batteries and hazardous waste

Energy-saving light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent lamps because they contain a small amount of mercury. Mercury is toxic to human health and harmful to the environment (the small amount of mercury in one bulb is not a hazard to users).Learn how to dispose of energy-saving light bulbs and batteries properly and safely.

Other outlets

A great range of second hand dealers are listed in the Yellow Pages. They include outlets for appliances, musical instruments, furniture, garden tools, house parts and building supplies. The Nelson Mail under $100 free ads, and the Buy Sell Swap paper are other ways to recycle.

In Nelson there are also several collection bins run by charities that accept clothing, sheets, towels, books and toys.

The Sunday Market runs from 8am - 1pm in Montgomery Square and includes the sale of secondhand clothing, music, books and appliances.

Garage sales are advertised in local papers and with roadside signs.

Waste reduction in schools and businesses

Waste Education Services is contracted by Council to advise schools and businesses on how to minimise waste. Visit their website for a comprehensive list of options for recycling waste or go here for information on Council waste education activities.

Recycling of e-waste

Unfortunately there is no current e-waste recycling option available. E-waste can be disposed of at the Nelson Transfer Station as per other general rubbish.