Plastic bottles squished for recycling

Recycling numbers 1&2- what do they mean?

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Changes to Hutt City Council’s recycling mean you can only recycle plastics 1 & 2 at kerbside collection. But what do these recycling numbers mean, and why are these plastics best for recycling?

Plastic type 1- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

PET is one of the easiest plastics to recycle. Drink bottles, food jars and trays are made from this clear form of plastic.

Lower Hutt is the location of Aotearoa’s first PET recycling plant, which was opened in 2017. Recycled PET is used to make packaging, polyester fibres for clothing manufacturing and carpets.

Plastic type 2- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is harder and stronger than PET, and often includes milk bottles, cleaning product bottles, ice-cream containers and cosmetic packaging. This kind of plastic can be recycled in Aotearoa and is used to make rubbish bins, garden edging and outdoor furniture.

Plastics 3-7 are not as easily recyclable here, and some release dangerous chemicals if melted for recycling. Find more in-depth information about these plastics here.

Recycling reduces our impact on the environment, so check packaging when you’re at the supermarket to ensure plastics you buy are labelled with either 1 or 2. And remember to rinse your plastic containers before recycling so they’re ready for collection.

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