Refuse & Recycling

2024 changes to kerbside collections

In March 2023, the Government announced that for the very first time there would be a consistent recycling service across the country. That means New Zealand now has the same recycling rules all the way from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Having standard recycling rules aims to make it easier for people to use  kerbside services and get recycling right. It will also increase the quality of the materials collected, by reducing the amount that is contaminated.

The good news is that Ōtorohanga was already mostly aligned with the new recycling list.

Here’s a snapshot of what we can no longer accept from 1st February 2024:

Aluminium foil or trays:

These are likely to be contaminated with food, and are a low value material to metal recyclers.

Aerosols (like fly spray or spray deodorant):

Due to their low value to metal recyclers and the potential danger to our staff (they could get popped in the collection process!).

Large plastics or metal cans:

Anything over 4 litres, like large water dispensers, or large olive oil tins, can’t be recycled kerbside. Contact the supplier to see if they accept these back in-store.


Due to their small size, they fall through the sort line machinery and are unlikely to make it to their end destination of being made into a new item.

Some lids are made of mixed materials – like a metal outer and plastic liner - and sometimes the lid is a different type of plastic to the bottle or container. It is expected that this new rule will also reduce liquids like curdled milk ending up along the sort line, which is manned by our local team.

We are hoping there will be some industry-led community collections for these small items in the near future.

Small plastics or papers:

These are just too small to be sorted and baled. For containers, please don’t put anything smaller than a hummus pottle in your yellow wheelie bin (three-dimensional items smaller than 50mm at their widest point are not accepted), and when it comes to paper – nothing smaller than a Post-It note (two-dimensional items smaller than 100mm by 140mm are too small to be sorted and recycled).

Nothing else has changed for us in Ōtorohanga with our recycling - it’s still the same day, same time, same bins, same frequency.

Most of us are brilliant recyclers, so we hope you help us out by keeping lids, aerosols, tin foil and baking trays out of your kerbside recycling from 1st February 2024.

Kerbside Solid Waste Services

A weekly 'kerbside' collection system for recyclable materials and refuse in official bags is provided in the Otorohanga, Kawhia, and Aotea communities.

Refuse will only be collected if it is presented in official refuse bags, which can be purchased from local stores.  There is a 15kg maximum weight limit for rubbish put in these bags.

The price of these bags includes the costs associated with the collection, transport, and disposal of the waste placed in these bags.

Collections Days

  • Ōtorohanga: Wednesday
  • Kāwhia and Aotea: Monday

Any materials intended for collection should be placed on the kerbside by 8.00am on that day.

When a public holiday falls on a collection day, the collection will generally be carried out on the day after the normal, scheduled day.

Kerbside Recycling Collection Rules

The following recyclable materials will be collected:

  • Aluminium and steel can (washed)
  • Glass bottles and jars (washed)
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Type 1, 2 and 5 plastics - items must be squashed and have their lids removed. Examples of items you can recycle are listed below -
    • Plastic bottles, trays and containers numbered 1, 2 and 5 only 

    • Food and drink tins and cans 

    • Paper and cardboard 

    • Glass bottles and jars 

All materials for recycling should be placed in the official plastic recycling containers available for purchase from the Ōtorohanga Recycling Centre.  

Attended Recycling Centres

Attended recycling centres are operated in:

  • Ōtorohanga - 40 Progress Drive
  • Kāwhia - Lake Road

Recyclables can be dropped off, free of charge.

Green (plant) waste (excluding noxious weeds or unmanageable material, such as flax) is also accepted on a charged basis at both centres.

The Ōtorohanga and Kāwhia Recycling Centres also accept refuse on a charged basis.

For more information on charged services at the recycling centres, please visit this page: Refuse and Recycling - Fees and Charges.

Attended Recycling Centres - Open Times

Wednesday: 12.00pm to 3.00pm
Saturday: 12.00pm to 3.00pm
Sunday: 12.00pm to 3.00pm
Statutory Holidays (if the holiday falls on any of the above days), except for Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day: 12.00pm to 3.00pm

Friday to Wednesday: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Thursday: Closed
Statutory Holidays (if the holiday falls on any of the above days), except for Christmas Day, Good Friday and  Anzac Day: 10.00am to 4.00pm

Unattended Rural Recycling Centres

Council has recycling services available to rural areas of the District through the establishment of unattended rural recycling centres at some rural schools.

Currently, there are facilities at:

  • Ngutunui School
  • Arohena School
  • Maihiihi School
  • Korakonui School

These are small recycling-only facilities for the benefit of the community. They rely on community support for their care and management.

These facilities accept the same range of materials as that taken by the urban kerbside service.

Other Refuse and Waste Management Services

A landfill in Te Kuiti is available for larger quantities of refuse.

Local contractors also provide private refuse and recycling services.

If you must dispose of a large quantity of refuse, these services are likely to be more cost-effective than the services provided by Council.

Council's Waste Minimisation Philosophy

Council provides services for residents to dispose of, recycle or reuse discarded materials from households or small commercial activities.

Council has encompassed a philosophy of reducing the amount of waste going to Landfills for disposal through encouraging residents to:

  • Reduce - Limit the amount of waste generated
  • Reuse - Use items more than once wherever possible.
  • Recycle - Enable materials in waste to be used to create new items.
  • Recover - Extract value from waste; for example by the production of compost.

To encourage residents to minimise their production of waste, Council's waste disposal (refuse) services operate on a 'user pays' basis, where the greater the quantity of refuse you produce, the more you will pay to dispose of it.

Other alternative options for discarded materials (such as recycling) are, however, offered free of charge.

Check out our Waste Management & Minimisation Plan for more information.