To make it easier for the public to recycle effectively, in October 2015 councils around New Zealand, the Packaging Forum (who initiate public place recycling schemes); and key industry partners agreed to use standard colours for bin lids to indicate which bin is for rubbish, which is for paper recycling, food waste recycling etc. Using standard colours for recycling at home, at work and in public places, helps minimise confusion for the public, increase recycling, and reduce contamination. Standard colours were agreed for rubbish, commingled recycling, food and garden waste, glass, plastics and paper. The colours can be viewed here.

As a result the previous New Zealand Recycling Symbols (commonly referred to as the RONZ symbols) became out of date. In addition a number of other waste streams which are more frequently collected via transfer stations and resource recovery centres such as e-waste and textiles also required standardised colours.

A second working group was formed to:

  • Agree on colours for all other current and future waste streams
  • Develop new symbols for waste streams as required
  • Refresh and update the wording, symbols and font of the New Zealand Recycling Symbols where required
  • Update/establish and communicate the process for how future symbols would be developed

A consultation was conducted in September 2016 to seek feedback on the colours  proposed by the technical working group for the remaining waste streams and to also agree best practise for the wording on the symbols.

An overview of the recommendations and rationale can be viewed here.

The agreed changes to the New Zealand Recycling Symbols can be viewed here.