Agreed colours for bins, bilingual signage, event signage and recycling bin suppliers
In October 2015 WasteMINZ, the Glass Packaging Forum and councils around New Zealand agreed on a standardised set of colours for mobile recycling, rubbish and organic materials bins, crates and internal office bins. In 2016 the New Zealand Recycling Symbols (formerly known as the RONZ symbols) were updated to match the colours for mobile recycling and rubbish bins. Companies wishing to implement nationwide recycling schemes are strongly encouraged to use these colours both for their bins and also on their signage. This will ensure that the colours used are consistent with both public place recycling and household recycling.
The agreed standardised colours for mobile recycling and rubbish bins, crates and internal office bins can be found here.
Para Kore and WasteMINZ conducted a nationwide consultation in September 2017 to determine the most suitable translations into te reo Māori for public place recycling and rubbish signage. Speakers of te reo Māori from local iwi, community groups, council staff, universities and government departments were invited to take part in the consultation. Please find below the agreed upon translations. In some cases appropriate alternatives are listed. The majority of these alternatives have a slight variation in meaning rather than being a regional or tribal dialect. E.g. in English the words compost, organic and food scraps have all been used in the past to indicate a bin which food waste goes into however, the agreed upon word in English is now food scraps. This is the case, for example, with the translations for blocks and rubble, poro raima, kongakonga and poraka raima, turakanga.
Where regional variations in usage are possible this has been noted and organisations intending to create signage using those words are encouraged to consult more widely with their local iwi to determine which word would be most suitable. E.g. in English both rubbish and garbage have the same meaning but one is British English and the other American. For example regional variations for the word clothes include but aren't limited to kākahu, pūeru, pūweru, weru, weweru, kaka.
Bags & Wrap
Blocks & Rubble
Poro Raima, Kongakonga
Poraka Raima, Turakanga
Bottles & Jars
Pātara, Ipu Karaehe
Clothes & Rags
(note regional variations are possible consult locally)
Fonterra Milk Bottles
Pātara Miraka nā Fonterra
Food & Drink
Food & Garden
(note regional variations are possible - consult locally)
Food Scraps & Compostable Packaging
Para Kai, Tākai Pōpopo
Hakarua is Ngāi Tahu dialect for Hangarua.
Tarapu ( loan word)
Towels & Napkins
Effective signage helps to minimise contamination in recycling bins and decreases missed capture (recyclables ending up in the rubbish bin). A guidance document “Zero Waste events guidance” has been created showing examples of effective signage for events and outlining considerations to consider when developing signage. This factsheet can be downloaded here.
A list providing details of New Zealand suppliers of indoor and outdoor recycling bins and accessories can be found here. The document is focused on the needs of commercial operations but could be applicable to households and schools. Inclusion in this document does not confer any preference or recommendation, suppliers are listed alphabetically and was last updated in 2021. Please let us know if you know of any changes that need to be made to this list.