The green organics bin is collected weekly and the contents are recycled into compost. The Council aims to reduce contamination in the green bin so less waste is going to landfill.

Use the Wheelie Bins App to find out what goes in each bin and get reminders to take the bins out each week.

Green lid organics bin

What can go in the green organics bin

  • fruit and vegetables including pips and stones
  • meat, bones and fish
  • bread, pastries and flours
  • cut flowers, prunings, branches and leaves
  • coffee grindings and tea bags
  • dairy products
  • human and animal hair
  • food-soiled cardboard containers (including pizza boxes), paper towels and serviettes
  • shells - including eggshells.

What can't go in your green organics bin

  • flax or cabbage trees
  • plastics of any sort (e.g. plant pots, bio-plastic bags, cling film)
  • biodegradable or compostable bags or packaging
  • coffee/takeaway cups or lids
  • grass clippings sprayed with a herbicide containing Clopyralid
  • large prunings, cuttings or branches longer than 70cm in length and 7.5cm in diameter
  • dead animals or pets
  • liquids
  • human or animal waste
  • nappies
  • stones, gravel, bricks or dirt

Biodegradable and compostable products

Christchurch is one of only a small number of councils around New Zealand that have a kerbside organics (food and green waste) collection, with the contents being recycled into compost.

Biodegradable vs compostable

Compostable items are not the same as biodegradable items. 

If a product is proven to be compostable in a commercial facility it will break down and decay, providing nutrient-rich material that can return to land as a compost/fertiliser.

If a product is biodegradable it can degrade over time in certain conditions but won't provide any benefit to the land. A plastic cup may be biodegradable, it may just take hundreds or thousands of years. 

Why it matters

The Council aims to reduce contamination of organics (food and green waste) wheelie bins to preserve the integrity of the compost and to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. 

The contents of the green organics wheelie bin go to the Council’s organics processing plant, where it is turned into compost. If a truckload is considered too contaminated by non-compostable items such as cups, then the whole load may have to go to the landfill, which means it can’t be recycled into compost. 

Compostable bags

Person holding plastic bagThe only bags that can be accepted in the green organics wheelie bin are paper bags.

A kerbside collection driver, when checking for contamination on his screen in the truck as the wheelie bin is emptied, cannot tell the difference between a regular plastic bag and a plant-plastic bag (bio-plastic).

No plastic/plant-plastic bags are therefore accepted. 

Most compostable bags are made from genetically modified corn starch. Whilst they may be able to be home composted between six and twelve months, they are not compostable at the Council’s processing plant and do not break down within the twelve-week processing time frame.

The Council screens out about 10 million plastic and bio-plastic bags from its organics waste every year in Christchurch, which then have to go to landfill.

take away coffee cups

Takeaway cups

All takeaway cups and lids must be disposed of in the red wheelie bin, which goes to landfill regardless of the marketing material printed on the outside of the cups.

There are currently no coffee/takeaway cups/lids that are acceptable for disposal in the green organics kerbside wheelie bins in Christchurch.

A number of companies, both locally and nationally, have branded their cups as either biodegradable or compostable.

There is currently no standardised labelling for packaging products in New Zealand, or regulatory framework to check the accuracy of claims.