The red rubbish bin is collected every two weeks. This is for all items that can’t go in the green or yellow bin, except hazardous items and chemicals which can be dropped for free at the EcoDrop.

Red lid Rubbish bin

What goes in your red bin

These items must go in the red bin

  • soft plastics such as shopping bags, plastic film, bread, pasta, and rice bags, frozen food bags, courier bags and more.  
  • liquid cartons, such as juice cartons, almond and soy milk etc
  • coffee cups and food packaging 
  • compostable and bio-degradable bags and packaging 



Download the Wheelie Bins App

The  Wheelie Bins App has a handy lookup tool so you can find out what goes in each bin as well as reminders to take the bins out each week.

Soft plastics go in your red bin

All soft plastics must go in your red bin, that’s any plastic you can scrunch in your hand.

Common soft plastic items include:

  • plastic shopping bags
  • bread, pasta, and rice bags
  • frozen food bags
  • courier bags
  • bubble wrap and plastic furniture wrapping 
  • plastic wrappers for confectionery, muesli bars, and biscuits
  • cereal liners

If you're unsure, you can search for specific items on our Wheelie Bins app.

Why can't you put soft plastic in the yellow bin?

Soft plastics can’t be recycled in Christchurch. When soft plastic gets mixed up with recycling it can mean the whole truckload ends up in landfill, here’s why:

  • Our processing plant can only handle clean and topless plastics bottles and containers.
  • Soft plastics can get caught in the sorting machine, causing breakdowns.
  • When they get caught up with accepted recyclable products it can stop them from being sold and recycled.

What about the soft plastic recycling scheme?

The Soft Plastic Recycling programme is no longer operating in the South Island.  All soft plastics must go in your rubbish bin.

For more details, please visit the Soft Plastic Recycling website(external link).

Ash, timber and sawdust go in your red bin

Ash, timber off-cuts and sawdust must be disposed of in your red bin.

This is because they can contaminate your organics bin or your home compost. It can raise the arsenic levels in the compost which means it might end up going to landfill.

As little as a third of an ice cream container of ash can be enough to contaminate the contents of one whole green bin collection truckload of organics waste. Once it’s in there, we can’t get it out, and contaminated compost can’t be added to soil to help grow our food and gardens.

How to safely dispose of hot ashes

Ash waste needs to be cooled for at least five days before it’s put in the red bin. If ash hasn’t been cooled properly it could cause a fire either in the bin or the collection truck. This is a big safety concern for both our truck drivers and the general public.

Here are our tips on disposing of ash safely:

  • Let ash cool for at least five days in a metal bucket or container before disposing of it in the red bin, otherwise it may cause a fire.
  • Place timber offcuts, sawdust and cold bagged ash only in your red rubbish bin when disposing of it.
  • Do not burn treated timber offcuts. When we burn treated timber, it releases large amounts of toxic heavy metals into the air we breathe, and the ash left behind contains 100 times the concentration of toxic heavy metals as the original piece of wood.

Find a trusted firewood merchant

For a list of firewood suppliers which have been reviewed and accredited by Environment Canterbury please visit Warmer Cheaper(external link)

What can't go in your red bin

  • explosives and flammable material or gas bottles
  • liquid chemicals, household cleaners or dry chemicals
  • car, boat or truck batteries
  •  paints or solvents
  • dead animals or pets
  • hot material such as ashes
  • medical needles or sharp objects capable of puncturing the bin

You can take most of these items to your local EcoDrop or a transfer station for disposal.

Want to do more?

Helpful tip to reduce your waste.