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Why Ice Cream Container Lids?

The problem with recycling is that just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you learn that something that you’ve been happily putting in your recycling bin actually can’t be recycled. Like ice cream containers lids. 

Ice cream containers are made of Polypropylene (RIC 5) and as one of the few products where the container and lid are made of the same type of plastic, theoretically both are recyclable. But in practice, here in Christchurch, only the bases are recycled while the lids end up in landfill.

Recycling ice cream container lid
Just because there is a recycling triangle, does not mean things actually get recycled! 

The reason for this lies in the machinery used at the recycling plant. In Christchurch recycling is sorted on a conveyor belt. One of the first steps in separating out the different materials is for the conveyor belt to shake causing the paper and cardboard to fall through slots in the belt. Because ice cream container lids are two-dimensional, they end up also falling through the slots.

This means that not only are they not ending up with the bases to be recycled, they are also contaminating the paper and cardboard.

This waste of resource, and to highlight some of the problems with recycling, is why Remix Plastic makes a range of products from ice cream container lids.

What does Remix Plastic make out of ice cream container lids?

Our ice cream container lid product range includes reusable name tags, Mix and Match Teardrop Hoops and a reindeer ornament. All these items are laser cut from the lids and some of them still have embossed markings or pictures on the reverse - we celebrate the character and origin story that these provide and hope you do.

Ice Cream Container Lid Reindeer Ornament

The back of the reindeer ornament showing its ice cream origins

So what should we do with the lids? 

Recycling is different at each council around NZ, you should contact your local council to find out if they are accepted in your area. Here in Christchurch we have an automated sorting facility and the council advises that all lids are put in the landfill bin. 

If you are engaged in wishcycling (we’ve all done it!) and put the lids into your recycling bin in the hope that they will be recycled then they may end up contaminating the paper and cardboard recycling stream.

We can’t just put the lid onto the base either because when the container goes through the recycling facility machinery, it gets squashed and the lid pops off anyway - ending up in landfill.

There are two places in the country where you can take the lids for reuse: Creative Junk in Christchurch or the North Shore Resource Centre

Can I send lids to Remix Plastic?

Please don’t send lids to us as we don’t have the space to collect and store them, we source lids from Creative Junk as we require them - so drop them off there and they might eventually be made into one of our beautiful creations!

Got an idea?

Do you have an idea for a design that we can laser cut from ice cream container lids? Let us know!