Signage & Bins

Changing the habits of staff is often the hardest challenge when implementing waste stations in offices. Effective communication raises staff awareness of activities and encourages participation. It is essential to have clear and regular communication during the design stage, a well-planned promotion when the system is put in place, and ongoing communication of results to all staff within the building.

New Zealand’s agreed colours, signage and te reo Māori translations for rubbish and recycling bins

Companies wishing to implement 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.


For bin bodies:

For 240 litre and 120 litre wheelie bins, black or dark green should be used for the bin body. These colours maximise the amount of recycled content used in the production of the bins.

For bin lids, crates and internal office bins

  • Red should be used for rubbish
  • Yellow  should be used for commingled recycling: (glass, plastic, metal and paper combined)
  • Lime Green should be used for food waste and food waste /garden waste combined; noting that food waste only collections are strongly encouraged to use a smaller bin size than combined food and garden collections
  • Dark Green should be used for garden waste
  • Light Blue should be used for commingled glass collections (white, brown, green glass combined)
  • Grey should be used for paper and cardboard recycling

For back of house bins supplied by waste and recycling companies

  • Where possible mobile bin lids should use the relevant colours. Where it is not appropriate due to corporate branding requirements, signage of the relevant colour should be used to indicate what can be placed in the bin.


Check our Council Services page for information and resources specific to your area. A lot of councils provide stickers and pamphlets around what is collected in their bin services. If your organisation has a commercial waste contractor, they may be able to provide signage for your workplace bins.

Para Kore provide printable resources in English and Te Reo

Sustainable Living Trust offer a range of signage as part of their 'Your Sustainable Workplace' programme.

Bin Signage

Below is a list of places you can purchase colour coded bins for your office:

Also check out Waste Management's For Business page for information on other options.

Waste Management Gold Sponsor