Whether you live in a house or an apartment, in Australia you can recycle so much of your daily garbage. We really can strive to have barely anything ending up in landfill.
A range of containers, paper and cardboard can be collected via regular curb-side collections. You can recycle soft plastics such as plastic bags and plastic food packaging at Coles and Woolworths. And there are many other recycling programs for electronics and other household goods.
We’ve created this recycling 101 post to give you a clear run down of what you can recycle plus some additional tips and links to information so that you can ensure that you’re doing all that you can.
Curb-side collections (your yellow bin!)
Containers made of aluminium, steel, plastic and glass can all be recycled. Once collected, your recycling is sorted, separated and then reprocessed at another location. Potential uses for these items vary – for example, plastics are used to make winter fleeces and aluminium is used to build bicycles or boats.
Items for the yellow bin:
- Aluminium and steel tins/cans.
- Aerosol cans.
- Glass bottles and jars.
- Plastic soft-drink and water bottles.
- Plastic food containers, tubs and trays.
- Juice and milk cartons and bottles.
- ‘Tetra pak’ drink containers.
- Newspapers and magazines (staples are fine).
- Advertising material (remove plastic wrap).
- Phone books.
- Egg cartons.
- Envelopes (even those with clear plastic windows).
- Cardboard boxes.
- Pizza boxes can be recycled if they aren’t caked in food.
Tip: Containers just need to be empty and dry before being placed in the bin. You might like to rinse them as well to keep your recycling bin extra clean and odour-free, but it isn’t a must-do for recycling.
Items which cannot be included in the yellow bin:
- Plastic bags (they contaminate recycling and jam machinery).
- Polystyrene such as meat trays and foam packaging.
- Light globes, mirrors and window glass.
- Crockery, drinking glasses and Pyrex.
- Sharps and syringes.
- Waxed or cardboard containers with food scraps.
- Tissue paper.
You can recycle soft plastics at many Coles and Woolworths stores by dropping them into the REDcycle collection bins. Your empty packaging will be recycled into useful new products like outdoor furniture.
Soft plastics include:
- Bread bags.
- Biscuit and confectionery packets.
- Frozen food / rice / pasta bags.
- Plastic bags.
- Old reusable bags.
Many people do not know that you can recycle soft plastics. We must get the word out there! Soft plastics are such a huge problem for our oceans and wildlife. We should try to avoid putting any plastic in the garbage.
- Small branches.
- Leaves and grass clippings.
- Tree and shrub prunings.
- Plants and flowers.
Australians generate more than 140,000 tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) each year and most of it ends up in landfill. As well as putting more pressure on limited landfill capacity, e-waste can be hazardous as it contains toxic materials.
To keep recyclable e-waste out of landfill, many authorities offer free drop-off days, such as this one being hosted by the City of Sydney.
Their teams often greet you when you pull up and can remove your items while you wait in your vehicle.
Electronic waste includes:
- Computers – desktops, monitors, laptops and printers.
- Home and home office equipment – photocopiers, fax machines, scanners, servers, projectors, DVD players and video recorders.
- Computer peripherals such as joysticks.
- Electronic games, CDs, DVDs, tapes and cameras.
- Electronic components.
- Phones – mobiles and landlines.
- Small kitchen appliances.
- Power tools – drills, circular saws and power boards, electric lawnmowers, electric trimmers, electric leaf blowers (no gas-powered items).
Items not included:
- White goods.
- Hazardous waste – chemicals, paints and pesticides.
- Car batteries.
- Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
- Household batteries And fluorescent tubes and energy saving light globes (CFLs) can be dropped off at our libraries and neighbourhood centres.
Reduce Your Waste With Awesome Reusable Products
Using products such as these will immediately reduce the following types of daily household waste
Plastic grocery bags
Plastic produce bags
Plastic glad wrap / cling film
Throwaway items such as straws and coffee cups
Tin foil for sandwiches and covering food
Article resources & useful links: