Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Do’s and Don’ts of recycling in Australia

by CodeKiwi Collaborator

Recycling, it seems easy right? Boxes, bottles and empty coffee cups - most of us assume these just go straight into the bin with the yellow lid. However, you might be shocked to know that we have been recycling all wrong! We should all aim to recycle or reuse when we can, but doing it wrong can actually hinder the process. 

Do you throw your wine bottles out with the lid still on it? Or boxes with food still inside? Even recycling tissue boxes can be trickier than you first thought. Plastics are not all created equally and therefore are processed in different ways. Plastic lids should be separated from your recycling and placed in your normal kerbside bin. The plastic rim on your tissue box is considered to be the same as a plastic packet (such as a chocolate bar packet) and should also be removed and placed in the regular bin.

When it comes to containers of food (AKA pizza boxes) with food still inside them, dump it in your kerbside bin. Even containers that are only greasy and not necessarily holding your leftovers should be placed in the regular bin. Contamination is a huge issue and putting food or greasy packaging in the recycle bin could compromise the entire batch of recycling. What does this mean? The entire load of recycling will be sent off to landfill instead. Not to mention, it can leave a bad smell and contaminate your bin - no thank you!

Unfortunately due to Australia’s recycling infrastructure, soft plastics can’t be recycled. Instead, you can drop them off at Woolworths or Coles, where they have teamed up with RedCycle to recycle your soft plastics. Clothes should never be recycled as they also slow the process down and can cause contamination. We suggest donating your clothes that are still in good condition to a charity instead! White goods, such as toasters and kettles, should also never be placed in recycling bins. Used tissues are also a no-no and can be placed in the compost or regular kerbside bin.

When it comes to cosmetics, ensure containers are completely empty and rinsed before placing them into your recycling bin. The same goes for cleaning products - empty, rinse out, recycle! Larger boxes should be flattened before being placed in the recycling bin and newspapers are also good to be recycled (provided the plastic wrapping has been removed). 

While it all may sound like a lot of work, it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Spending a little extra time when it comes to your recycling is extremely important and the positive impact you will be having on the environment is worth it. It is our responsibility to protect our planet at all costs and it is up to us to change our habits. While every council area may have a different set of rules, these general guidelines are here to help you and our environment. 

We recommend contacting your local council to find out more information on your specific area. Happy recycling!

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