What you CAN'T Put in Your Recycle Bin

by Maddie Vlismas
We've got a long way to go when it comes to dealing with our trash properly here in Australia, and while we're not experts on the topic, there are some *huge* misconceptions about what we can and cannot put in our kerbside recycling bins. We're here to help!
The truth is, we thought a lot of this was common knowledge, but we've noticed some huge mistakes happening around us and we want to help clear things up! There isn't enough education around, and we're keen to create an open discussion - this a judgement free zone!

Recycling around Australia differs from state to state, so it's important to check in with what your local council does / doesn't accept...

If you live in : QLD - click here | NSW - click here | VIC - click here | ACT - click here | NT - click here | WA - click here | TAS - click here

1. Soft Plastics!
While you can recycle soft plastics - they can't simply go in your kerbside bin. A good tip is :  if it’s plastic and you can easily scrunch it in your hand, keep it out of your recycling bin. Instead, take things like bread bags, biscuit wrappers and plastic bags it to your local supermarket's REDcycle drop off point.

As apartment dwellers, we cannot tell you the amount of times we've seen plastic bags full of recyclable materials in our communal recycling bins. It is a sure-fire way to make my blood boil. This contaminates the entire bin - meaning it'll probably all end up going to landfill. If you've noticed mistakes like this in your communal bins - don't fret. Empty the plastic bag of recyclables into the right bin, and put the plastic bag in the rubbish. I made a sign to help my neighbours learn about what to recycling by making and printing this sign to put in a visible common area. You could also slip them under your neighbour's doors or stick it to the bin if you have a way to laminate it! If you want to download the sign that I made, you can find it here!

2. Clothing
We're not saying that you can't give your old clothing a second life - just don't put it in your kerbside bin. It can clog sorting machines! Instead, drop off your old textiles and clothing (if they're still in wearable condition) to a second-hand store. Or you can donate to ManRags who will turn your old clothes into new fabric!

3. Polystyrene
Yep - this is one that tricks a lot of people! The next time you find yourself with a big cardboard box and a bunch of polystyrene left over from a big new purchase, you can pop the flattened cardboard into your recycling bin but keep the polystyrene out. Contact your local council to see if they offer a recycling service for polystyrene

4. Food Scraps
Food scraps don’t go in your recycling bin but they don’t have to go to waste. If you live in an apartment or only have a small balcony or backyard, there are still options for you to recycle your food scraps - we've talked about how to compost no matter where you live here

5. Greasy takeaway containers
This one is a little trickier depending on where you live / how greasy your food was. For example, you probably can't recycle the greasy bottom of your pizza box, but the lid is fine. If your plastic containers are covered in food / oil - wash them out first before recycling or better yet - re-use them!

Some other things to note:
~ Window Envelopes : remove the plastic window if you can before putting the paper in the recycling. If you can't, put the whole thing in the rubbish bin
~ Cling Wrap : into the rubbish bin (or stop using it altogether)
~ Paper towel and tissues : into the rubbish bin (or compost bin!)
~ Cigarette butts : into the rubbish bin
~ Broken glass / crockery : into the rubbish bin. Wrap the broken shards in newspaper if you can to protect the rubbish workers
~ Acrylic / Nylon : into the rubbish bin. 
Light bulbs : into the rubbish bin.
~ Shredded paper : into the rubbish bin.

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