Sometimes unsure about what you can and can’t recycle? You aren’t alone. These tips and state-by-state guides might help.
Tips for home recycling
Plastic Keep plastic bags and plastic bottle tops out of your weekly recyle bin
- Remove the tops on plastic bottles before recycling. Plastic bottle tops are not recyclable, and the liquid and air in the bottle causes problems at the recycling plant
- Plastic bags and polystyrene can’t be recycled in your weekly bins. Take them back to the supermarket (there are some bags that can be recycled and others that they can’t take – normally soft bags can be recycled)
- Not all councils collect all plastics. Check your local council for the recycling conditions that apply to you
Glass bottles can be recycled, but broken glass, crockery or mirrors can’t. They should be placed in the garbage.
Paper A few staples and envelopes with plastic windows are OK – they are removed for you in the recycling process.
Drink a lot of beer? What to do with the twist tops?
Twist tops fall through the cracks in the recycling machines! You can collect steel ones in a steel tin and then squeeze it closed. If you drink enough beer to make it worth it.
ACT: TAMS has a great recycling guide for ACT residents.
NSW: The NSW government’s Easy Recycling Guide is a simple infographic that shows what you can and can’t recycle. The guide is available in multiple languages.
For more information on recycling in your local area, check your local council’s recycling page. If you live in the City of Sydney, their waste guide is here.
Queensland: This guide for Brisbane has recycling tips that apply to the whole state. For more information on recycling in your local area, check your local council’s recycling page.
South Australia: Zero Waste has resources for recycling in South Australia, including this fact sheet with tips on household recyclables. For more information on recycling in your local area, check your local council’s recycling page.
Tasmania: Recycle Tasmania lists what can and can’t be recycled in your state. This guide is less detailed than some (as the site is focused more on community engagement), so make sure you check out your local council’s recycling page for more specific information.
Victoria: The well designed website Get it Right on Bin Night has everything you need to know about what you can and can’t recycle. And if you need more specific information from your local council, you can find links to your council’s recycling page on this Sustainability.Vic page.
WA and NT: We haven’t found any State and Territory wide guides for you. For information on recycling in your local area, make sure you check your local council’s recycling page. If you are aware of any recycling guides in your state, we’d love to hear from you!
What do the numbers and symbols on plastics mean?
Not surprisingly they tell you what kind of plastic was used. Generally numbers 1-6 can be recycled – these are plastics which hold their shape when crumpled and could hold a liquid. Its the softer polystyrene (number 7) which often can’t be recycled. ZeroWaste SA has more.
Take it to the next level
Keen to teach your kids about recycling? Get them to do the Recycling Week Quiz.
Want to promote recycling to friends and colleagues? Check these promotional posters.