Common Recycling Mistakes

Recycling our household waste is one of the most effective ways we can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. However, despite our best intentions, one simple mistake can result in a whole bin of recycling being sent to landfill. Here are some of the most common recycling mistakes.  

Top 5 Recycling Mistakes

Recycling Plastic Toys and Furniture

You might think you are doing a good deed, but plastic toys, coat hangers, buckets and similar items are made from different plastic resins and cannot be processed alongside plastic bottles, tubs and trays that make up the bulk of household recycling.

Putting Small Plastic Items in the Recycling Bin

Any plastic smaller than a credit card shouldn’t go in your recycling bin. Small plastic items will fall through gaps when they reach the recycling centre and contaminate other recyclables. 

Putting Your Recycling Inside A Plastic Bag

When you take your recycling from your kitchen to your yellow bin, don’t forget to tip it out of the plastic bag! Throwing the whole lot in, bag and all, will contaminate your recycling bin meaning it will end up in landfill. Tip the recycling out and put the plastic bag in your red bin. 

Recycling Shredded Paper

It might seem counterintuitive but shredded paper should not go in the recycling bin. Why? Not only will the small pieces fall through the cracks, but shredded paper can clog up the machinery. Mulch it for compost or use it as cat litter instead. 

Not Checking The Label

Recycling labels make it easy for Australians to recycle properly. If you aren’t sure whether an item can be recycled, check the packaging so you know which bin to put it in.

Do Not Recycle These!

  • Wet paper and cardboard
  • Broken drinking glasses, mirror or ceramic cups
  • Waxed cardboard or coffee cups
  • Pizza boxes and doughnut boxes
  • Light globes
  • Cling film
  • Chocolate bar wrappers
  • Coffee cups
  • Polystyrene
  • Pringle chips containers
  • Clothes, fabrics and other textiles
  • Paper towels, serviettes and tissues
  • Coffee Pods

Surprising Items You Can Recycle 

  • Paper with staples
  • Envelopes with plastic windows
  • Aerosol Cans
  • Aluminium foil (clean and scrunched up)
  • Bathroom products (shampoo, condition and body wash)

REDcycle Program

You can recycle all your soft plastics via the REDcycle Program. Keep all your soft plastics and drop them off at your nearest REDcycle collection bin. Just some of the items you can REDcycle include:

  • Fresh produce bags
  • Biscuit packet wrappings
  • Pasta and rice bags
  • Confectionary bags
  • Plastic bags
  • Cereal box liners
  • Frozen food bags

Some of Australia’s largest retailers including Coles and Woolworths participate in the program so you are never far from a drop off point. And remember, the best thing you can do is to minimise your waste in the first place!