Recycling: What to put in your yellow bin


〰️ Back to basics

Something so simple can still be very confusing.

main IMAGE BY @charlesdeluvio

What determines what IS recyclable?

What’s recyclable isn’t just based on what it’s made out of, it’s a little more complex and can include:

  • It’s shape

  • It’s size

  • It’s weight

  • The inks & dyes used

  • Adhesives used

Why is recycling often so confusing?

In short, each council has different rules. Your council has different contracts with different waste management companies who each have different capabilities therefore each council tends to have slightly varying rules and restrictions.


The regulars

✔️Paper & Cardboard

When paper is disposed of in landfill rather than recycled, it creates methane as it breaks down. Methane is a major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming with a life span 21 times longer than carbon dioxide. That’s not good my friends.

Paper and cardboard can be recycled into other products such as packaging, toilet paper and egg cartons.

Manufacturing recycled paper can use up to 90% less water and 50% less energy than making it from trees. Win, win.

A confusing one can sometimes be envelopes due to the plastic window and waxy receipts that can look a bit like plastic but these are both fine to pop them in your recycling bin.


✔️Steel Cans (diced tomatoes, beans etc.)

Empty the can and take the lid completely off. Place any loose metal lids, including jam jar lids and bottle tops, inside the can.

Squeeze can at the top to save space in your recycling bin and also to stop possible contaminants from getting into the can.

✔️Aluminium (beer, soft drink)

Recycling just one aluminium can saves enough energy to power a TV set for three hours.

Recycling aluminium cans saves 95 per cent of the energy it would take to make new metal one.


You can recycle glass jars and bottles, you can also recycle the lids but just be sure to remove them and pop into the recycling bin separately.


Recyclable, just not in your yellow bin

❌ Plastic bags

Scrunch these up and pop them in with your soft plastic, dropping off to your local Woolies or Coles Red-cycle bin. These are one of the biggest problem makers in your yellow bin for recycling facilities.

❌ Batteries

Over 8,000 tonnes of batteries go into landfill each year. Batteries are one of the most dangerous common waste items discarded in Australia. Many batteries are made from heavy metals and elements such as nickel, cadmium, lead and mercury, which can pollute soil and water and harm wildlife. Nickel metal hydride batteries also contain rare earth elements that we need to reuse.

Drop your used batteries off at your local Battery World who have recycling programs for all types of batteries from AAA to mobile batteries.

❌ (some) Glass

Whilst glass jars are fine, broken drinking glasses or vases etc are not. They are too fragile and brittle, instead wrap in newspaper and place in your red bin.

Polystyrene (EPS) / Foam

A form of plastic this is the white foam you often see in packaging, cups or your meat trays. Many people see the plastic identification code on the bottom, a number in a triangle, and presume that means its recyclable. You can recycle it but certainly not in your yellow bin, instead find your local drop off point using the EPS website.