08 Nov, 2017

Five easy ways to recycle household items


The average Australian household produces approximately 1.5 tonnes of waste per year. Reducing the amount of waste your household sends to landfill is easy with these tips on recycling everyday items.

Batteries, aerosols, printer cartridges, plastic bags and mobile phones can all be recycled. Read on to find out how.


Over 300 million household batteries are purchased in Australia every year, with less than 6% of those recovered for reprocessing.

Batteries are considered hazardous waste as toxic heavy metals can leach from their casings and into the environment.

They should never be placed into household general waste or recycling bins. Instead, take them to a drop off point at any of the stores listed below.

How to recycle batteries:

  • Aldi stores have a free battery take back scheme. AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries (rechargeable and non-rechargeable) are accepted
  • Battery World has a national recycling program for batteries. Domestic quantities of all brands and all battery types are accepted
  • Officeworks and IKEA have recycling bins for domestic batteries
  • For commercial quantities, check out the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative

Aerosol cans

Aerosol cans for hairspray, insect spray and other household items can be recycled in most Council recycling bins across Australia including Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Redland City Council areas.

They must be completely empty, otherwise they are declared hazardous waste and not suitable for recycling. In that case, they must go into your regular waste bin.

Aerosols are generally made from aluminium or steel, both which can be infinitely recycled without degrading, so just by recycling your old aerosols you are reducing your household’s waste footprint.

How to recycle aerosols:

  • Completely empty and place in your household recycling bin. Note: Redland City and Moreton Councils request the removal of plastic lids and spray tops which can also be placed in the recycling bin.

Printer cartridges

Ink cartridges can take up to 1100 years to break down if they are sent to landfill. The Cartridges for Planet Ark program makes it easy to recycle laser and inkjet cartridges, toner bottles and drum kits by placing recycling stations in stores that sell these items.

The cartridges are returned to the manufacturer for recycling or to Close the Loop in Melbourne where raw materials are recovered and turned into new items such as pens, rulers and asphalt for roads. More than 36 million ink cartridges have been recycled to date.

How to recycle printer cartridges:

Simply drop off to the Cartridges for Planet Ark bins in store at:

  • Officeworks
  • Australia Post
  • Harvey Norman
  • The Good Guys
  • Office National

Plastic bags

Every type of plastic is recyclable but only some plastics can be recycled through council kerbside. Hard plastic containers such as soft drink bottles, fruit punnets and takeaway containers can be recycled in the yellow kerbside bin.

Soft plastics such as plastic bags cannot be recycled in most Council areas including Redland City, Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast regions as they can become stuck in sorting machines.

Coles and Woolworths both have drop off points for soft plastics which are recycled through the REDcycle program - look for the red wheelie bin at the front of the store.

Any plastic that can be scrunched into a ball in your hand, can be placed in the REDcycle bins including:

  • Soft plastic bags such as shopping bags, fruit and vegetable bags and bread bags
  • Fruit and vegetable netting
  • Rice and cereal bags
  • Biscuit packaging (without the tray)
  • Bubble wrap

How to recycle soft plastics and plastic bags:

  • Scrunch and place in the red wheelie bin at your participating Woolworths or Coles store. Find a store.

Mobile phones

Do you have an old mobile phone tucked into a drawer somewhere? It is estimated there are 23 million unwanted mobile phones across Australia.

A whopping 96% of the components of mobile phones can be recycled! Mobile Muster is Australia’s official mobile phone recycling program, aiming to keep our phones out of landfill.

All unwanted phones, batteries and chargers can be dropped off to Mobile Muster collection points or sent to the organisation via Australia Post.

How to recycle mobile phones:

  • Drop off to Mobile Muster Collection Points at Telstra, Optus Vodafone, Virgin or Samsung stores
  • Search for your nearest drop off point
  • Request a free reply paid mailing label and send to Mobile Muster

Recycling Resources

Redland City Council A-Z of Waste and Recycling Sunshine Coast Council Recycling Bin Collection Moreton Bay Council Recycling Fact Sheet Planet Ark Recycling Week

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