What to keep out of your recycling bin

Using kerbside recycling bins to recycle household items reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfill. However, contamination of the recycling remains one of the biggest challenges for Council kerbside collection programs.

Placing non-recyclables in recycling bins not only clogs up machines but increases the cost of recycling. During the process it is difficult to separate out non-recyclable from the recyclables items, impacting on the quality of the new material produced.

Redland City Council reports that its recycling processing plant detects:
  • 20 plastic bags per minute
  • 1 dirty nappy per minute 
  • Enough syringes to fill a wheelie bin every month 

Below we have listed some of the most common contaminants and provide alternative disposal methods. If in doubt, check with your local Council.

Items not suitable for kerbside recycling bins

Item  Correct disposal 
Nappies  Standard waste bin 
Plastic bags, plastic wrap  Recycle at your local supermarket through the REDcycle program (find a store), or place into your standard waste bin. 
Food scraps  Establish a home compost system (check out this Fact Sheet on Composting) or place into your standard waste bin 
Waxed or coated cardboard boxes  Standard waste bin 
Paper or cardboard that is contaminated with oil or grease (eg pizza boxes)  Standard waste bin 
Batteries  Recycle through a battery recycling program (see Five easy to recycle household items)
Medical waste, needles and syringes  Check out your local council requirements as disposal guidelines vary 
Light bulbs  Standard waste bin 
Green waste (vegetation, mulch, grass clippings, garden pruning)  Home compost system or green waste bin 
Scrap metal  Take to your local Council waste recovery centre 
Polystyrene such as coffee cups, meat/packaging trays  Standard waste bin. For larger quantities, check out the drop off locations at http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/polystyrene/
Drinking glassware, pyrex or crockery  Standard waste bin or, if in good condition, donate to a charity shop 
Clothing  If in good condition, donate to a charity shop 
Containers that housed hazardous chemicals or motor oil  Standard waste bin 

Food remnants, lids soft wrapping should be removed from recyclable items before they are placed in the recycling bin. 

All recyclable items must be loose in your recycling bin. It is important that items are not placed into plastic bags, boxes or other items as they are generally sent to landfill.

Find out more

Planet Ark
Moreton Bay Council Kerbside Bins
Sunshine Coast Council Recycling Bin Collection
Redland City What goes in each bin


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