What you can or cannot recycle

Many Australian households today want to do their bit for recycling but before you start tipping everything into the yellow bin, stop and have a look first.  Some products look deceivingly recyclable but are not.

Here is a list of non-recyclable items that are commonly found in households:

1. Disposable Nappies

Australian household uses up to 3.75 million disposable nappies a day.   Single use nappies are made of composite materials and when contaminated with human waste are not recyclable.   So throw it in the organic rubbish bin not the recycle bin!

2. Paper and/or Cardboard Food Containers

Food residue and grease can affect the recycling process.  These contaminants can slow or jam recycling machines.  It’s better to bin your pizza boxes, Chinese takeaway cartons or Uber Eats bags.  The rule is if it has been contaminated with grease, you may want to consider binning it.

3. Paper and Plastic Cups

As with food containers and cartons, paper and plastic cups that have been used to hold any type of liquid should also be thrown away.  Moreover, paper cups used to hold hot beverage like coffees and teas are usually coated with a plastic substance to prevent spillage.  Plastic cannot be recycled.  Stop throwing your takeaway cup in the recycle bin.  Put it in the organic rubbish bin instead.

4. Styrofoam

If you buy a new television, the cardboard box the television comes in is recyclable but its protective Styrofoam that protects the television is not.  So throw this in the skip bin with the rest of your spring cleaning rubbish.

5. Shredded paper

Shredding paper and throwing it in the recycled bin is not best practice.  Paper that has been shredded is better thrown out with the organic rubbish.  When paper is shredded it loses its fibre structure and will not hold its shape making recycling process difficult.

6. Used paper towels, serviettes, tissue paper

If the paper is contaminated it may compromise the recycling process. If you have used a pile of kitchen towels to wipe up a spill on the kitchen counter, throw it away.  Don’t put it in the recycle bin.  If you used cotton balls to clean your makeup, throw it away.  Don’t recycle it if it has been contaminated.

7. Plastic

Did you know not all plastics are recyclable?  There are two types of plastic.  Thermoset vs Thermoplastics. Thermoplastics can be re-melted and re-molded into new products and is therefore recyclable.  Thermoset plastics, on the other hand, contain ‘polymers’ that are irreversible. The plastic bags you used in the supermarket is not recyclable.  Plastic straws are not recyclable. Remember that takeaway coffee cup?  It is not recyclable.

8. Computers and electronic waste

Australians are one of the highest users of technology in the world.  We purchase over 2.4 million computers a year.  The electronic waste is a growing problem for our country.  Just about every Australian household will have one or two old computer, mobile phones and televisions lying around in their garage.  The best way to remove these is to call a professional skip bin remover to take it away to a specialist recycler that can safely handle the hazardous materials in them.

9. Ceramics

Your broken garden pot is not recyclable.  Crockery, kitchenware and dinnerware that have been broken should not be put out for recycling.  Store them safely in the garage and when you next rent a skip bin, throw it out with the rest of the rubbish.

10. Bottle caps and jar tops

Loose bottle caps are not recyclable.  These items are small and can easily get stuck in the recycling machines.  Some bottle caps are also made of irreversible plastic material.   Larger plastic lids, however, can be recycled.  These include yoghurt lids, ice cream container lids and so forth.

11. Batteries

All types of batteries are non-recyclable so don’t put them out with your other recyclables.  This includes your mobile phone’s lithium battery.

12. Small metal and wire

Small pieces of metal, wires and foils are not viable to be recycled even though the material itself is recyclable.  Usually, small pieces of metal are removed in the sorting process prior to going into the machines so you are not doing the recycling firm any favours by adding to their workload.

13. Building materials

Building materials like tiles, plasterboards, gib boards, and so forth must be removed by a professional skip bin company.  These operators have dedicated landfills to take your building waste to.  It is illegal to put building waste in your household rubbish.  If you are undergoing renovation or construction, the amount of building waste generated will require a skip bin to remove. You can easily hire a skip bin, load the rubbish into it and have it collected.

14. Bubble wrap

Bubble wrap is not recyclable.  Do not throw it in the yellow bin.  Put it with the rest of your organic rubbish or wait until you need a skip bin and throw it out with the rest of the spring cleaning waste.

15. Laminated paper

If you have a ton of Christmas wrapping paper to throw out, don’t recycle these!  Wrapping paper that has been laminated with a foil-coating, glitter, photographic film are not recyclable. So check before you throw.

16. Asbestos

Asbestos material require the services of a special skip bin company.  There are specific regulations involve with the disposal of asbestos in Australia.  If you require this service, please clarify with your skip bin hire company before you engage their services.

The list above is only skimming the surface of what can and cannot be recycled in the home.  If you are unsure whether an item is recyclable, check the label on the product.  If you still hesitant then store it away carefully and throw it into the skip bin the next time you do a spring clean of your home.

Tangoskip is Sydney’s leading skip bin hire.

We have a wide range of skip bins for hire from small 2 cubic metre bins to large 10 cubic metre bins.  To book a bin, call us on 0422 222 468 or email us: Tangoskips@gmail.com

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