Recycling is one of the most useful ways you can help to save resources and reduce waste sent to landfill.
Using the yellow recycling bin correctly means you can support items being recycled into new products.
Putting the wrong item in your yellow recycling bin can cause contamination and may result in your recycling ending up in landfill.
Recycling right is easy - just remember these basic rules:
- Keep it simple - paper, cardboard, aluminium and steel cans, glass bottles and jars and rigid plastic can be recycled
- Keep out soft plastics - if you can scrunch your plastic into a ball easily it can't go into your yellow recycling bin
- Keep out small items - nothing smaller than a business card, including lids and never put batteries into the recycling
- Keep it loose - never in plastic bags or boxes
- Keep it clean - rinse containers before placing in the yellow recycling bin
What can go into the yellow recycling bin?
- Aluminium and steel tins and cans (empty and clean)
- Aluminium foil - scrunch into tennis ball size
- Paper - including books, envelopes, magazines and newspapers
- Cardboard - including egg cartons
- Milk and juice cartons (lids off)
- Glass jars and bottles (clean and lids off)
- Plastic bottles, containers, tubs, trays and fruit punnets
What can't go into the yellow recycling bin?
- Aerosol cans
- Bottle lids
- Cables, cords and rope
- Takeaway coffee cups and lids
- Clothing and material
- Plastic bags and other soft scrunchable plastics
- Plastic straws, plates and cutlery
- Soiled or waxed paper and cardboard
How can I recycle soft plastics?
Soft plastics are plastics that can pass the scrunch test!
Only rigid plastics can be recycled through your yellow recycling bin, but rather than put soft plastics in your red landfill bin - consider collecting them and take them to a REDcycle bin at a supermarket near you.
The REDcycle program makes it easy for consumers to keep plastic bags and packaging out of landfill.
The program accepts a wide range of soft plastics, from biscuit packets, bread bags and bubble wrap, to frozen food, dog food and produce bags.
The list of soft plastics that can be recycled through the REDcycle program is huge!
For more information on what you can recycle and where, head to REDcycle.
Return and Earn to recycle drink containers
The NSW Government's Return and Earn container deposit scheme aims to reduce drink container litter across the State.
Local collection points
To keep up-to-date with local collection points, go to Return and Earn.
How the Australian Recycling Label can help you recycle
The Australasian Recycling Label makes it easy to put your packaging in the right bin.
The Australasian Recycling Label tells you which part of the package belongs in the recycling bin, the landfill bin, or if you have to do something else with it.
Find out more Australasian Recycling Label - Planet Ark Recycling Near You
What happens with my recycling after it is collected?
Your yellow recycling bin is taken to our material recovery facility at the Tuncurry Waste Management Centre. Here the material is separated and sold as recycling product to the following companies:
- Steel and aluminium - Onesteel and Sims Metal
- Plastics - Australian Circular Polymers
- Paper and cardboard - Opal & Visy Recycling
- Glass - processed locally into five grades for commercial applications such as pool filter medium, termite barrier, sand blasting and binding agent.
Recyclable waste from other waste facilities also here for processing.
Did you know ... around 10% of items placed in yellow bins for recycling aren't recyclable? Sometimes items incorrectly placed in the yellow bin end up contaminating the whole load, meaning everything is sent to landfill and your recycling efforts are wasted. Learn how to better sort your recycling waste here.
What do codes on plastics mean?
Plastic Resin Codes
Did you know that the symbol with the number 1-7 in it does not mean that a plastic item is recyclable? The number indicates the type of plastic the item is made from.
They are called a plastic or resin identification code. Whether it can be recycled or not depends on the recycling systems where you live.
Here on the MidCoast, we accept rigid plastics, 1 - 7 plastic resin codes, in the yellow recycling bin. Soft plastics, that you can scrunch into a ball, cannot be recycled in the yellow recycling bin.
To avoid the confusion always try and reduce or avoid single use plastics.
The recycling symbols
Plastic #1: PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) - Plastic #1 is commonly collected in kerbside recycling programs. It is usually clear and used to make soda and water bottles. This plastic is commonly recycled into furniture, carpet, panelling, fibre cables and polar fleece.
Plastic #2: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) - Plastic #2 is typically opaque and commonly collected in kerbside recycling programs. It is found mostly in milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, yoghurt, and butter tubs. This plastic is commonly recycled into pens, recycling containers, picnic tables to name a few.
Plastic #3: V or PVC (Vinyl) – Plastic #3 is used to make food wrapping, plumbing pipes and detergent bottles. It is less common to be collected in kerbside recycling programs. This plastic is recycled into panelling, flooring, speed bumps, deck and roadway gutters.
Plastic #4: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) – Plastic #4 is used to make shopping bags, clothing, carpet, frozen food, bread bags and some food wraps. It is uncommon for this plastic to be collected in kerbside recycling programs. It is commonly recycled into compost bins, panelling, garbage bags and floor tiles.
Plastic #5: PP (Polypropylene) – Plastic #5 is used to make yogurt containers, sauce bottles and medicine bottles. It is becoming more common for this plastic to be collected in kerbside recycling programs. This plastic is commonly recycled into bins, pallets, and auto battery cases to name a few.
Plastic #6: PS (Polystyrene) – Plastic #6 is notorious for being difficult to recycle. It is commonly found in disposable plates and cups, some egg cartons, meat trays and CD cases. It can be recycled into decking, vents, foam packing and insulation.
Plastic #7: Other/Miscellaneous – All of the other plastic resins that don’t fit into the other categories are places in the Plastic #7 category. It includes things like polycarbonate. This plastic is found in sunglasses, computer/ phone cases, nylon to name a few.