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What Goes In The Yellow Recycling Bin?

For the first time everyone in WA has the SAME guidelines on what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.

Establishing this “Yes” and “No” list helps to ensure more of our household waste is recycled, and it’s important, because placing the wrong items in your yellow-topped bin has the potential to contaminate a whole truckload (or even more) of items that could have otherwise been recycled.

These are the top five things to avoid placing in your kerbside recycling bin:


Give your items the best chance of being recycled by placing them in the bin loose. The sorting machines can’t do their job otherwise! Once items arrive in your local recycling sorting station they’ll be separated by a range of automated systems. You can read more about this in our article about what happens to waste once it’s picked up from your kerb.


Believe it or not, nappies are one of the biggest contaminants in WA’s household recycling bins. In fact, according to one metropolitan sorting station in the region of 200 nappies are found in recycling every single day. Regardless of what they are made from, nappies should only ever be placed in the general waste bin. Only the cardboard box they come in can be recycled.


Empty and clean is the mantra when it comes to good recycling practices! Wash out any remnants of food or, for example bathroom items like soap, conditioner and shampoo, before you put the empty container in the recycling bin. This helps to prevent contamination and improve recycling rates.


Small plastic lids, like those found on milk and soft drink bottles need to be removed and placed in with your general rubbish. It may sound counter-intuitive, but these small items can wreak havoc with the sorting machines and reduce the amount that can be recycled in the long-run. Remember lids such as those from beer bottles, as well as larger ones such as the hard ones on yoghurt pots can still go in your yellow-topped bin.


Soft plastics – that is anything that is scrunchable, such as food packaging, plastic wrap and bags – are recyclable, but not via your kerbside collection. Collect these up and drop them off at your local supermarket in the specially marked collection bins. Read all about how you can recycle them correctly here , but just remember they shouldn’t go in your bin.

Once you’ve got this five sorted, here’s a few more for you to remember to keep out:

  • Batteries
  • Lightbulbs
  • Mobile phones
  • Clothing
  • Ropes and hoses
  • Takeaway coffee cups
  • Shredded paper
  • Aerosols

For information on what you should be doing with all of these items visit our Recycle Better top tips.

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Jane S. King

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