Maximise your recycling by getting to know what can and can’t go in your yellow top bin at home, and what to do with those other items.
It's really important to remember the recycling symbol doesn't mean you can automatically put it in your household recycling bin - in fact, placing the wrong items in this bin causes contamination which could lead to more waste being sent to landfill unnecessarily.
Glass, tins, paper and cardboard
You can put glass jars and bottles (even the broken ones); all metals including tins and cans into your yellow recycling bin.
Always make sure they are loose (not in a bag), clean and bigger than the size of your hand. Metal lids are OK for your kerbside recycling bin however you'll need to pop any plastic lids in your general waste bin.
Paper and flattened cardboard can also be placed in your yellow top bin. Shredded paper is unfortunately too small to be processed locally so this also needs to be placed in your general waste bin - or better still, in your compost heap or worm farm.
Hard plastics such as bottles, yoghurt containers, fruit and vegetable punnets, disposable plates etc can be placed in your yellow recycling bin. Always make sure they are loose (not in a bag), clean and bigger than the size of your hand. You'll need to pop any plastic lids in your general waste bin.
Soft or "scrunchable" plastics should not be placed in your yellow top bin. Instead you'll need to keep these to the side until your next visit to the supermarket when you can place it in a REDcycle collection bin. This includes Glad Wrap, food packaging, plastic bags, cellophane, gift wrapping, bubble wrap and even potting mix bags. See our article on what to do with scrunchable plastics for more information.
Takeaway food and drink containers
Plastic takeaway food containers and cardboard-based vessels such as pizza boxes and french fry cartons, can be placed in your yellow top bin so long as they are clean and free from food residue.
Any unclean food containers, along with plastic-lined cups (such as those typically used for items such as coffees, juices and milkshakes) need to be placed in the general waste bin (red or green topped depending on which bin system your local Council uses). Read more about which takeaway items can and can't be recycled.
Clothing and shoes
Avoid placing clothing, other textiles and shoes in your general waste bin.
If they are good enough, passing items on to relatives and friends, or donating them to charity can be a good way to keep them out of landfill longer. Take a look at the Giv website to find the best local locations to donate. You can also sell your unwanted clothing at garage sales and via online swap and sales sites. For other ideas take a read of our article about what to do with clothes that aren't good enough to donate.
Organic waste can be composted into healthy and nutritious mulch for your garden - it will also reduce water use. There are many different ways to compost, it’s best to find one that suits your garden size and the volume of organic waste your household generates. You also might be fortunate enough to live in a local government area that operates a food organics, garden organics (FOGO) recycling program.
Batteries and printer cartridges
It’s important that you never put these items in your household bins!
Batteries contain hazardous material which we want to keep out of our landfill. The good news is there are readily available recycling schemes for these run by local councils as well as larger businesses such as ALDI, IKEA and Battery World.
Printer cartridges are 99% recyclable so we also want to keep these out of landfill too if we can. You can typically drop these off at your local Australia Post and other big retailers such as Office Works and JB HI Fi.
Because of their size coffee pods can be difficult for local councils to correctly recycle. The best thing you can do is to collect and recycle them through a dedicated scheme.
Lightbulbs, paints and other flammable liquids
These items are also classified as hazardous household waste and need to be recycled via a specialist program (not through your kerbside bin collections or kerbside pick ups). Read up on hazardous waste and where in WA you can take it.
Electronic and electrical waste
So many of the materials in your old or broken TVs, computers, mobile phones and other electrical appliances can actually be recycled so never throw these in the bin. Some local councils hold regular e-waste collections or will be able to provide advice on the best way to recycle these items locally so check their website for advice.
Phones can be recycled through free schemes like MobileMuster.
Working items can also be taken to your local charity shop where they can be resold.
Hard waste is anything too large to fit into your regular bins. Most local councils provide scheduled collections or will provide a skip bin. Before throwing anything out, consider whether it could be reused or recycled. Many items can be donated to charities or sold or given away via online sites.
Most local councils will collect these as part of their scheduled hard waste collections or Soft Landing, an award winning local company, will come and collect old mattresses for recycling for a fee.
Maintaining your tyres properly will make them last longer – saving not only waste but your money. Maintaining correct tyre pressure, having regular wheel alignments and keeping your brakes and suspension in order will all extend the life of your tyres.
When you do have to change them, ensure that your mechanic or tyre supplier is a Tyre Stewardship Accredited business which means your old tyres will be recycled and disposed of in the most environmentally friendly manner.
Keep this knowledge in your pocket!
Why not download the Recycle Right app if you live in the Perth metropolitan area or the Avon Valley? It’s got an A-Z of what goes in each bin to help maximise your recycling efforts.