What can be Re-Used or Recycled? – Sydney City Rubbish Removal

Many of our clients ask us what can usually be recycled with household and commercial waste. Here are some common materials encountered and some interesting information about them;

Plastic and Glass

Some of the most common materials which can be recycled are plastic and glass bottles and containers, but when it comes to building waste, glass and plastics are usually not easily recyclable. Why – Because there are many types of glass and plastics and their chemical make up differs. For instance, there is toughened, tempered, float, laminated, double glazed, and Low-E glass; all of which could potentially be recycled but only if they are separated. Plastic Glass and Bottles have been manufactured with specific materials that are designed for crushing and recycling. To tell these items apart, we are all familiar with the recycling symbol used and each symbol has a number next to it which distinguishes the type of material base used. Many industrial chemical and paint containers are able to be recycled as long as they are empty. Unfortunately Sydney does not have any facilities to recycle building glass to new building products however it is possible to re-purpose glass to other products such as fibreglass and Glassphalt (a combination of glass and ashphalt). Recycled glass can also be used for reconstituted stone and terrazzo products.

The EPA is researching the use of crushed glass and pipe embedding material, read more here; http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/glass.htm

Stainless Steel, Mild Steel, Copper and Aluminium

Fortunately, metals are the easiest to separate and recycle and there are many options for recovery. Of course these materials need to be separated and cut to size to fit the transport vehicle and must be free of contaminants or the resource recovery centres will not accept them. Although labour intensive, it is still worthwhile to recycle as it not only saves the environment but it saves on cost with the increasing rate of general waste tipping.

Expanded Polystyrene

Polystyrene most commonly referred to as “Foam” is a product derived from petroleum and is becoming more and more commonly used in packaging and cladding products. Although it is not sorted in household or general waste recycling, it is usually sorted by the transfer station that accepts general waste. The EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) is also working to have dedicated plants for recycling available to the public.

Read more here; http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/polystyrene.htm

Concrete, Ashphalt, Bricks & Tiles

These products readily used in building can be crushed and used as aggregate in other cement and bitumen based products and it is worthwhile separating and disposing of these products at tips which specialise in these products. Usually the cost saving negates the additional time and labour to visit these establishments however in the long run it can be cost beneficial and better for the environment.

Read more about the EPA’s regulations for recycling these products here; http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/recycled-materials.htm

See also; https://www.suez.com.au/en-au/sustainability-tips/recycling-tips/bricks-and-tiles


Lead Acid and Sealed Batteries are most commonly used in cars and various security and electronics systems. These batteries have valuable materials which can be carefully separated and re-used. It is detrimental to the environment if these products are not recycled thoughtfully. Sydney City Rubbish Removal will always recycle these products in line with EPA requirements. For more information on recycling Batteries and the Law visit; http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/lead-acid-batteries.htm


A result of the Technical Revolution is E-Waste; ie anything technology that is obsolete and no longer required. Televisions, Computer Monitors, Computers, Hard Drives, Stereo Systems, Projectors and Mobile phones amongst the most common. These products once they have reached their use by date are more or less useless to us however the valuable and precious metals and materials used within these products are valuable and can be recycled. Sydney City Rubbish always delivers E-Waste to EPA accredited recycle facilities.

For more information visit; http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/e-waste.htm

Plaster and Mineral Fibre Products

These products are able to be recycled in large commercial quantities by various suppliers, however it is more difficult to recycle them in smaller quantities. Plaster products produce Hydrogen Sulphide which is poisonous and flammable and governments and councils are starting to realise the importance of recycling these products. One company (Regyp) has emerged as a leader in the Sydney market and Sydney City Rubbish is working with them to recycle plaster products. (http://www.regyp.com.au/)

Read more here; http://www.gyprock.com.au/Pages/About-Us/Recycling.aspx

Plasterboard Lends Itself Best to Recycling


Timber is undoubtably the most re-usable product known to man. If it cannot be reused by the owner or sent to a recycled timber yard for resale, untreated timber can also be used as fire wood or can be chipped for horticultural uses. Treated timber is not as easily broken down and forms a great percentage of landfill. An example of treated timber is MDF which is most readily used in joinery products and furniture. These products are relatively new to the market and further development is required to sustainably recycle them.

Read more here; http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/timber.htm

Paint & Chemicals

Paint and chemicals are harmful to the environment if deposited into landfill. They can easily be disposed of thoughtfully using a waste transfer station. These facilities break down the products so they are harmless solids or send them to chemical manufacturing plants to be re-used.

Read more here; http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/hazardous-liquids.htm

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