What Can You Put in the Recycling Bin?

Every two weeks, you’ll need to take the recycling bin out. Whether it’s you, your partner, your kids, or your parents, someone has to do it. And many of us have made the morning dash when we hear the rubbish truck coming… and realise we forgot to put the bin out the night before! It’s essential you get the bin to the truck on time… and it’s really important to ensure that your recycling bin only contains appropriate materials.

So what can you put in the recycling bin in Sydney?

What is the recycling bin?

First of all, it’s important to establish which bin we’re talking about. Most households have a general rubbish bin and a recycling bin. The recycling bin has a yellow lid and on the inside, there may be an infographic explaining what can and cannot be placed in the bin. When the bin is emptied into the right truck, the waste will then be taken to a recycling facility.

Why do we need to recycle?

Recycling is an important part of managing the waste that we produce and protecting the environment from further damage. Recycling plastics, paper, cardboard, metal, and glass helps to reduce the amount of natural resources that are required to make new products. Along with this, recycling helps by:

– Reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills, saving space, and protecting the surrounding environment.
– Reducing air pollution and carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing and resource extraction processes.
– Reducing instances of littering and pollution, particularly when it comes to plastic.
– Saving the energy required to extract materials, as well as manufacture brand-new products from scratch.

At the end of the day, recycling is everyone’s responsibility and we all need to do our part.

What can you put in the recycling bin?

So, what exactly can you put in the recycling bin? The materials that can be recycled are plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, and paper. However, this doesn’t mean that every single piece of metal can be recycled via your household recycling bin. The same goes for plastics; there are many plastic products that cannot be placed in the recycling bin.

Here’s a list of what you can put in the recycling bin in Sydney:

– Paper, including newspapers, magazines, shredded paper (inside a paper bag), envelopes, junk mail, paper bags, and telephone books
– Cardboard, including items such as cereal boxes, pizza boxes (no food), boxes
– Glass bottles and jars (lid on)
– All steel or tin cans, including pet food tins (cleaner the better)
– Aluminium cans (empty, cleaner the better)
– Aerosol cans (empty)
– Plastic containers and tubs, bottles, cups and more
– Milk and juice cartons.

It is important to ensure that all of the items you put into the recycling bin are empty and relatively clean where possible. This makes the recycling process much easier, once the items reach the facility.

What can’t you put in the recycling bin?

There are many items and materials that can’t go into the recycling bin, even if they are made from plastic or paper products. Unfortunately, many people don’t know the full list, so they may inadvertently throw these items into the recycling bin.

Some of the items that you can’t put in the recycling bin include:

– Plastic bags, either on their own or containing recyclable materials. Soft plastics are not acceptable.
– Waxed cardboard like old fruit boxes or similar.
– Ceramic plates, drinking glass, pyrex, window glass, any broken glass, crockery.
– Polystyrene
– Bubble wrap
– Shrink wrap, soft plastic wrappers or bags
– Foam meat trays, nappies, clothing, shoes
– Any hazardous materials, solid or liquid, including batteries and chemicals
– Any liquids
– Medical waste
– Face masks
– Anything else that isn’t listed as accepted on your bin or local council website.

If you do have certain waste and you’re not too sure if it belongs in the recycling bin, consult your local council website. If you can’t find a clear answer, err on the side of caution and throw the items into the general waste bin. Best to be safe.

What happens to your recycling waste?

Once your recycling bin has been taken by the local council, the waste is transported to a recycling centre. At the recycling centre, the materials are sorted and separated, and anything that is not recyclable is the first to go. Paper and cardboard are separated automatically by a large vibrating machine and then they are baled together.

Magnets are then used to remove different types of metal, such as steel cans. And as the waste moves along large conveyor belts, plastics are identified and sorted accordingly. By the end of this process, all of the glass, metals, paper, and plastics will be in the right place. Then, the materials are taken to specialist factories for reprocessing, and they are then able to be reused in the manufacturing process.

If you simply dump recyclable waste into your general waste bin, all of the benefits of this process will be lost!

What happens if you put the wrong thing in the recycling bin?

If you put the wrong rubbish in the recycling bin, it may well impact the entire recycling process. While it is true that recycling waste is sorted, some waste can be missed. This is why it’s so important to only put the right things in the recycling bin and ensure that your waste is dealt with in the most environmentally friendly and efficient way possible.

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