Knowing what and how to recycle in Australia will reduce what you send to landfill each week and may even get you started on a zero waste lifestyle. This list provides information on kerbside recycling and green organics waste collections, along with places you can drop off items such as e-waste.
Most of us are familiar with the motto of Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle but this isn’t always as easy as it should be and if you are just starting, it can all be a bit overwhelming.
If you are already making progress towards zero waste then you may even want to take part in Zerowaste Week which runs each year in September and has a growing list of resources and tips across the globe.
Plastic bags are an ongoing issue and if you can, always refuse and bring your own. Boomerang Bags is a borrow & return system run by groups of volunteers who make reusable bags from upcycled material with the aim of promoting and distributing sustainable bags to markets and shops, to volunteer, donate fabric or find out more visit their site.
Reducing the items and packaging brought into your home, reusing and repurposing as well as understanding how & what to recycle will make an impact on landfill.
If the item is still good but of no use to you, give it to a friend or consider donating to a local opshop (Red Cross, Salvo’s, Goodwill etc), Childcare Centre or advertise on Gumtree for free, there are loads of options. Unused products can also be donated to local homeless shelters, includes items such as toiletries, cosmetics, canned/dry food goods, socks, etc. Please check before you take it, and remember these must be unused.
This is not an exhaustive list, but a great place to start
Batteries – Household batteries can be dropped off for recycling at Aldi, Ikea and Century Yuasa Battery Recycling Centres across Australia – you can search for one close to you here
Coffee pods – If you are still using coffee pods, don’t despair, these can be recycled at Nespresso stores OR Terracycle
Cartridges For Planet Ark – Australia Post, Office Works, Harvey Norman and more – (there are 135 locations just near my house!) Check out this site to search near you
Electrical Waste, DVD’s, appliances – Check where to recycle with your local council.
Mobile Muster – Recycle old phones and accessories, handsets and chargers these often located in phone stores and at Australia Post outlets, go here to search
National TV & Computer Recycling Scheme – Depending on which state you live in these can be dropped at Drop Zone, E-Cycle, TechCollect & Electronic Product Stewardship Australasia.
Prescription Glasses – Lions Clubs, OPSM, Onesight and other places will accept these and supply to people in other countries with no access
Terracyle Australia – Coffee pods, mail satchels, kid's snack pouches, textas, beauty product containers, contact lenses, toothpaste tubes and more. You can search for collection points or even set up your own.
Project Uplift – used bras and swimwear can be donated which are then provided to women who cannot afford or access these things, check it out
Recycling Near you – Planet Ark’s easy recycling look-up page is very handy!
Redcyle – Recycle plastic shopping bags, chip bags, snack wrappers, glad wrap and other soft plastics. These can be transformed into useful items such as park benches and fencing –their site explains how to do a scrunch test and locate a bin near you (usually at a Coles or Woollies store)
RSPCA and other Animal Shelters – Offload your old blankets & towels, locations Australia wide
Unwanted or expired medicine – Can be taken to your local pharmacy, find out more here
Most, if not all, councils in South Australia operate a 3 bin system; Green/Organics & Yellow/Recycling collected fortnightly, & Blue/Landfill collection weekly. But do you really know what is supposed to go in these bins?
It can differ slightly between council zones, as can bin colour codes, so always double-check, but here are the general guidelines.
Green/Organics – Garden waste, food waste (including everything that cannot go into your home compost like meat & dairy), pet droppings (minus the plastic bag), tissues & paper towel, cardboard stemmed cotton buds, used cardboard food containers such as pizza boxes. This is all commercially composted.
Yellow/Recycling – Paper, cardboard, plastics (not soft plastics), ordinary glass (not wine glasses), empty aerosol cans, Aluminum foil and tins, plastic buckets, bus tickets, bottles (lids removed), take away containers, long life milk and juice containers etc.
Blue Landfill Bin – broken crockery, glassware & mirrors, foam trays, coffee pods, string, rope, nappies, etc. (basically anything that cannot be recycled)
Just taking these actions and separating your waste, this will dramatically cut down landfill. In addition to this there are often options for recycling other items that cannot go into your local recycle bin, or other bins for that matter.
Don’t Forget – In South Australia you can swap drink bottles, cans and juice boxes for cash at recycling depots.
Visit the Recycle Right website to search for recycling options near you this includes Electronic items, DVD’s & CD’s, Hazardous items along with council bin guidelines.
There is now an app for keeping track of which bin is due to be collected along with other local council resources, available for android and iPhone, find out more here
For those in other states, check out the following links
NSW - Garbage Guru and Household Recycling Tips
Victoria - Get it Right on Bin Night
Tasmania - Rethink Waste Tasmania
ACT -ACT Waste & recycling Guide
Queensland - Brisbane Recycling Guide for Households
Darwin, NT - City of Darwin Waste & Recycling
Western Australia - Recycle Right WA also Zerowaste International has some extra WA resources added by Lindsay Miles from Treading My Own Path
Do you know of any other great resources missing from the list? Share them in the comments or get in touch