Top Tips for Better Recycling

With all the talk about issues with recycling here in Australia at the moment, I thought it was a good time to talk about better recycling. This is a update of a post I shared a few years ago, with some new tips and advice included. I’d love to hear your tips too!

Of course, we should try and abide by the reduce-reuse-recycle mantra to avoid any unnecessary waste in the first place. I’ve shared my thoughts before on why recycling isn’t enough previously, so think of these tips as for after you’ve reduced and reused as much as you possibly can.

If you need some more specific tips on reducing the plastic you use, and disposing of household items like paint and batteries then I’ve got you covered on those fronts as well! It is important is to choose the right kind of disposal method.

Anyway, enough preamble, on to the tips for better recycling.

Top Tips for Better Recycling | I Spy Plum Pie

Never Bag Your Recyclables

I feel like this one should go without saying, but unfortunately that’s not quite the case. You can do everything right recycling-wise, but if you put it in the plastic bag and then in your bin then the whole lot has to go straight to landfill as the workers aren’t allowed to open the bags to separate the recyclables. So, pop your recycling straight into the bin, bag free!

Check Your Council Rules

Every Council will have slightly different recycling rules based on who they use as a contractor and which recycling facility it ends up at, so in order to be certain about what you can and can’t pop in your kerbside recycling I recommend hoping on their website and having a look. Lots of Councils create handy guides for the fridge as well, so you could pick one of those up if you need to keep a resource handy.

Take Your Scrunchable Plastic to the Supermarket

Thin, light plastic wrappings (like from pasta or biscuits) can’t go in your normal recycling bins but they can be recycled at your local Coles or Woolworths in large bins they normally keep out the front of the store. This also includes that thin foil type packaging that you get on muesli bars and the like, as well as newspaper wrap, plastic shopping bags and the bags on the inside of cereal containers. It’s all collected through a program called REDcycle, and you can find your closest pickup point on their website.

Recycle Your Rigid Plastics

Whilst the outside packaging of things like biscuit packets have to be taken to the supermarket, the actual tray can go straight in your kerbside recycling bin. The basic rule of thumb is if you can’t scrunch it up then it’s good to be recycled as normal.

Some Food Scraps Are Ok

A little bit of leftover food crumbs are ok, like crumbs in your pizza boxes, but avoid big pieces of food. In particular, make sure you have emptied things like milk bottles and other drinks. You also don’t need to completely wash out containers – save the water and just make sure they are scraped clean.

Ball Up Aluminium Foil

Any foil you have from trays, pie cases and the like can be recycled, but it’s best to first ball it up before putting it in your recycling bin. This is because the foil can be mistaken for paper and end up in the wrong recycling stream (then making the paper stream contaminated), but if it gets balled up then it weighs more and is more likely to be picked up by the magnets in the separating process. It’s a small step but it really does help!

Avoid Non-Packaging Glass

In general the only glass that can go in your recycling bin is packaging glass (so jars and the like), all other glass including broken pyrex or drinking glasses, ceramic and the like cannot be recycled and unfortunately needs to just go in your general rubbish bin.

Don’t combine items

If you combine items by doing things like putting paper in your cans to save space you run the risk of items not being able to be separated. If this happens then the whole lot can be deemed contaminated and unable to be recycled. Instead, keep items loose in your bin – expect the aforementioned balled up aluminium of course!

There we have it! My top tips for better recycling! I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!

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17 Comments on Top Tips for Better Recycling

  1. Karin @ Calm to Conniption
    August 2, 2015 at 8:18 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow. I have learnt stuff from this. I didn’t know you can recycle aluminium foil and great tip on knowing you can recycle plastics if you can’t scrunch them. I’m never sure on that.
    Karin @ Calm to Conniption recently posted…31/52 – The 52 Project

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      August 14, 2015 at 5:45 pm (9 years ago)

      So glad you found it useful!

  2. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    August 2, 2015 at 8:31 pm (9 years ago)

    Such great tips. I’m always amazed at how much we recycle – imagine how much full landfill would be with all that extra trash in it. I didn’t know about the scrunchable plastic – so I’ll be taking it all to the supermarket from now on!

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      August 14, 2015 at 5:45 pm (9 years ago)

      Amazing isn’t it! Glad it was helpful!

  3. Thomas Beckham
    May 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm (8 years ago)

    Wow!! great tips and post! I love your post. I think the things you covered through the post are impressive, good job and great efforts. I found it very interesting and enjoyed reading all of it…keep it up, lovely job..Absolutely worth to share!!

  4. Rod Coleman
    August 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks for the tips. Your post is such an inspiration. Keep it up!

  5. Lucy Gibson
    September 17, 2017 at 12:18 am (7 years ago)

    I didn’t realize that you shouldn’t put things like broken water glasses and ceramic glass into the recycling bin. My husband and I are always trying to find more ways to help protect our environment. I’ll make a note of this to make sure we only recycle the right things. I’m glad that there are companies and people who have the experience to help with the entire recycling process.

  6. addy
    April 4, 2019 at 9:12 pm (5 years ago)

    A very resourceful article. Recycling helps in reducing environmental pollution.These tips are great and they will help many maintain an eco-friendly environment through a proper waste management strategy.

  7. georgewarren
    July 26, 2019 at 11:24 pm (5 years ago)

    Flatten cardboard boxes so that you can fit more recyclables into your bin. All plastic bottles can be recycled, from water bottles to salad dressing, so put all of them in your recycling container.

  8. Goyum @ Used Oil Refinery
    September 25, 2019 at 6:09 pm (5 years ago)

    With bad news about global warming, dying oceans, and endangered animals flooding us on a daily basis, it’s hard to know where to start. It may seem that a person’s actions do not matter, but there are actually many ways you can help. And your tips are really helpful.

  9. Lees Alcorn
    October 16, 2019 at 10:08 pm (5 years ago)

    You explained each possible recycling process, great information. It must be read and known by everyone.

  10. Michael @ MPC Services
    January 17, 2020 at 12:35 am (5 years ago)

    Nice post. My issue with recycling is our bins. We have asked for additional bins from our council and been told that we don’t need any more but we regularly fill ours and have to juggle putting rubbish in other bins until they are emptied.

  11. Richard Thomas
    January 21, 2020 at 9:05 am (5 years ago)

    Thats just what i needed, A way to reduce the space my recycling takes up. Thanks for the tips.
    We need bigger bins 🙂
    I think year on year if we can continue to recycle our rubbish and send to less to landfill and find a way to get rid of the rest without burning it. We’d be doing well in 2020

  12. Kate Ross
    March 9, 2020 at 11:43 am (4 years ago)

    Recycling should start somewhere and it should be in our home. No matter how small our contribution seems to be, it will still have an impact on our environment. Sharing these tips is really awesome and can help people like me learn new things about recycling and to encourage everyone to take scrunchable plastic to the supermarket so that it will be recycled.

  13. Rivan Agarval
    April 13, 2020 at 5:08 pm (4 years ago)

    I appreciate the way of explaining how to recycling plastic. We are doing so many of these things, too! But I need to research the eco-bricks!
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Zoe Campos
    December 2, 2020 at 8:22 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m glad that you talked about how important it is to avoid producing unnecessary waste. Aside from regular households, I also think that recycling should be applied by companies whenever possible. Maybe they should look into e-waste recycling processes and see if it would benefit their operations.


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