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Recyclable Materials

You already know the fundamentals of recycling and likely spend some time every week separating your paper and food scraps from your garbage (if so, congrats!). However, many household items are recyclable, some you might not even be aware of, and others you might need a bit more knowledge to recycle correctly.

Therefore, given the millions of tons of rubbish dumped in landfills every year, we guarantee understanding the things you can recycle will be worth it. In this article, we will provide a list of recyclable items.

What Goes In Your Bins

Creating space in your lid bins is easier when you dispose of your trash in the appropriate bins. Ideally, each home should have three recycling bins, each with a different colour, to set it apart and prevent confusion: yellow lid bins, brown lid bins, and green or grey lid bins.

• Recyclable trash goes in your blue trash bin or yellow lid bin and includes paper, cardboard, bottles, broken light bulbs, and cans, among others.

• For garden and food waste, use your brown rubbish bin.

• You can put non-recyclable rubbish in your green or grey lid bins.

What Makes An Item Recyclable?

Knowing what you can recycle in your area is crucial to ensure everything you sort and put in your recycling container is supposed to be there. So, before we discuss what makes anything recyclable, let's first examine what can and cannot be recycled curb side.

Three primary conditions must be met for an item to get recycled:

• There must be technology to recycle the item

• A buyer is required

• The economics must be favourable for the processor

Technology must exist for the material to be recycled

One of the first questions to address when determining what can be recycled is whether or not it is technologically possible to recycle the said item into new raw materials. Consider upcycling if the technology to recycle a specific material is not available.

This is not determined by whether your neighbourhood Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) can process these materials; instead, the question is whether they can be processed at all. You can always turn to upcycling if it would be too expensive to disassemble a large or complex item to sort out the various recyclable materials.

Upcycling, often referred to as creative reuse, is the process of converting waste products, by-products, and unnecessary or undesired items into new materials or items thought to be of higher quality. Therefore, when you upcycle a given item, you could repurpose it as the same or a comparable product.

It is beneficial to clean out your recyclables before putting them in your company's recycling bin for collection. However, since most municipalities know how difficult it can be for people and companies to wash out recyclables, doing so is not a requirement. Therefore, cleaning the items and giving them a quick rinse will suffice.

There must be a buyer

Many individuals overlook the fact that recycling is a business, and almost anything is recyclable as long as there is a buyer. The end-user must be situated reasonably close to the materials because if they are too far away, the cost of obtaining the materials would probably be impractical.

Additionally, there is a good chance that the business seeking to make the purchase could get the same kind of raw materials within proximity to them. This last point is crucial when using a sustainable supply chain to buy recycled materials.

Although obtaining recycled materials to transform into new items is undoubtedly a sustainable business practice, having the materials shipped halfway around the world to reach you tends to undermine these sustainable achievements.

Note: Some recycling programs might prefer that the product be baled or compacted rather than loose.

The economics must be favourable for the processor

Many successful Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in Australia are automated. Most also feature human sorting units driven by the need to separate plastics. It is crucial to remember that MRFs must meet a critical mass threshold to profitably recover a specific material when thinking about what can be recycled.

Items You Can Recycle Around The House

Here are some items that can be recycled at home:

Plastic water bottles

Though recyclable, the most crucial thing to do is to decrease the number of plastic water bottles you use. You could install a water filtration system and drink your water from actual glasses or mugs while at home. Utilise a reusable water bottle if you need to carry around water while leaving the house. If you have to use a plastic water bottle, be sure it is recycled rather than adding to the catastrophe of single-use plastic trash.

Plastic bags

Reuse soft plastic bags whenever you can in an attempt to reduce your overall use of plastic. For instance, you could bring your bags to the grocery store or farmer's market and use them to carry your shopping; it's easy to switch once you get into the habit of using them.

However, there are situations when you still end up with a plastic bag. Such as – when your neighbourhood newspaper delivers a set of sale advertisements or a free trial in a plastic bag. If this happens, there are several options for reusing them or recycling them at home, including:

• To prevent dirt or dried paint flakes from falling into your paint after a painting job, you could place a plastic bag over the paint can lid before reinstalling it.

• Keep them for shipping or storing fragile objects.

• Recycle them at grocery stores and a few curbside locations.

Aluminium foil

You can reuse aluminium foil in a variety of ways. However, before reusing it, ensure it is spotless and clear of any food leftovers. Such ways include:

• As a reflector: You could place aluminium foil behind your plants to effectively reflect light on plants located in shaded parts of your house.

• As a sharpening tool: Fold overused aluminium foil six times. You could sharpen your blunt blades or a pair of scissors by repeatedly cutting through the foil.

• As a jewellery cleaner: Clean your jewellery by lining a shallow dish with foil. Then, combine one spoonful of powder laundry detergent and boiling water. After around one to two minutes of swirling, remove the jewellery and let it air dry. Once you are done, your jewellery is sure to look clean as new.

• As a dryer ball: To help reduce static cling and wrinkles, crumple foil into a two–three-inch (five-seven cm) ball and put it in the dryer with your wool dryer balls.

Old TVs

TVs contain dangerous compounds, including up to around 8 pounds (3.6kgs) of lead and other heavy metals. Before getting rid of your TV, you could try to fix it. You could contact a professional for repair services, as it might only be a minor issue. However, if all fails, recycling should be the answer.

CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes

Did you ever get around to digitising all those old home movies? If you have and are ready to get rid of your old media collection, see if your neighbourhood recycling centre will accept them. The simplest method of recycling at home is that. If not, here are some intriguing strategies to prevent them from overcrowding the dump.

• Utilise CDs to create a unique scarecrow. Birds and other daylight animals will stay away from your garden because of the light reflected from them. Alternatively, if you have a pet that you feed outside, it helps prevent birds from stealing its food.

• Upcycle them at a neighbourhood arts and crafts store, where they get used as wool drop spindles or the foundation of present bags.

• Make a reflecting CD collage for your ceiling or wall.

• Instead of purchasing plastic rope, tie garden poles together using old VHS tape.

Wine corks

If you are a profound lover of wine, then you probably have a collection of wine corks at home, right? If that's the case, it's high time you repurpose them creatively by doing any of the following:

• You could cut wine corks into trivets for notice boards.

• Use cork magnets to spruce up your refrigerator.

• Cork bottles containing handmade sauces, oils, and preserves with them.

• To help with drainage, support garden pots with wine corks.

Old cell phones and devices

You could clean up your old phone, purchase a new case, and give it to someone who needs it as a gift or donation. You could also take the phone apart and take its battery and other components to an electronics or computer recycler. Finally, you could utilise the take-back program offered by the manufacturer when switching to a new phone.

Junk mail and envelopes

Reuse reply envelopes for your mail if they are still in good condition. Use your return address labels to hide any branding or return addresses. You could also store garden seeds in cardboard boxes and discarded envelopes or tape them beneath drills to collect dust. As a final tip, the envelopes could be shredded and used to make organic mulch for your garden or to stuff pillows and put in your pet's bed to keep them warm during the winter.

Old trophies

Are you prepared to retire those outdated trophies from kindergarten or secondary school? Rather than keeping them and contributing to your house's clutter, you could take a picture of them to remember them. Then, send them to a firm that can recycle the parts to make new awards from your old trophies, plaques, and medals or donate them to charitable organisations.

Clothing and bedding

Old clothes and bedding could be donated or divided into smaller pieces and used as washable cleaning rags and dusters. Many charity and consignment shops can sort your used clothing for you, separating it into what can be reused and what needs to be recycled.


You could also recycle empty aerosol cans with the rest of your scrap metal or aluminium cans. However, if any liquid is still present, they are hazardous household chemicals that must undergo specific processing. If you have no use for these cans, you could inquire about disposal options for harmful home waste with your recycling program.

Holiday decorations

The conclusion of the holiday season means only one thing: cleaning up. What should you do with the broken Christmas light string and all other decorations that you do not intend to reuse? Many neighbourhood home improvement retailers will accept your used holiday lights in exchange for discount coupons. However, you could still put them up for recycling.


You can recycle both single-use and rechargeable batteries (it is even against the law to throw away rechargeable batteries in some jurisdictions). While some communities offer battery drop-off locations in public buildings like libraries and post offices, others use a variety of drop-off locations, including mail-in programs.

Ink cartridges

As they contain harmful components, you cannot throw printer cartridges in the usual recycling bin. Thankfully, many office supply shops will take them off your hands and deliver them to the appropriate recycling facilities. Check with your local council that gives you a discount on your subsequent ink cartridge purchase as a reward for being morally conscious.

Coffee Pods

It is time to start recycling those tiny plastic cups if you use single-use coffee pods to make your daily cup of joe. Every year, billions of plastic coffee cups end up in landfills. However, it turns out that you can recycle most of them along with other items with less work. Before recycling the plastic, aluminium, and paper in your coffee pods, you could manually peel up the aluminium top and then divide it into parts.

Athletic shoes

Most of us throw our old sneakers in the trash when they wear out. However, athletic shoes that still look good should be donated, and those that you cannot wear should be recycled.


Recycling books requires more effort than recycling junk mail, periodicals, newspapers, and printer paper. However, you can still throw them in your paper recycling bin. Donating is preferable to recycling books that are still in reasonably excellent condition. Some communities will accept your used books with the rest of your mixed paper recycling. Some offer specific places for them. And still, others demand that you remove the spines from hardcover books since adhesive binding is not recyclable.

Recycle And Contribute To An Eco-Friendly Planet

You should always consider your options before making an unnecessary purchase. Additionally, always think twice before discarding anything from your home and consider how you might be able to use it again. Finally, you could always have your waste managed using your local skip bin company. They can take your rubbish to your local recycling centre, or you can subscribe to a recycling program. This is if you no longer need the waste items to prevent them from going to the landfill.