How to prevent one of the most common recycling blunders!

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to recycling, and no wonder; it’s an incredibly confusing process. This is mainly because councils in both Australia and New Zealand vary in what they can accept as part of their recycling services, especially when it comes to different types of plastics and materials. 

For instance, many Australians live in councils that do not accept aerosols for recycling. If you’re mistakenly throwing your aerosols away in your recycling bin in these areas, you’ll contaminate your actual recycling and cause more waste to go to landfill. 

To help break through some of this confusion, we wanted to share a few tips on how you can properly check what is, and what isn’t accepted in your council recycling collection, and what you can do with your waste that isn’t accepted.

  1. How to check your local council recycling rules? The best way to find out what your council accepts is to check their website. Don’t assume you know the rules as they can vary greatly. For example, take bottle lids, some councils take them still secured on the container, some say they must be separate and must be larger than a 50c piece, whereas others don’t take them at all.
  1. What to do with the waste that isn’t accepted by your local council? To guarantee that your waste is actually recycled, and even to avoid your recycling being contaminated by your neighbours’ waste, you can sign up to one of the free recycling programs we offer at TerraCycle or check our website to find a TerraCycle Community Collection Hub near you. We specialise in recycling hard-to-recycle materials, many of which aren’t accepted in municipal recycling – everything from hair care products and aerosols, coffee pods to razors
  1. Recycling bin etiquette: You could do everything right when it comes to recycling, but if you miss this last step all your efforts, and your recycling will go to waste! Again, each council will have different rules on how and where to leave your bins. For example, The City of Sydney won’t collect your bin if it contains unacceptable items (many garbage trucks have cameras so the driver can see what’s coming out of your bin), if the lid can’t close, or there’s material outside your bin (unless it’s bundled and booked as a separate pick-up).
  1. Know your bin day. To find out your bin collection day, the best first step is to check your council website, which will tell you the pickup day for your rubbish bin (red) and recycling bin (yellow). Make sure you place bins out the night before collection day and put them near the kerb, where they won’t block pedestrian, bicycle or vehicle access.
  1. Make sure you check your council rules when you move! You can move 10-minutes down the road and if you’re in a different a council, you’ll have to abide by a different set of rules. Make sure to reach out to your new council for information.

If you’re still feeling unsure about what belongs in your recycling bin, or any other questions you may have about recycling or even sustainability, feel free to join our Facebook group, ‘Eliminate the Idea of Waste in Australia and New Zealand.’ In this forum, you’ll be joined by the TerraCycle team and the wider community, each at different stages of their sustainability journey, as we work together to solve any problems or questions you may have!

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