What symbols on packaging can be recycled

As experts in recycling, we understand how complicated and confusing it can be to know what belongs in your yellow bin for recycling, and your red bin for general waste. It’s important to be able to decipher between the two, so you can reduce contamination and make sure you’re recycling as effectively as possible. 

On packaging, you may have spotted a lot of different symbols and mistakenly assumed these all mean something can be recycled. Well, that’s not exactly the case. The Australasian Recycling Label has been endorsed by the Australian Government and can be seen on products sold in supermarkets and other participating stores in both Australia and New Zealand.

Even though this is a great telltale sign of what can be recycled, it is always best to check it before you chuck it! Also, make sure all packaging is clean and empty!

You’ll spot the following three labels on packaging:

Recyclable: The coloured/opaque recycling symbol, means that this piece of packaging can be placed in the recycling bin as it is. Each piece of packaging with this label has to be placed separately in the recycling bin.

Conditionally Recyclable: The clear/ transparent recycling symbol means that you must follow the instructions to recycle this packaging component. If you don’t follow the instructions it has to go in the rubbish bin, as it will otherwise not be recycled and cause contamination to the recycling stream.

Not Recyclable: The bin symbol, means that this piece of packaging is not recyclable and you must place it in the rubbish bin. DO NOT place it in the recycling bin. It will not get recycled and it will contaminate the recycling stream.

Even though something might be marked as not recyclable, it is always a good idea to check whether TerraCycle has a program for it (check here for Australia and here for NZ). It may not be recyclable in your kerbside bin, but together we still might be able to keep it out of landfill. 

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