10 things that should never go in the recycling bin

Are you guilty of throwing non-recyclable items in your recycling bin? Here are 10 things that should always go in your general waste bin.

Not everything we throw away in the recycling bin is recyclable. The act of wish-cycling is putting non-recyclable or contaminated materials in recycling bins and hoping and thinking that they are recyclable.

When non-recyclable items are mixed with recyclables, it is challenging for recycling facilities to effectively sort and process the materials. Ocean expert, William Green at the brand Ocean Info reveals 10 things that should never go in your recycling bin.

1) Compostable packaging

Compared to recyclable packaging, compostable packaging can be put in a food/compost bin. These materials are made from materials that break down easily and can contribute to feeding our soils. They are not meant to be recycled as they can contaminate the recycling process. Leading to more waste. It should be clear on the packaging that the material is compostable, if you are unsure, it may be better of going in the rubbish.

2) Dirty cardboard packaging

Recycling cardboard is one of the easier materials to consider for recycling but if the cardboard is dirty with food residue it should be put in the rubbish bin. This goes for any other recyclable packaging that holds food. If it can’t be cleaned, then it needs to be wasted.

3) Items that are too small

While we think we might be doing our part by placing small lids from bottles, these small pieces can interfere with the process at recycling plants. You might have noticed the new initiative of fizzy drink bottles that attach the lids to the bottles now so they can be more easily recycled together.

4) Tape on cardboard

Most plastic-free cardboard can be recycled but any tape on the cardboard must be removed and placed in the rubbish. If left on, it can risk the chance of the recycling being put to waste at the recycling centre.

5) Broken drinking glasses

Broken drinking glass is better off being wrapped up and placed in the rubbish bin as it can contaminate and interrupt the process of making renewed glass bottles.

6) Films and carrier bags

Can be recycled but need specialised recycling. Collect them over time and these can be taken to collection points at most big supermarkets.

7) Crisp packets

Most crisp packets cannot be recycled. They are made from plastic lined with a metallic material and if they are recyclable, they require specialised processing. Check your local council’s website to see if they can be included in your general home recycling.

8) Tissues and kitchen paper towels

Tissues and kitchen paper towels should be placed in the rubbish bin. They can clog machines in the recycling process and count as contaminated if they are used. The cardboard tubes, if not wet or contaminated can be placed in the recycling at home.

9) Toothpaste tubes

While they may seem a good item to recycle and can sometimes be made from recyclable materials, toothpaste tubes are considered contaminated so are better off going to waste. An option if you want to recycle them is to cut them open with scissors after use and clean them out, but only if they say they can be recycled on the packaging. 

10) Pharmaceuticals and contact lens packaging

Foil-sealed plastic containers for tablets and contact lenses are among the trickier items to recycle, often requiring specialized disposal methods. Using Sydney hazardous waste collection services can ensure these materials are handled safely and responsibly.

Best not placed in the waste or home recycling these items can be taken to pharmacies for tablet packaging and opticians for contact lens packaging where they are collected and sent off for specialised recycling processes.

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi