The Types of Waste that Can and Can’t Be Recycled (some of these may surprise you)

Recycling is certainly a hot topic at the moment and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. It offers a great way to protect the planet, reduce environmental impact and simultaneously supply other industries with valuable resources. However, despite ongoing efforts to educate consumers, many people remain confused about exactly what can and can’t be recycled. Questions around different products, contamination and mixed waste have all added to the pile of concern. So, to make the rules of recycling easier to understand, we have done some digging so that you can take out the trash once and for all.

Let’s start with a basic definition. Recycling involves transforming waste into new materials that can be reused. It helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making us less dependent on harvesting new resources.

What can be recycled?

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • All plastic bottles and containers that are marked
  • Steel, tin and aluminium cans and empty aerosols
  • Juice and milk cartons
  • Green, brown and clear glass bottles and jars
  • What can’t be recycled?
  • Plastic bags
  • Coffee cups
  • Straws
  • Disposable nappies
  • Polystyrene
  • Bubble wrap
  • Light bulbs
  • Syringes or medical waste
  • Oils

Note: Not all plastics can be recycled, even if they are made from recyclable products. Plastic bags are a big culprit here and supermarkets in particular have stepped up to meet the challenge. How? By replacing single-use bags with reusable ones.

Similarly, disposable coffee cups can’t be recycled because they are made from two materials; a plastic lining that stops hot liquid from burning your hand and a paper wrapping that goes on the outside. In this example, the recycling process is difficult because the materials need to be separated, which requires a high-tech machine and considerable amounts of time.

Contamination can also complicate recycling. For instance, plastics that contain traces of food cannot be processed unless adequately cleaned. This is where the concept of mixed waste recycling comes into the equation.

What is mixed waste recycling?
Mixed waste recycling makes the entire process easier for people looking to dispose of their garbage. It works by accepting a mix of solid waste before separating specific materials that are recyclable. This is achieved by using both manual and mechanical sorting methods and offers a convenient alternative to traditional recycling. You might sometimes hear the term dirty MRF (manufacturing recycling facility) in the same conversation.

Adelaide waste and recycling services
If you want to hire a quality skip bin or need help getting your head around the recycling process, then give the team at Fluro Skip Bins a call today. We offer quality disposal solutions that cater to mixed waste recycling, green waste, household garbage and more. Our family owned company provides an exceptional level of service each and every time. Contact us on 0418 318 867 or send an email to for further information.


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Please Note: For same day delivery, bookings must be made before 10am (subject to availability). While we work hard to ensure your skip bin is picked up on the specified day, it sometimes cannot be guaranteed. For collections on certain days, please tell an advisor when booking.

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