The recycle life cycle - what happens to our recycling in Brisbane

More than 90,000 tonnes of recyclables are collected across Brisbane each year. Do you ever wonder what happens with your recyclables once they go in your recycling bin?

For National Recycling Week (11-17 November 2019) we’re taking a moment to celebrate the everyday efforts of residents who help to reduce waste to landfill, and to shine a light on the journey our recycling takes after you close that recycling bin lid.

Where does our recycling go?

Once you place your bins on the curb for collection, the recycling is collected and taken for sorting at Visy’s Material Recovery Facility at Gibson Island.

Moving, shaking and sorting comes next

The recycling is then sorted into different types of materials such as cardboard, paper, metal, glass and firm plastics to be reprocessed into various products.

It’s important to remember what items can be recycled when you pop them in the bin – it really does help the separation process go smoother (those nasty plastic bags and other soft plastics are real trouble-makers). But never fear, we want you to give recycling your best go, and if an incorrect item slips into your recycling bin, the literal movers and shakers at Visy will help sort it out before it gets too far.

Keeping it local with recycling close to home

Wondering what your recycling gets recycled into? In Brisbane, we are all about the local benefits of our recycling, and some of it gets repurposed closer to home than you would think.


Newspapers, brochures, gift wrapping, magazines, envelopes and phone books are all paper sources that can be recycled. These items are recycled directly onsite at Visy’s papermill, before starting a second life as cardboard boxes and other packaging.


Recycled glass is separated again by an automated glass sorting facility that sorts the glass into three main colours; amber, green and flint (clear). Separating glass by colour allows the recycler to create a good quality recycled product.

A portion of glass is sent to South Brisbane to be turned into new food or beverage containers, which could end up being the jar of pesto you plan to use Saturday night.

Another local spot in Brisbane takes the glass and manufactures it into construction materials including sand.

And then there’s the glass recycling we undertake to make Brisbane roads. Around 300 to 500 tonnes of glass is used each month to create asphalt mix. You could be driving over your jam jar on your way to the shops.

Thank you

At Council, we love how passionate our residents are about reducing waste to landfill. Thank you for hard work to help create a clean and green Brisbane for future generations to enjoy.

Thanks for recycling Brisbane!

Related links

This post was updated to include the amount of glass Council uses each month to create asphalt mix on 13 November 2019.

Date posted:
Last updated:13 November 2019