Top tips for putting the right thing in the right bin

Brisbane households recycle a whopping 71,300 tonnes of paper, cardboard, plastic and metal each year via their household recycling bin. This is a really great effort and we need to build on this by rescuing the 48,400 tonnes of recycling material that is going into our landfill because it was placed in the wrong bin.

Each room in your home has lots of opportunities to recycle more and keep valuable resources out of landfill. Is your household lifting the right bin lid for every waste item? Here's our guide to make recycling easy in every room of your house.

Home office

Working from home more these days? Make sure you're putting all your office paper waste in your recycling bin. This includes paper and cardboard packaging from your online shopping purchases. There's no need to squash larger boxes, but flattening them helps create more space in your bin.

Be sure you're recycling:

  • cardboard boxes and paper padded post packs
  • scrap paper including office/copy paper, sticky notes, notebooks, and all envelopes (even ones with plastic windows)
  • shredded paper (pop it in cardboard box before putting it in the recycling bin).

Your individual actions will help our collective efforts in rescuing the 25,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard that ends up in landfill each year from being placed in the wrong bin. Every little bit counts, even your sticky notes!

Bathroom and laundry

The bathroom and laundry are full of items that should go in your recycling bin when you're finished with them. In fact, it's a good idea to keep a recycling bin in these rooms to make recycling even easier.

Be sure you're recycling:

  • aerosol cans including air freshener, deodorant and hairspray
  • empty clean product bottles
  • hair gel tubs
  • laundry detergent bottles and boxes
  • shampoo, conditioner and body wash containers
  • toilet rolls.

Did you know? You can also recycle your make-up empties at your local Priceline Pharmacy.

Kitchen and living room

Most homes have a recycling bin in the kitchen, making this one of the easiest rooms in the house to recycle correctly.

Be sure you're recycling:

  • aluminium foil scrunched into a ball
  • cereal boxes and other cardboard packaging and paper towel rolls
  • drink containers including aluminium cans and plastic bottles
  • milk cartons, yoghurt tubs and butter containers
  • magazines and newspapers including junk mail
  • pizza boxes, even with a bit of cheese.

What to keep out of your household recycling bin

Now you're an expert on what can go into your recycling bin, here's a handy list of what to keep out of the recycling bin.

These items don't belong in your household recycling bin:

  • Soft plastics like chip packets and plastic bags: You can recycle these items by dropping them off at major supermarkets. See the REDcycle Program website for information on what soft plastics are accepted.
  • Textiles and clothes - Donate items that can be reused to your local charity shop or Council's Treasure Troves via your local resource recovery centre. Make sure the items are good quality for others to wear.
  • Food waste: Consider recycling your food scraps in a compost bin or worm farm, otherwise food waste should go in your rubbish bin.
  • Garden waste: Lawn clippings, tree prunings and palm fronds should be used as mulch, taken to your local resource recovery centre, or put in a green waste recycling bin to be composted.
  • Hard plastics like broken toys, buckets and PVC: These items can be taken to your local resource recovery centre and recycled for free in the hard plastics bin.
  • Waste metals: Coat hangers, broken appliances, tools, sporting equipment (bikes, golf clubs), broken metal machinery and batteries can be recycled for free at your local resource recovery centre.

Did you know you can recycle drink containers and get a 10 cent refund for every eligible container you return through the Containers for Change scheme. Most glass, plastic, liquid paperboard and steel drink containers are eligible.

Getting the right thing in the right bin helps us to recycle more effectively by providing contamination free recycling to our partners and also means less recyclable items end up in landfill.

Related links

**This blog was updated in November 2021.**

Date posted:
Last updated: 3 November 2021
Topics: green

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.