Recycling at home

Brisbane residents are improving recycling habits at home. In just three years, the amount of recyclables in Brisbane household waste bins has gone from 28% to 17%. It’s time to look at how we can work together to keep improving our efforts. How to create a cleaner, green Brisbane and to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

Recycling quiz

Take our quick recycling quiz to find out what type of recycler you are. 

What happens to your recycling?

Brisbane boasts a state-of-the-art recycling service residents can be proud of. Recycling collected by Council’s dedicated fleet of recycling trucks is taken to Visy’s Material Recovery Facility at Gibson Island. Council supports local recycling through Brisbane and Australian based companies.

The process:

  1. Residents place recyclables in recycling bins.
  2. Recycling bins are collected by Council’s contractor and taken to Visy’s Material Recovery Facility at Gibson Island.
  3. Visy sorts recycling into streams of paper and cardboard, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) polyethylene terephthalate/polyester (PET), steel, mixed plastics, glass and aluminium to be reprocessed into new products.
  4. Items that are not recyclable but have been incorrectly placed into recycling bins are sorted out of these streams and go to landfill.

Items you can put in your household recycling bin

There five types of materials that can generally go in your household recycling bin:

  • cardboard
  • paper
  • metal
  • glass
  • plastic.

You can find out more about what you can recycle in your household recycling bin. Download Brisbane City Council's Brisbane Bin and Recycling app.

You can order a larger recycling bin. Council has waived the $30 establishment fee.

Paper and cardboard

Research shows more than 35,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard is put in the waste bin every year by mistake. By recycling at home, we can ensure valuable resources are recovered instead of wasted in landfill.

The following are the most commonly confused items which can recycled:

  • glossy magazines
  • newspapers
  • junk mail
  • pizza boxes (even with a little bit of cheese)
  • corrugated cardboard (like packing boxes)
  • receipts and papers from your home office.

Think about paper as a resource that you can reuse, recreate and recycle.

Here are Council's top paper and cardboard recycling tips.

  1. It’s tempting to throw glossy junk mail straight into the waste bin. Remember it’s made from paper. It can be of better use through your recycling bin at home.
  2. Cardboard food containers at markets and festivals deserve another life too. Empty the food scraps into the waste bin before recycling the cardboard container.
  3. Reuse and recycle your copy paper. It can feel like a little sheet of paper won’t make a difference. All those invoices, envelopes and letters add up to tonnes of paper recycled in Council’s bins each year.
  4. Cardboard boxes and pizza boxes are great for recycling. Once you have reused them, flatten and place them into the recycling bin. They can be made into new boxes by VISY. 

Items you cannot recycle in your household recycling bin

Use the Brisbane Bin and Recycling app for advice on ways you can save items from landfill or dispose of these items in your household rubbish bin. The following items should not be put in your household recycling bin:

  • cellophane
  • ceramics
  • clothes
  • drinking glasses
  • food waste
  • garden waste
  • heat-proof dishes
  • nappies *
  • needles **
  • padded envelopes that contain plastic
  • photographs
  • plastic bags
  • polystyrene foam
  • soft plastics, such as food wrappers and plastic wrap
  • syringes **
  • tissues and toilet paper *
  • wax-coated paper.

* Not only is it unhygienic to process materials containing bodily fluids with other recyclables, the paper fibres in these items are too short to recover and make into another product.

** Syringes and needles should not go into your recycling bin at home. You can only dispose these in your rubbish bin if they are placed in a sealed rigid-walled and puncture-resistant container (e.g. sharps container). 

More information

For more information, download Council’s Brisbane Bin and Recycling app. It is available for free for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

You can also read Brisbane’s best recycling guide for households online to find out about getting a bigger recycling bin.

Using these simple tools and tips, you can help Brisbane become cleaner, greener city. Help us reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill.

Last updated: 22 October 2020