Ever stood at the bin, wondering whether something could be recycled?
I am answering the question "Can I recycle this" on some of the trickiest things you're not sure what to do with:
1 - Kitchen glasses/Pyrex NO
These items, although made from glass, are heat treated and therefore have a higher melting point than other glassware such as jars. They will contaminate the batch if mixed in. Wrap them up in paper and add them to your general waste curbside bin. Do recycle your food jars via your recycling curbside collection bin.
2 - Light Globes SOME
Incandescent bulbs (old style bulbs) cannot be recycled. Wrap them up in paper and put them into general waste.
LED bulbs can probably be recycled at your local waste collection station, but do not add them to your curbside recycling bin. Check your council's website for instructions.
CFL energy saving bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and should not be added to general waste. However it is unlikely your local waste management facility can recycle them for you. Contact Planet Ark's Recycling Near You hotline on 1300 733 712 or visit their website to find out if there is a collection point near you. IKEA also collects CFLs for recycling.
3 - Books YES via your Household Curbside Recycle Bin
Books can be recycled, but you will need to remove hard covers with a plastic coating first. Consider donating them to a charity or community group first; but if the information is out of date or otherwise invalid, then recycling at least the inner pages is better than seeing the book go to landfill. Recycle the pages via your recycling curbside collection bin.
4 - Plastic Toys NO
Kid's toys typically are not recyclable, as they are made from multiple materials such as plastics, metal, glass, computer components, and more. This makes it incredibly difficult to recycle and in many cases are not accepted by recycling facilities. If in good condition, donate them. If broken, add them to your general waste curbside bin. Generally, it is best to avoid purchasing them all together although this can be tough.
5 - Nail Polish YES via the Detox Your Home Program
Nail polish and its remover are toxic chemicals and can be recycled; but do not add them to your curbside recycling bin. Utilise the free Detox Your Home Program which collects highly toxic, unwanted household chemicals. Check your council's website for instructions, or visit Sustainability Victoria's website.
6 - Bubble Wrap YES via RedCycle
As a soft plastic, bubble wrap cannot be added to your curbside recycling bin. The RedCycle Program which collects a wide range of soft plastics does recycle bubble wrap. Drop them off at your local participating Coles Supermarket. There's over 830 RedCycle drop off points across Australia; Visit the RedCycle website to find one near you.
7 - Roll-on Deodorant Containers YES via your Curbside Recycling Bin
Your empty roll-on deodorants can be added to your recycling curbside collection bin.
8 - Oralcare Products YES via TerraCycle®
TerraCycle and Colgate® have partnered to create a free recycling program for any brand of oral care product and packaging as well as a fundraising opportunity for participants. Includes toothpaste tubes and caps, floss containers, tooth brushes and toothpaste boxes. Does not include electrical toothbrushes. You can register, collect and mail them in for free. Visit TerraCycle's website for more information.
9 - Waxed Boxes NO
Waxed boxes and waxed paper cannot be recycled as it is too difficult to separate the wax from the paper product. Add them to your general waste curbside bin.
10 - Aerosol Cans YES via your Curbside Recycling Bin
Your empty aerosol cans such as deodorant cans, oil cans and whipped cream cans can be added to your recycling curbside collection bin.
11 - Envelopes with plastic windows YES via your Curbside Recycling Bin
Your empty paper envelope with plastic window can be added to your recycling curbside collection bin.
12 - Foil YES MOSTLY via your Curbside Recycling Bin
Your clean foil can be added to your recycling curbside collection bin. Do not recycle foil covered in food and oil; clean it off first, or add it to your general waste curbside bin.
13 - Mobile Phones and Accessories YES via Mobile Muster
Mobile Muster offers a free mobile phone and related accessories (including batteries and chargers) recycling program to everyone. Visit your local Australia Post and pick up a free satchel to mail it in.
14 - Australia Post Satchels YES via TerraCycle®
Australia Post has joined with TerraCycle® to provide a second life for used Prepaid Mailing Satchels and Padded Satchels through the Mailing Satchel Recycling Program. You can register, collect and mail them in for free. Visit TerraCycle's website for more information.
15 - Padded Postage Bags SOMETIMES
These can only be recycled if it is all made from the same material i.e. soft plastic envelope with soft plastic padding (via RedCycle) or paper envelope with paper padding (via your recycling curbside collection bin). Otherwise it is too difficult to separate the 2 different types of materials. Consider re-using or repurposing non-recyclable bags or add them to your general waste curbside bin.