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Your Mini Guide To Recycling In Australia


Aussies are great at recycling paper and carboard, but not that good at household waste. Learn how to properly recycle in Australia!

Recycling is something most Australians try to do - but are you doing it right? 

Australia leads the world in some areas of recycling. We have the highest rates of paper and cardboard recycling on the planet (87%), and each tonne of paper recycled saves 13 trees and four square metres of landfill space. However we also have some of the highest rates of household waste in the world. The average Aussie family produces 400kg of household waste annually

There are changes we can all make to ensure the health of our planet. 

Knowing how to recycle correctly, and making sure you are recycling the right things, are key to a sustainable future. 

Why is recycling so important? 

Recycling is important for many aspects of our planet’s future. For starters, recycling minimises pollution by limiting the processing of new raw materials. It also reduces the energy usage required for processing raw materials. It minimises the waste in landfill and it protects animals, plants and their natural habitats. There are no downsides to recycling and it is quick and easy to do. 

According to Waster, recycling saves 11,000 megalitres of water per year across Australia, and 380,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.  

Plastic pollution is one of our environment’s biggest threats, with eight million tonnes of plastic in our world’s water. This kills one million sea creatures a year and does untold damage to our environment. Australia has made large strides in limiting our plastic bag use, but these cannot be recycled so many exist for years in landfill. According to the WWF, Australians use around 3.4 million tonnes of plastic per year. Just 9.4% of this ends up in recycling and plastic pollution can take up to 500 years to decompose in landfill. You won’t be around, but plastic pollution will still be for centuries to come. There are many changes you can make to limit your plastic consumption and strive towards a more sustainable future. 

Opting to not recycle a product when you can easily recycle it harms our environment. A glass bottle put into landfill instead of the recycling bin will take around 4000 to one million years to disintegrate.

Another issue Australians face is electronic waste disposal. Batteries can be recycled safely, but many households opt to put them into landfill instead. Many stores have battery disposal services and taking five minutes out of your day to take your flat batteries to recycle is extremely important to the environment. Incandescent light globes are another one you can collect and safely dispose of through retailers such as IKEA. They also take batteries. 

Examples of what you can recycle:

  • Paper and newspapers 
  • Cardboard
  • Glass 
  • Egg cartons 
  • Toilet paper roll 
  • Non-coated juice and milk cartons
  • Plastic bottles and containers (not their lids)
  • Plastic food containers 
  • Tin and aluminium cans 
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Aluminium and steel products 
  • Pizza boxes that are mostly clean 

Examples of what you cannot recycle: 

  • Plastic bags
  • Mirrors 
  • Light globes
  • Soft plastics   
  • Takeaway coffee cups
  • Garden waste
  • Polystyrene
  • Coated cardboard cartons
  • Bubble wrap
  • Nappies 
  • Medical waste 
  • Dead animals
  • Ceramics 

If you are still unsure of what you can and can’t recycle in your neighborhood or state, contact your local council or refer to this great A-Z Guide to Recycling from Think Recycle.  

Where to find recycling information by state 

The best place to get up-to-date information on recycling in your area is with your local council. You can ask them about their recycling processes, collection times and any helpful pointers you should follow.

To find out where to offload your electronic recycling, also contact your local council or search for retailers that offer the service in your local area. 

La Española Olive Oil packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and is also completely recyclable. When you are finished with our bottles and tins, wash them out, remove their lids and put them into your recycling bin for kerbside pickup. Our range is available at Coles nationwide.