13 everyday items you didn’t know you could recycle

In an ideal world, it’d be easy to recycle everything we didn’t need. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple – but these 13 tips will make it a little easier to recycle more.

Even if you were part of the generation of Australians who had ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ drilled into you during the last decade – recycling can be hard to do. It’s not always clear what can and can’t be recycled in your local council area.

recycle bins

Even if you were part of the generation of Australians who had ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ drilled into you during the last decade – recycling can be hard to do. It’s not always clear what can and can’t be recycled in your local council area

For recycling plastics, we’ve put together this handy guide – but what about recycling beyond your yellow bin? Here are the best tips for recycling all that you can.

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1: ‘Green’ polypropylene bags, and plastic packaging that you can’t recycle at home, such as biscuit packets, bread bags, rice and pasta bags, can all be recycled in the dedicated bins at both Coles and most Woolworths supermarkets. They might even be remade into things like garden benches for schools. You can read more here.

2: Mobile phones (but not cables) can be left at Sony Centres and Leading Edge Computers. Here, mobile phones are recycled and the money raised will be used to build specialised youth cancer centres for 15 to 30 year old cancer sufferers through the charity YouCan.

3: Domestic batteries can be disposed of sustainably in bins at most ALDI stores. Learn more from our friends at Planet Ark.

4: Used stamps are accepted as donations by many organisations – for example, Guide Dogs in Tasmania. You can find a full list of organisations who collect used stamps at the Give Now website.

5: Used prescription glasses and sunglasses can be donated to OPSM or Personal Eyes, who will pass them on to someone who can’t afford glasses in a developing country.

6: Unused mini shampoos, soaps and lotions from hotels can be given to your local homeless shelter or women’s refuge.

7: Corks from wine or champagne bottles might be recyclable at a location near you. Use Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You tool to find a drop-off point.

8: Used bras and swimwear can be donated to Project Uplift, which sends them on to women for whom bras are unobtainable or unaffordable. You can find participating stores across Australia here.

9: Wire clothes hangers can be returned to dry cleaning shops.

10: Joggers that are not too worn can be given to Soles for Souls who will donate them to orphanages or use them to help fund microfinance projects in developing countries.

11: Used plastic children’s toys in good condition can be recycled with Second Chance Toys.

12: Empty toothpaste tubes, brushes, floss containers, some coffee capsules can be recycled with Terracycle. Just remember to check in and arrange it with them first.

13. Printer cartridges can be recycled at Officeworks, JB HiFi, Australia Post, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith.

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'Arctic 30' Take Part in a Recycling Day in St. Petersburg

Being environmentally conscious on recycling day and sorting your rubbish into compost, recycling and general waste bins is fantastic – but it’s important to think about producing less rubbish to begin with. To help consume less ‘stuff’, try asking yourself these three questions when you’re buying something new:

1. What resources went into creating, producing, packaging, and delivering this product to me?

2. Will my use of this product achieve a good return on investment for those resources?

3. Is there another way? Do I already have something like this at home? Could I borrow this from someone I know? Is there a less resource-intensive alternative? Could I buy this second-hand? Could I make this out of something I already have?

TIP: If you can’t recycle it, maybe you can upcycle your trash into something new. Learn more about upcycling and check out some easy DIYs here.

Want to do more? Sign up to join 400,000 Greenpeace supporters and get opportunities to create change straight into your inbox!

 

  • D A

    Very handy article. Thank you!

    • Rashini

      You’re very welcome! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

  • John Gertsakis

    Some great programs listed Rashini. Thanks! MobileMuster is the most comprehensive mobile phone and accessories recycling program in Australia with over 4000 drop-off points nationwide. They also support the The Salvos through sponsorship initiatives. Worth adding to your list of solutions for the community: http://www.mobilemuster.com.au/

    • Rashini

      Wonderful John, thanks so much for sharing that with us 🙂

  • Penelope Crossman

    Terracycle also recycle cigarette butts and ash. They are AMAZING!!!!!

    • Rashini

      Woah, awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  • David Prout

    Hi Rashini – Fair Game Australia recycle pre-loved sports equipment and clothing to kids and communities in need. Voluntary run and led and renewing well over 10,000 items a year

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  • Thank you for this list. There are so many things we can recycle that we don’t. I just recycled my MATTRESS yesterday with http:www.abedderworld.com . I guess they make carpet underlay and dog beds out of the materials inside. Gross? You be the judge but at least its being reused!

  • Hi there.
    This is something new “Empty toothpaste tubes, brushes, floss containers, some coffee capsules”. I knew you can recycle almost everything but toothbrushes… I missed on that. In addition, when it comes to mobile phones and domestic batteries. Those products contain Lithium and we maybe on the verge of a high demand of it… Here is more information about that: https://theconversation.com/lithium-australia-needs-to-recycle-and-lease-to-be-part-of-the-boom-54037
    Keep on Green 🙂
    Allen.

  • rose

    Hi, im Rose from south africa,how can I start a recycling station at my hometown,thnx

  • Adam Way

    Wonderful! Recycling is a wise idea to help lessen the bulk volume of trash into a useful one. Recycling our trash is also a big help to solve the waste management problems of businesses today. It is best to start this practice at home by segregating waste to easily identify which items to decompose or recycle. I have learned this from reading the articles at http://www.easyquip.net.au.