Metal recycling bin with Ooops sign

7 common recycling mistakes

Wrapping your head around recycling can be hard. While most of us think that we know what we are doing, research shows that 94% of us are recycling at least one product incorrectly. 

December 28, 2020
Metal recycling bin with Ooops sign

Containers with food residue or liquids

Recyclables should be clean, dry and empty.

Items which are too small

Only recycle items which are roughly the size of your palm. Anything smaller will fall through the sorting machinery.


Regardless of what it says on the can, recycling facilities in WA will not take aerosol cans. They pose a huge fire and explosion risk. These are classed as household hazardous waste and can be recycled at specialist facilities.

Bagged recyclables

If you put your recyclables into a plastic bag before putting them into your recycling bin, they can’t be sorted properly and could end up in landfill. Leave them loose.

Shredded paper

Shredded paper is simply too small to be recycled. If you have a 3-bin system, small amounts can go into your green lid bin.

Biodegradable & compostable items

Items labelled biodegradable and compostable cannot be recycled. They degrade and can contaminate other recycled items, leading to more unnecessary waste.

Single-use cutlery

Whether they are made from plastic, wood or bamboo – they cannot be recycled and are best avoided.

What is recycling contamination?

Recycling is contaminated when incorrect items are placed in your kerbside yellow-top recycling bin.

Common contaminants include:

  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Soft plastics
  • Nappies
  • E-waste
  • Batteries
  • Used tissues & paper towels
  • Crockery
  • Textiles
  • Food waste

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