Recycle Right - get the yellow bin right

Using your kerbside recycling bin is a great way to save resources, water and energy. The key to its success is ensuring that only the right items are placed in the recycling bin.


TIP:1 No nappies in the RECYCLING BIN. 

All nappies must go in the WASTE BIN only.


TIP:2 Pizza boxes without food scraps can go in the RECYCLING BIN.

Food scraps can spoil recyclable materials so ensure all food remnants are removed before recycling. Very greasy pizza boxes can go in the GREEN BIN.


TIP:3 Give bottles and jars a quick rinse before placing in the RECYCLING BIN.

To save water, rinse your recyclables after washing the dishes.


TIP:4 No crockery, oven-proof glass or drinking glasses in the RECYCLING BIN.

These items should be wrapped and placed in your WASTE BIN.


TIP:5 No clothing or fabric in the RECYCLING BIN.

If it’s in good condition donate it to a local charity otherwise place in your WASTE BIN.


TIP:6 Don’t put your recyclables in a plastic bag.

Place recyclable items loose into the RECYCLING BIN.


TIP:7 Empty, dry paint tins can go in the RECYCLING BIN.

However if tins contain paint, dispose of at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot, or at a Household Hazardous Waste Collection near you.


TIP:8 No polystyrene foam in the RECYCLING BIN.

Polystyrene foam packaging (including foam meat trays and cups) goes in the WASTE BIN.


Unsure about which bin a specific waste item should go?

Go to the RECYCLE RIGHT search engine page where you will find details specific to your council.  Alternatively you could call 1300 137 118.  You will also find tips on what to do with items that cannot be placed in your kerbside bins, such as oils, e-waste, light globes and household chemicals.  Some of these disposal services are free.


South Australians are excellent recyclers but to ensure we recycle as much as we can, we need to Recycle Right.

Does the triangular symbol on plastic containers with numbers mean it’s recyclable?

No. The triangle with a number from 1 to 7 is not a recycling symbol but rather a Plastic Identification Code. It only tells manufacturers what type of plastic the item is made from but not if it is recyclable. For more information, Recycle Right has a comprehensive guide to plastics displaying the Plastics Identification Code.  Go to


So what plastics can be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin?

Rigid plastic bottles and containers that hold their own shape, including plastic soft drink and milk bottles and take-away containers. Just make sure they are rinsed and have the lids removed.


What happens to all the stuff we put in our recycling bins?

Your recyclables are taken to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) where a combination of people and machinery sort your recyclables ready for reprocessing.


Why it’s important to Recycle Right?

Placing incorrect items in your recycling bin contaminates recyclable material, increases recycling costs, puts workers in recycling facilities at risk and can damage recycling machinery.

Contaminants such as plastic bags and foam trays have to be removed from the recyclables and sent to landfill but along the way can create havoc with MRF machinery.

Unfortunately some contaminants such as food and drink remnants can ruin recyclable material, resulting in this material being sent to landfill.


Recycling helps to save resources, water and energy.

Every day large volumes of recyclables are separated and sent to various industries to be reprocessed into new products which reduces our demand for raw materials, energy and water. Just in the past financial year recycling in South Australia has achieved the following savings:

  • greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 1.5 million trees being planted, or 225,000 cars removed from the road
  • energy savings equivalent to the energy used by 263,000 average households in one year
  • water savings equivalent to the water used by 63,300 average Adelaide households in one year, or the water contained in 4,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools.



Did you know?

  • Making a metal can from recycled materials rather than from bauxite saves up to 95% of energy. 
  • Recycling glass saves 75% of the energy it would take to make glass from raw materials.
  • The energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle will power a computer for 25 minutes.


All statistics sourced from fact sheets at


So with a little extra effort we can all ensure we Recycle Right.



  • Paper and envelopes
  • Newspapers, magazines, catalogues and junk mail
  • Cardboard boxes and egg cartons
  • Shredded paper (if contained inside a paper bag or box)
  • Cartons such as milk, juice and stock cartons
  • Pizza boxes without food scraps
  • Aluminium and steel cans and tins
  • Metal lids (contained in a steel or aluminium can)
  • Empty and dry paint tins
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Glass bottles and jars (rinsed with lids off)
  • Plastic bottles and containers (rinsed with lids off)
  • Yoghurt and butter containers (rinsed with lids off)




  • Plastic lids from jars and bottles
  • Plastic bags and other soft plastics
  • Food scraps
  • Packaging contaminated with food
  • Tissues and paper towel
  • Clothing and fabrics
  • Polystyrene foam packaging
  • Foam trays and cups
  • Crockery or drinking glasses
  • Mirrors, light globes, oven-proof or window glass
  • Car parts
  • Toys
  • Nappies
  • Garden waste or organic material
  • CDs, DVDs, video or audio tapes

Unsure about which bin a specific waste item should go? Visit the Recycle Right Search Engine for information specific to your council or call 1300 137 118. You can also find tips on what to do with items that cannot be placed in your kerbside bins, such as oils, e-waste, light globes and household chemicals. Some of these services are free.