Recycling glass and plastics

plastic waste bottles and soft wrap

Recycling glass

Glass is made from three raw materials: sand, soda ash and limestone. Recycling your glass bottles and jars can help conserve these materials.

All jars and bottles need to be empty and dry. Remove lids or caps, but no need to remove paper labels. 

To reduce single use glass, consider buying in bulk and/or take glass jars to stores be refilled (services available at health food stores and co-ops). For other glass bottles and jars, re-use them as containers in the kitchen, house and shed, or donate them to a community craft group or school.

Not all glass can be placed in the yellow recycling bin. 

What CAN you place in your yellow recycling bin?

For effective recycling, all jars and bottles need to be empty and dry, rinsing containers is not a must-do for recycling. Remove lids or caps, but no need to remove paper labels.

Here is a quick guide to the types of glass that CAN be placed in your recycling bin:

  • Beer bottle (green, amber and clear glass bottles)

  • Wine bottles (green, amber and clear glass bottles)

  • Soft drink bottles

  • Sauce bottles

  • Jars

What CANNOT be placed in your yellow recycling bin?

Here is a quick guide to the types of glass that CANNOT be placed in your recycling bin because they are toughened glass and melt at a higher temperature than normal glass bottles and jars:

  • Drinking glasses

  • Mirrors

  • Ceramics

  • Plate glass

  • Frosted glass

  • Window or windscreen glass

  • Oven-proof or heat-treated glass (pyrex)

  • Light globes

  • Medical glass

Recycling plastics

Have you ever wondered what the triangular symbol means at the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? This symbol is NOT a recycling symbol, but a plastics identification code used to tell manufacturers and recycling companies what type of plastic the item is made from.

Try to empty your plastics and if possible, rinse them.

What CAN you place in your yellow recycling bin?

Any plastic container that is rigid can be recycled. A handy tip for deciding if the container is ‘rigid’ is if it:

  • Holds its shape when crumpled, and/or

  • Would hold liquid.

For effective recycling, all containers need to be empty and dry, rinsing containers is not a must-do for recycling.

Here is a quick guide to plastic containers that CAN be placed in your recycling bin:

  • Carbonated soft drink bottles

  • Detergent bottles

  • Milk and cream bottles

  • Shampoo bottles

  • Cleaning bottles

  • Clear cordial and juice bottles

  • Squeeze bottles

  • Ice cream containers and lids

  • Plastic take away containers, sushi trays and coffee cup lids

  • Yoghurt containers

  • Margarine/butter containers

  • Fruit punnets and biscuit trays

  • Toys, buckets, plant pots and storage containers

  • CD and DVD covers only.

Loose plastic lids and other small pieces of rigid plastic, such as cable ties can be placed in a rinsed plastic bottle. When the bottle is full, just screw on a lid and pop the full bottle in the recycling bin. This will be recycled as a mixed plastic. Leaving them loose in your recycling bin means they are often too small to be captured when sorted.

Collecting bread tags, even broken ones, makes a difference to our environment too as they are recycled into seedling trays, cornices, skirtings, outdoor furniture, coat hangers, poles and decking. 1079 Life have partnered with ‘Container of Hope’ to ship all collected bread tags to South Africa to a group called ‘Bread tags for Wheelchairs’, who help disabled adults and children obtain much needed wheel chairs. Take your bread tags along to The Roadies each Monday or drop them off to 1079 Life with a gold coin donation to help with postage and they will send them on your behalf.

For further information visit: 1079 Life and Bread Tags for Wheelchairs.

What CANNOT be placed in your yellow recycling bin?

This part can get a little tricky, a handy tip is to ask “Is the plastic soft, easily wrapped or squish-able in your hands?” If yes, it CANNOT be recycled in your Yellow Bin. 'Soft' plastics in this category include grocery shopping bags, cling-wrap, lightweight polystyrene meat trays and packing foam. 

Visit Which Bin to find out how to dispose of specific items.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastics, the kind that can be scrunched into a ball, are among the biggest problems in the kerbside recycling system as they get caught in the recycling machinery.

Soft plastics can only be recycled through the REDcycle website program at participating supermarkets.

The plastic is used as a resource to produce a huge range of recycled plastic related products, from fitness circuits to sturdy outdoor furniture, bollards, signage and more.

To locate a drop off point in your area visit REDcycle.

What you can recycle:

  • Plastic shopping bags (single use)

  • Bread, rice, pasta, lolly and cereal bags

  • Biscuit packs (but not the trays)

  • Frozen food bags

  • Newspaper wrap

  • Bubble wrap

  • Dry cleaning bags

  • Fruit and veg bags and netting

  • Toilet paper and similar product packaging

  • Old green (and other re-usable) bags.

Biodegradable, Degradable, Compostable

The difference in the types of plastic bags we use day-to-day can be confusing. Unfortunately, this mix-up can lead to the wrong bags contaminating our green bins.

The below tips will help clarify what goes where.

For more recycling tips, visit our Reducing Waste Page.

Degradable - Goes in your waste to landfill bin

Degradable describes where the ordinary plastics are treated with additives, usually consisting of heavy metals to cause the material to disintegrate over a number of years.  

Causes of the degradation: sunlight, time, water, chemicals, micro-organisms

Time to degrade: varies, but generally a long time

Biodegradable - Goes in your waste to landfill bin

Biodegradable plastic bags are a specific type of degradable. But that still doesn’t mean they are ok to compost.

Causes of the degradation: mainly naturally occurring micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi

Time to degrade: varies from days to months to years depending on the material and environment

Compostable Goes in your green organics bin

Compostable bags are a specific type of biodegradable that:

  • are made from 100% compostable materials (cornstarch, vegetable oil and a compostable polyester) that need to be certified to Australian Standard AS4736-2006.

  • break down at the same rate as paper

  • looks like compost when fully broken down

  • do not leave a toxic residue 

  • should be able to support plant life

Causes of the degradation: microbiological, in a controlled environment

Time to degrade: around 30 days in a commercial composting environment