Changes to recycling

The rules around recycling have recently changed in Western Australia. We know this can be confusing, so please read the below FAQs which help explain these changes and the reasons behind them. 

Why have the rules of recycling changed?

There have been changes regarding what can and can’t be recycled in your yellow lid (recycling) bin for councils across the Perth Metropolitan Area, including the City of Canning. These changes have occurred as part of an effort to reduce contamination in recycling bins and make recycling easier for everyone to understand.

In the past there’s been a lot of different information about what goes into your recycling bin depending on where you live. Over time, there has been some confusion about what can and can’t go into the yellow lid bin. Changes in the industry and tighter restrictions on recyclable products now mean that some materials previously accepted will now be excluded, in an effort to reduce contamination and produce a cleaner stream of recyclable materials.

Many of the items that should not be placed into your recycling bins either cannot be recovered through your kerbside collection or can get mixed up with other streams and spoil good quality recyclables. Some items, such as hazardous materials, can even pose risks to staff and equipment involved in the recycling process.

For more information as to what can and can’t go into your bins, head to www.canning.wa.gov.au/waste

Why do bottle lids need to be removed from bottles?

Lids and containers are often made from different types of materials. By separating them and putting the lid in the green lid bin and container into the yellow lid bin, you are ensuring that the recycling stream does not become contaminated. Bottle lids are also too small to be collected for processing by the machinery at the Materials Recovery Facility (the place where recyclables go to be sorted) and can impact the operation of this machinery.

Additionally, when the lid is kept on a container it has the potential to retain any contents inside, which can weigh the container down and interfere with the sorting process. The items inside also have the potential to spoil, contaminate other recyclables, and be hazardous to workers. It is for these reasons that we ask you to remove the lids from bottles.

Why can’t I bag my recyclables in my yellow lid bin?

Recyclables that are bagged cannot be properly sorted at the Materials Recovery Facility as they pose a potential hazard to workers and cannot be opened. Any recyclables that are bagged will be removed from the recycling stream and sent to landfill. Plastic bags also cannot be recycled through the kerbside bin system, and should instead be taken to your local participating supermarket for recycling through the REDcycle program.

Why do containers need to be rinsed and clean?

Containers, especially containing any type of food or liquid, should be rinsed prior to placing into the yellow lid bin. Recyclables are sorted at the Materials Recovery Facility into different types, before being baled and sent to a factory for further processing. To reduce the potential of contamination occurring as a result of residual rotting contents in containers, please rinse your containers before placing them into the recycling bin. This also ensures a safer working environment for workers that come in contact with your recyclables.

How clean do my recyclables need to be?

We ask for items to be rinsed to reduce the risk of contamination from food residue sitting in containers and for the safety of workers handling the material. You can use your leftover washing up water to give your recyclables a quick rinse before placing them in the yellow lid bin, to remove remaining food and liquid. If an item is not able to be rinsed or contains oily or sticky residue which is difficult to remove through rinsing, it should be placed into your general waste (green lid) bin so as not to contaminate clean recyclables.

Which plastics can I recycle?

Most hard plastics can be recycled. However, there are some types of plastic that can’t go in your recycling bin such as

  • polystyrene and foam
  • plastic bags and soft, scrunchable plastics and
  • bottle lids. 

Can meat trays be put in my yellow lid bin?

To avoid confusion, all types of meat trays are not accepted in the yellow lid bin. This is due to a number of factors, including:

  • some meat trays are made from polystyrene
  • meat trays are often contaminated with residue from meat and
  • meat trays made from black plastic cannot be detected by the optical scanners at the Materials Recovery Facility

It is for these reasons we ask you to place meat trays in your green lid bin.

What can I do with my waste aerosols?

Waste aerosols cannot be placed in the green lid bin or yellow lid bin. This is due to any residual flammable product in the aerosol container having the potential to be a safety and fire hazard once being collected for processing. Due to this, these items have been classified as Household Hazardous Waste and can be dropped off for free at the City of Canning’s Wast Transfer Station on Ranford Road in Canning Vale.

How do I recycle clothing, shoes and fabric?

Never put clothing, shoes or fabric in your recycling bin. These items cause damage to the machinery and can lead to lost time when they get tangled in the moving parts. If in usable condition, you can donate to a local charity or if items are in unwearable condition they can be reused as rags around the home before being disposed of in the green lid bin.Visit giv.org.au for more information.

Can my pizza box be recycled?

Pizza boxes can only be recycled if the cardboard is clean with no food residue. If your pizza box is stained with grease or oil residue, it can contaminate the clean cardboard recycling stream. In most instances, the lid of pizza boxes are clean, which can be separated from the bottom. The clean lid can be placed in the yellow lid bin, while the stained bottom can be placed in the green lid bin.

What types of glass can’t be recycled?

Ceramics such as broken plates and mugs should be placed in your green lid bin. Pyrex materials also cannot be recycled and should be placed in your green lid bin.

What is E-waste and what can I do with my E-waste? Why can’t it go in my bins at home?

Electronic waste (E-waste) is any unwanted or discarded electronic item(s) including:

  • Keyboards
  • Computers and computer parts
  • Laptops and laptop parts
  • Mobile phones
  • Monitors
  • Printers
  • Televisions
  • Entertainment devices such as CD players, DVD players or VCRs

E-waste can contain toxic and hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic which can present serious environmental and health risks if exposed to the natural environment and as such should never be placed in your bins at home. Additionally, these items can also contain precious metals which, if disposed of to landfill, can be lost forever. Recycling these items means these precious metals can be recovered and remain in the economy.Your E-waste can be dropped off for free at our Waste Transfer Station on Ranford Road in Canning Vale.

Can batteries be placed in my bins at home?

Batteries should never be placed in your bins at home. Batteries can cause serious safety issues if they are collected through kerbside services which include fire and explosion risk. Additionally, batteries that end up in landfill can leach toxic chemicals (such as cadmium, lead or mercury) into the ground, contaminating soil and water. These chemicals can cause significant environmental and health issues.

Batteries can be disposed of at a battery collection point at the following places within Canning:

  • Willetton Library
  • Cannington Library
  • Riverton Library
  • Bentley Hub Library
  • The Waste Transfer Station on Ranford Road in Canning Vale
  • Officeworks Cannington
  • Battery World Welshpool

More information

The State Government has launched a new website, Own Your Impact, to help the community reduce waste and recycle correctly. To contact the City for more information, phone 1300 422 664 during the business hours of 8.15am and 4.30pm.