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10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

Flickr - Kevin Dooley

To reduce personal waste, there is no better place to start than confronting what’s in your household bin. Most of us like to think we’re pretty savvy when it comes to recycling but there’s probably some things you're throwing in the bin that could actually be recycled. Here are 10 items you could give new life to.


1. Old paint tins

Do you have an odd paint tin or two lurking in the garden shed? According to the ABC, Australians throw out 7.3 million litres of unused paint each year. Now a not-for-profit organisation Paintback have made it possible for households and trades people to recycle old tins of paint with 50 collection points around Australia. From there it will be taken offsite to be treated and recycled.

2. Mobile phones

Before you recycle, you should always try to reuse. If your own phone is broken, try repairing it. Or if it’s still in working condition you can donate it to charity so someone else can use it. If it’s truly beyond repair or at the end of its lifecycle, don’t throw it in the bin; phones that end up in landfill can contaminate the environment. There are many organisations that will recycle old phones such as Mobile Muster in Australia. You can simply search for a drop off point or even mail it in free of charge for safe disposal.

Read more: 75% of All Plastic Ever Made Has Been Thrown Away and Other Startling Facts

3. Plastic Bags and soft plastics

Plastic shopping bags and soft plastics such as packaging from biscuits, rice, and pasta can not be recycled in normal household recycling bins in Australia. However they can be recycled through REDcycle. To find out what’s accepted and a drop off point near you (probably at your nearest Coles supermarket) look here.

4. Printer cartridges

Places such as CartridgeWorld can refill your printer cartridges otherwise you can recycle them. You can find drop of points around Australia here.

5. Batteries

Every Aldi supermarket store in Australia now has bins where you can drop off your household batteries to be recycled. Find out more about recycling different types of batteries in Australia at Planet Ark

6. Blister packs & contact lenses

TerraCycle and Bausch + Lomb have partnered to create another free program for recycling disposable contact lenses and blister packs. Find out more here.

Read more: India's New Roads Are Made With Recycled Plastic


7.  Toothpaste tubes & toothbrushes

TerraCycle have partnered with Colgate to create a free recycling program for all oral care packaging. You can find drop of points around Australia here.

8. Coffee Pods

Using coffee pods creates a lot of waste so think first about how you make your favourite caffeine fix. Some brands of coffee pods can now be recycled and given new life thanks to this free program.

9. Old towels and blankets

Animal-rescue shelters can often use old holey towels and blankets to create cosy beds for lost dogs and cats. Phone ahead to arrange drop off.

10. Old bras

Whether they no longer fit of they’re wearing a bit thin, instead of throwing out old bras you can donate them to the Uplift Project who donate them to women in disadvantaged communities who can not afford or access them.