Recycle Right

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#Recycle Right is a new region-wide campaign asking people to make some simple changes to our recycling routines.

The main message of this new campaign is to keep it simple and ensure only clean and correct recycling materials are place in the yellow bin. It is essential that we have clean recyclables that can be sent off for remanufacturing in Australia and overseas.

Even our ads are recycled! This has been developed by the North East Waste Network of councils in the Northern Rivers area and funded by the NSW EPA. It has been made available free of charge to other NSW councils and the ACT Government to help encourage consistent messaging across the industry.

Recycle Right #1 - Keep it Simple

Only recycle:

Recycle Right #2 - Keep Out Soft Plastics

Keep Out:

Recycle Right #3 - Keep Out Small Items

Don’t place anything smaller than a credit card into your recycling bin, this includes:

Recycle Right #4 - Keep it Safe

Keep it safe for our MRF workers and machines … which means nothing hazardous that can harm our workers or anything that can damage the machines.

Keep out strapping line, hose, netting, wires, building materials, broken glass, chemicals and other hazardous materials.

Recycle Right #5 - Keep it Clean

Keep it clean by rinsing or wiping out your containers of any excess food, drink etc.

Keep out:

Recycle Right #6 - Keep it Loose

Place your recyclables loose into your recycling bin.

Don’t bag or box your recyclables.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have the recycling rules changed?

Changes to China’s recycling rules in January 2018 have affected the recycling industry across the world.

For a long time, China was the largest importer of the world’s recycling, accepting over 30 million tonnes every year and ultimately having the capability to drive recycling prices and practices worldwide.

Until a few years ago, China accepted recyclables with a contamination level of around 5% (contamination being incorrect items mixed in with the material to be recycled). This meant China accepted a large proportion of the world’s waste, which was then their problem to deal with.

The ‘National Sword Policy’ introduced in January 2018 enforces a strict contamination limit of 0.5%, which sent the global recycling industry into shock – much of the world’s recycling could not meet this new export standard.

The National Sword Policy is a catalyst for change, forcing us to recycle better, develop new technologies to better sort our recycling and develop new industry within Australia that supports the processing and manufacture of goods using recycled content.

The #RecycleRight campaign is all about ensuring we have clean and uncontaminated recycling.

Why can’t we recycle lids and other small things anymore?

Anything small is unable to be sorted at the Materials Recovery Facility – it falls through gaps in the recycling machinery and can contaminate our recyclables and glass sand. Items smaller than a credit card are simply too small to be sorted and separated effectively.

To solve this issue in the past, small items like plastic tags and lids could be put into a larger container. However, these items are all made of different types of plastic. These could previously be processed together but with changes to the recycling industry there is no longer a market for many mixed plastics, and all different types need to be sorted and separated for recycling. It is important that items are EMPTY for recycling.

As part of the new #RecycleRight routines we are asking you to remove lids and place anything smaller than a credit card into your red landfill bin.

Why do I have to wash containers? Won’t rinsing waste water?

Keeping recyclables clean is important to ensuring they can be processed effectively and are able to be sold in competitive markets. We need people to wipe, scrape or rinse out food and drink before placing containers in the recycling bin.

Rinsing containers under a running tap is wasting water but by adding the empty containers to your daily dish washing pile, they can be cleaned with the water you are already using.

Why can’t I place recyclable items in a bag or box?

Recycling inside plastic bags or boxes goes to waste in landfill. The sorting process at the Materials Recycling Facility means that staff are unable to open bags for safety reasons and so bagged material gets removed from the conveyor belt. Keeping items loose ensures they can be sorted properly.

Which bin do I put cardboard in?

Put clean cardboard into your recycling bin.

When an item has a recycling triangle, can it go in the recycling bin?

No! Not every plastic item with a plastics identification triangle symbol can be recycled in the ACT.  Only packaging and containers with the symbols 1,2,3 and 5 are accepted in the ACT Region. The plastics triangle identifies the type of resin. Our factsheets provide more information about the Plastics Identification Codes.

The Australasian Recycling Label is starting to appear on products but the best thing is to follow the #RecycleRight recycling routines and you can’t go wrong!



Keep it out
Keep it out

(PDF 2.5MB)

Bin Stickers
Bin Stickers

(PDF 845KB)

Recycle Right videos

Keep out hazardous waste

Keep out soft plastics

Keep out small items

Keep it safe

Keep it clean

Keep it loose

Keep it simple