Recycling confusion really is a thing.

While many of us think we are doing the right thing by separating cardboard from other waste, it turns out we may be doing more harm than good.

When it comes to recycling bins with yellow lids, people must be mindful of the types of plastics that can and can’t be thrown in, according to Daily Mail.

For example:

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Tissue boxes – The soft plastic on tissue boxes must be removed and thrown in a REDCycle bin, while the cardboard can be flattened and put in a yellow bin.

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Coffee cups – Coffee cup lids will need to be washed and separated from their body before they’re tossed into a yellow bin, with the cup unable to be recycled because of its lining.

coffee cup

Wine bottles -You need to rinse and remove lids before ditching the bottles, but take note both compartments can be thrown in the yellow bin.

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Plastic bottles – Caps should also be removed from plastic bottles before they hit the yellow bin, and the small ring around the bottleneck should be cut to avoid it endangering animal lives down the track.

Pizza boxes – People who usually toss pizza boxes straight into a yellow bin should re-evaluate their habits, with scraps not only making for a smelly bin but also contaminating entire loads of recycling.

Jayne Paramor from national environmental group, The Boomerang Alliance said, ‘What I usually do with my pizza boxes is rip off the part with leftover toppings still stuck to it, throw it in garbage bin and the other half in recycling,’ she told news.com.au.

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My nine year old was only telling me about the coffee cups last night. I had no idea! He told me if it can hold water then it has a coating on it and should not be recycled. Same as party cups. Smart boy!

Share your tips below.


  • I agree, still so confusing. There needs to be a decent education program and/or stickers we can place on our bins. I try so hard to recycle whilst my family now make fun of me because they’re confused too. Based on this, it’s clearly still so hit and miss. And when we’re nearly in a drought, it’s really hard to be expected to rinse everything. I assumed that would happen during the recycling process.


  • So much to remember but worth taking the time to do.


  • THanks so much for posting this – I’ve been making mistakes!


  • I leave my wine bottle caps on I will be removing them from now on thanks


  • It wasn’t until recently that I found about seperate from the lids from the coffee cups…. feel bad for how many I’ve tossed


  • I always remove the lids off bottles and also the labels and use my own travel mug for take-away coffee. Our shire has only just started recycling and we only got basic instructions.


  • This makes totally sense and is something we have been doing. I also remove the plastic windows of the envelopes.


  • I really think we need more advertising of what can be recycled, so many are putting the wrong things in, I have seen frypans and crockery in recycle bins too. There is a lot of information online just look up your local council and see if it is on their website or just ask them. We all need to do our bit and we should be buying more things in bulk, I like to buy my dry goods in bulk direct from growers if I can. I just got 5 kg of buckwheat and just ordered the same in quinoa both direct from Tasmanian growers. Google or look up farmhouse direct.com.au.


  • Even though I am a REDCycle enthusiast, I had never considered taking the plastic off tissue boxes.


  • There is a new program being run to recycle coffee cups and straws… but you need to take it to them. Worth investigating for those wanting to recycle as much as they can


  • Pleased this post has been recycled. I never realised that the tops should be removed from bottles until a news item the other day where the reporter was stating that as the plastic/glass bottle is being crushed the handlers in the recyclable plant were in danger as the lid flies off and can hit them anywhere. As it flies off with a force, they can be badly bruised or even end up with bad eye problems should the lid hit them there.
    More education is needed so we can recycle effectively as well as efficiently.


  • You should join Zero Waste Victoria on facebook. You can ask any questions there. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ZeroWasteVictoria/

    That is why Keepcups have become so popular, because they’re not recyclable through kerbside collections


  • I think things need to be made clearer about exactly what can and can’t be recycled. I didn’t know about the coffee cups until I saw an advert on the tv. They also tell us not to waste water but you need to do more than just wash things before putting things in to recycle.


  • I do think we need a new list as I didn’t know about the cups


  • Does anyone else see the employment opportunities that would be created if we just chuck everything in one bin and let professionals sort it out properly? More would be recycled and there would be less recyclables going to land fill because of contamination.

    • No, what professional garbage sorters?, are you kidding me, we just need to make less rubbish in the first place.


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