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Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?

Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?

8th November 2020
By: Julie - F&F
Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?


Are you a recycling expert? Maybe you're just starting out and trying to figure out what can and can't be recycled. Some great questions we ask ourselves when making purchases are "What is this made of?" "Can this be recycled?" "Where can I recycle this and what will it be turned into?"

You might already know this but, our boxes here at Flora & Fauna are made right here in Sydney from recycled cardboard! This is a great example of how your recycled cardboard at home can be made into something new. We also have our Recycle & Save program (which we'll go into depth about), which helps turn your old beauty products packaging into things like park benches, community gardens/planters and much more. See? Recycling can be really fun! 

We know recycling can get a bit confusing and maybe even overwhelming, so let us break it down for you! 

Are you recycling responsibly? 

We all know that the life of our waste doesn’t end when the rubbish trucks drive past in the early hours of the morning - although it’s easy to adopt an ‘out of sight and out of mind’ attitude once they’ve been collected and we’re left with a fresh slate for the week. This way of thinking is slowly being challenged thanks to the rise of social media where being blind to our waste is no longer an option due to our feeds being “littered” with confronting images of our rubbish and its deadly impact on our environment.

While recycling is brilliant (when done correctly), reducing or reusing should be our first consideration when purchasing new items. Empty peanut butter jars, Nuttelex tubs and other containers can be used to house other pantry items. 

Can't reuse it? Find the right bin! 

It’s only when both options are exhausted that we should turn to how we can best recycle our waste. Recycling services do differ from council to council, so we decided to detail below a basic Recycling 101 to serve as a refresher as to what can and cannot be recycled as well as explain what exactly those REDcycle bins are and how our F&F and Terracycle service (that’s regularly promoted here at F&F) actually works.

Back to the basics - What can I recycle?

In most suburbs in Australia, at home recyclable products break down into two categories:

  • Containers/packaging
  • Paper & cardboard 

If you're sure what can go in your recycling bin, check your local council's website. If you live in Sydney, you can download these free bin stickers and posters for your home. 

Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?


Containers/packaging - Many items made of plastic, aluminium, steel and glass can be recycled.

Examples include:

  • plastic soft-drink and water bottles
  • aerosol cans
  • aluminium and steel tins/cans
  • glass bottles and jars
  • juice and milk cartons and bottles
  • plastic food containers

What are those triangles again?

Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?

The number in the triangle identifies the type of plastic a container is made from, not whether or not it is recyclable. The symbol can be mistaken for something being recyclable. Check with your council what is accepted. 


Paper and Cardboard - You can recycle all sorts of paper and cardboard items including those listed below:

  • newspapers and magazines (staples are fine)
  • advertising material (remove plastic wrap)
  • phone books
  • envelopes
  • cardboard boxes
  • Pizza boxes can generally be recycled if there aren't too many food scraps stuck on


Items that cannot be recycled at home:

  • Plastic bags
  • Polystyrene such as foam packaging/food trays
  • Window glass, light globes, mirrors
  • Pyrex, crockery, drinking glasses
  • Sharps and syringes
  • Nappies
  • Waxed or cardboard containers with food scraps, tissue paper and napkins cannot be recycled

This is a good checklist to see what your council does and does not recycle. Some of them have good websites now but, from our research, there are differences and there isn't a one size fits all approach to recycling. 


Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?
Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?

So what do I do with plastic bags and soft plastics?

All of our major supermarkets now accept plastic shopping bags for recycling. There is usually a plastic bag recycling collection bin at the front of the store or in the carpark. The REDcycle program is a fantastic scheme that now recycles the below soft plastics (including plastic bags!).

source: REDcycle

Your empty soft plastics will be recycled into useful new products like signage, fitness circuits and outdoor furniture.

F&F Recycling Program

Not sure what to do with your empty beauty tubes or makeup tubs? We’ve got the solution for you - anything bought at Flora & Fauna can now be returned to us and we will collate, separate and recycle. We work with TerraCycle who help eliminate waste by recycling the non-recyclable. In exchange for returning your empty products, we will credit your Flora & Fauna account AU $10.00 for being planet-friendly and helping our environment! Read more about our Recycle & Save program.  


What does TerraCycle do?

Terracycle can collect, and recycle, almost any form of waste. So whether that is coffee pods, beauty tubes, juice packets and even chip bags, Terracycle makes new products out of the waste. With beauty products, they melt the plastic and remould it into new recycled products such as bench seats, chairs and tables. You can find out more here. We also have TerraCycle boxes that you can use in your home and work to recycle. These are sent back to TerraCycle for recycling. There are snack wrapper ones for break rooms and much more. 

Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?

Recycling Near You

Recycling Near You is a fantastic site where you can find out about what you can and can't recycle as well as search for drop-off locations to recycle a wide range of items including electronic waste, batteries, printer cartridges, whitegoods, furniture etc.

Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?Recycling 101 - What Can You Recycle?

Let us know your thoughts!

Top Sustainable Retailer | Flora & FaunaTop Sustainable Retailer | Flora & Fauna
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