Can I recycle that?

Can I recycle that? An updated guide to reducing, reusing and recycling

Recycling is an essential part of waste management that helps reduce the strain on natural resources and minimizes environmental impact. However, the recycling rules can vary depending on local facilities and regulations.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you understand ‘Can I recycle that? ‘ and what can typically be recycled and how to reduce and reuse effectively.

Items that can be recycled in your bin:

  • Paper: office paper, magazines, newspapers, and junk mail
  • Cardboard: unsoiled, clean cardboard
  • An important note on pizza boxes/soiled cardboard and paper: Cardboard is quite valuable so please tear off clean parts of the pizza box and recycle that part in your blue bin. Cardboard soiled with oil and/or food cannot be recycled in your blue recycling bin. Add small pieces to your compost bin or place the excess in your red garbage bin.

Items that can be recycled in your yellow bin:

  • Green, clear, and brown glass bottles and jars
  • Juice and milk cartons
  • All hard plastic bottles and containers are marked, but no lids, please
  • Steel (tin) and aluminum cans and empty aerosols

Items that cannot be recycled:

  • Plastic bags or recyclables inside plastic bags (see note below)
  • Takeaway coffee cups
  • Disposable nappies
  • Garden waste – straight to the green bin!
  • Polystyrene (foam)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Syringes or medical waste
  • Dead animals
  • Oils
  • Ceramics, ovenware or light bulbs

Paper and Cardboard

    • Recyclable: Office paper, newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes, and paper packaging.
    • Non-Recyclable: Paper towels, tissues, greasy pizza boxes, and wax-coated paper.
    • Preparation: Remove any plastic tape from boxes, flatten them, and keep paper products dry.


    • Recyclable: Bottles, containers, jugs (usually marked with recycling symbols #1 and #2).
    • Non-Recyclable: Plastic bags, film wrap, Styrofoam, and items without a recycling symbol.
    • Preparation: Rinse out any food residue, and do not crush bottles (this can make them harder to sort).


    • Recyclable: Bottles and jars of any color.
    • Non-Recyclable: Windows, mirrors, light bulbs, and ceramics.
    • Preparation: Rinse out any residue, and remove lids or caps.

Batteries (Including Lead Acid)

Lead acid batteries are 98% recyclable and are hazardous if not handled correctly. Contact your local Council for more information on recycling batteries. Drop-off points are also located at most Aldi, Repco Auto, Battery World or Super Cheap Auto Stores.

Mobile Phones Recycling

It is estimated only 3% of mobile phones are recycled, wasting precious resources. There are some mobile phone recycling programs where you can drop off your old phones.

Garden Waste and Organics

If you have a green bin collection service, use it for all garden organics and food scraps. Or you can start your own composting or worm farm by following these simple steps.


Old clothing, blankets or sheets can be donated to your local charity store including St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army or The Smith Family. Check your local directory for details. The RSPCA or local pound often accepts blankets in the wintertime.

Printer Cartridges Recycling

You can drop off your used or empty laser and inkjet cartridges at Officeworks and participating Australia Post, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, and JB Hi-Fi stores. Inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges and toner bottles are accepted.

Reducing and Reusing


  • Buy in Bulk: Reduce packaging waste by purchasing items in bulk.
  • Avoid Single-Use Items: Opt for reusable bags, bottles, and containers.
  • Choose Products with Minimal Packaging: Select products with less packaging or packaging that is easily recyclable.


  • Repurpose Containers: Use jars, bottles, and boxes for storage or DIY projects.
  • Donate: Give gently used clothing, furniture, and electronics to charity.
  • Upcycle: Get creative with old items to give them a new purpose, such as turning old t-shirts into cleaning rags.

Tips for Effective Recycling

  • Cleanliness: Ensure items are free of food and liquid residue to avoid contamination.
  • Separation: Follow local guidelines for separating recyclables.
  • Education: Stay informed about changes in recycling regulations and new opportunities for reducing waste.

You can print a Recycle Right poster to display in your school, workplace or home from Queanbeyan council website 

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