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Now, we’re not saying you don’t know the difference between your red, yellow and green bins. But could your recycling cause contamination, despite your best intentions? Or maybe some random items are guiltily hidden in the rubbish bin because you’re not sure what to do with them? Our last article about recycling plastics was so popular, we decided to come back with more pro tips.

Here are 3 easy ways to make sure you get your recycling pretty perfect.

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Those cute fish-shaped soy sauce containers have a habit of hanging around. They show up everywhere, from desk drawer to handbag. Can they be recycled? Yes, but this comes with a caveat. Even if properly disposed of, small items like sushi fish can be lost at the recycling plant. Put them inside a bigger plastic container, like a bottle or tub. The idea is to keep them contained within something else of the same material. The same goes for beer bottle tops – put them in a tin can and squeeze the lid shut. A trick for Easter time is to save all the chocolate egg wrappers and weave them into a mega aluminium foil ball before recycling.

Rinsing is old school

One of the most common questions we’re asked is if it’s necessary to rinse before recycling. The answer is no. Items don’t need to be perfectly clean, just empty and dry. Because containers and paper are mixed together in the City’s recycling system, mould can easily take over and then…dreaded contamination! Mould is not good news for the paper-pulping process. So, give things a rinse to keep your bin smelling fresh, but pat them dry afterwards.

Awkwaarrddd…what to do with unusual items 

Pop quiz – Which of the following items can be recycled: mattresses, aerosol cans, coffee capsules and dental floss? The answer is all of them. Here’s what to do with your old…

  • Mattress: The community-minded folk at Sydney Rubbish Services offer a free pick-up service from inside the home for elderly people, and will even sweep up after. Or, you can book a City pick up if you live locally
  • Coffee capsules and dental products (floss and toothbrushes): These seeming ‘unrecyclables’ bound for the tip can get a second life with the help of TerraCycle. TerraCycle has a bunch of free programs for various weird items – all you have to do is sign up and post your things to them.

Don’t forget, recycling is great but re-use is better. Enter, eBay or Gumtree.

Still not sure? Here’s a short video that explains things:

Want more recycling help? Find out what to do with plastics or ask our Garbage Guru specific questions.

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