Frequently Asked (Tricky) Questions About Recycling

This page is under revision.

Please visit our ReUse hub for informaiton on what you can do to reduce your impact.

Battery Recycling Collection Programmes

Please visit the below links of companies who offer battery recycling programmes:
http://www.batteryrecycling.org.au/recycling/handheld-batteries
http://www.transpacific.com.au/content/battery-recycling.aspx
https://www.ecoactiv.com.au/batteries/?gclid=COuZsJSar74CFceUvQodC14Alg
http://www.sita.com.au/commercial-solutions/resource-recovery-recycling/battery-recycling1/
Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you require further assistance.

Bins

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark. We provide recycling resources and information including signage for recycling bins on the following websites:

http://businessrecycling.com.au/research/signage.cfm

http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/education/

http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/recycling-info/

Unfortunately we do not provide indoor recycling bins. Please visit the below websites for various providers of indoor recycling bins. Please be aware we do not endorse or specifically recommend any of the below websites, these are provided as a courtesy for your information only:

http://www.ecobin.com.au/

http://www.sourceseparationsystems.com.au/
http://www.ottobins.com.au/index.php?route=common/home
http://www.sulo.com.au/products/office-recycling/
http://www.bins4recycling.com.au/Internal.aspx
http://www.hsw.com.au/?product=&search=recycling&x=0&y=0&op=search_products
http://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/kitchen-cleaning/bins-liners/recycling-bins

Biodegradable Plastic

For a material to ‘biodegrade’ it needs to have the availability of oxygen to do so. If a ‘biodegradable’ material gets put into landfill this is an anaerobic environment (lacking oxygen) and cannot biodegrade as it should, though it may well break down faster than normal plastics.
Some items are termed as ‘compostable’ which basically means you can put them in your compost bin to break down. But unless you have a ‘hot’ compost they will take quite a long time to do so.
Having said all of the above my suggestion would be that you talk further with a company called BioPak and see if they can assist you further.

Books

Text books made of paper, and with paper covers can be recycled as normal paper, either in your council bin or through local council waste transfer stations.

If you are looking to donate text books which are in decent conditions, you may want to consider one or a few of the following options:

Aboriginal Literacy Foundation - http://www.aboriginalliteracyfoundation.org/how-you-can-help/make-a-donation/book-donation-guidelines/

About:The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation believes that positive and practical change to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people starts with literacy and numeracy. As a result they greatly appreciate donations of Children’s Books.

Brotherhood Books (Victoria) http://www.brotherhoodbooks.org.au/

About:Brotherhood Books an initiative of the Brotherhood of St Laurence to encourage the recycling of high quality books and to contribute funds to the Brotherhood’s charitable operations. To donate your book simply drop them off at one off one of the community stores located across Victoria.

Bus of Books - http://busofbooks.com/

About: Bus of Books is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing young people in rural and disadvantaged communities within Australia with resources and programs to read and succeed. Before donating your pre loved books please refer to their guidelines .
To donate your pre loved books simply post them to:
Attn: Bus of Books Community Project
?27 Mars Road, LANE COVE NSW 2066.

Embrace Education -http://www.embrace-education.org

About: Students we work with are often in need of high-school textbooks and study guides. Due to limited storage space, we cannot accept all textbooks which we are offered. Please see our websitefor information about the sorts of books and study guides we are currently accepting. Used Cambridge Checkpoints books are always in high-demand!

If you have any items to donate please send an e-mail to donations@embrace-education.org. Be sure to include in the e-mail your name, what items you have to donate, your suburb, and a contact number. All details will be kept entirely confidential.

Modbury Hospital Foundation (South Australia) - http://www.mhfoundation.org.au

About: Books are sold on our regular trading tables to raise funds for the Hospital. Books are sold within our Gift Shop at reduced price, providing resources to Hospital patients and families. To arrange for collection, please contact Modbury Hospital Foundation directly on 08 8161 2626. Or you can drop your books into the Gift Shop at Modbury Hospital.

Bread Tags

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark. We are unaware of any bread tag collections for charity or recycling in Australia. There is a Bread Tags of Wheelchairs programme overseas but it doesn’t operate here.
We recommend you keep the tags out of your recycling bin as they are too small to be processed and dispose of them in your normal waste bin.

Cash 4 Cans

For small quantities of Aluminium cans,you can simply place them in your recycling bin provided by your local council for kerbside collection.

Some scrap metal recyclers will pay for cans, the price will vary from .75c per kilo to $1.00 per kilo (approximately 30 cans).
 
I have listed some recyclers in the <your> area that may pay for large quantities of aluminium:

Child Car Seats

Planet Ark is not aware of any recyclers who accept Child Car seats in Australia. In general these seats are made up of a composite of materials that are not easy to separate for viable recycling. They also cannot be given to charity or sold secondhand online in case the seat has been structurally damaged in an accident which would mean the seat would no longer meet the Australian safety standard requirement.

Some seats have an inner core of Polystyrene and if this can be separated from the outer material it could be taken to a Polystyrene recycler.

(Have received information from a member of the public that in Basywater VIC a recycler Olima does accept them. They also process polystyrene)

Christmas Cards

The Cards 4 Planet Ark program ended 5 years ago, as kerbside paper recycling is now widely available across Australia. So all greetings cards can simply go with other cardboard and paper recyclables.
The incredible success of the Cards 4 Planet Ark campaign led to other great initiatives - for example Cartridges 4 Planet Ark & the new Battery Recycling at all Aldi Stores around Australia.
You can find out more about what is and isn't recycled in your local council here:
http://www.recyclingnearyou.com.au/

Coffee Cups

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark and your efforts to recycle.

Like most items that are technically recyclable there are sometimes limitations in regards to collection and the options available.

The range of take away coffee cups being one of those items.

As a general rule-of-thumb, cups that are:

  • Biodegradable paper cups without lining - without plastic lid and after rinsing - can go in a paper or co-mingled recycling bin
  • Waxed paper, plastic or polystyrene cups should be placed in a waste bin unless expressly identified - for example:
  • Even though the plastic lids have a recycled category number on them, it doesn’t mean that they are accepted by all recycler contractors. It is always best to check with your local council or waste services provider.

If unsure - it is best to place them in a waste bin rather than the recycling one. Incorrect items can contaminate tons of recyclable items, which results in far more ending up in landfill unintentionally.

Planet Ark encourages the message of reduce, re-use and recycle. Keep Cups are an innovative Australian product attempting to address the millions of disposable coffee cups in a stylish way. More information can be found of their website www.keepcup.com

Coffee Pods

According to their own website they have a recycling program worldwide (including Australia). More details here:

http://www.nespresso.com/ecolaboration/au/en/article/2/2910/introducing-nespresso-s-capsule-recycling-program-in-australia.html

Drop off locations listed here:

https://www.nespresso.com/au/en/pages/services-recycling

Alternatively, once you remove the coffee - you can scrunch several pods together and thereby making them recyclable.
The general rule of thumb is that materials must be larger than a golfball to get through the conveyor belts for recycling (otherwise they are simply too light and go undetected)
Aluminium is separated by magnets in Material Recovery Facilities - so you can scrunch foil and pods together to make larger recyclable objects.
However - this is not the case for all of the new "pod" products on the market. Many combine plastic and other materials making them pretty much non-recyclable.

Computer / Television Recycling Scheme

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark. We provide recycling information through our Recycling Near You and Business Recycling websites and information lines. We do not collect or recycle materials ourselves for the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.
Please click here for more information on the National Television and Computer Recycling scheme.
Here are some other useful resources from our websites related to your query:
http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/documents/doc-1211-product-stewardship-factsheet.pdf
http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/documents/doc-1005-e-waste-factsheet.pdf
http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/recycling-info/ewaste.cfm

Corks

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark. Unfortunately most of the places that accepted corks for recycling no longer do so. This is because the Victorian manufacturer who paid for them and turned them into cork flooring is no longer paying for the corks. The main reason for this is that often the corks weren't virgin cork and had other resins in, which produced an inferior end product. They now take virgin cork from overseas.
This has left a big gap for cork recycling in Australia, we do not know of anyone else who accepts them for recycling. However they can be reused for craft purposes, as garden mulch or can be placed in a compost bin (not your Green Waste bin unless your council states otherwise).
I hope this information has been helpful to you and I'm sorry we weren't able to offer an alternative recycling drop off facility.

Fire Alarms

According to the The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency:

"The small amount of radioactive material in some smoke alarms is not a risk to health."

"Individual (or small numbers of) smoke alarms can be safely disposed of in domestic rubbish. The amount of radioactive material in each smoke alarm is extremely small. From environmental and public health perspectives, the disposal of individual smoke alarms with domestic rubbish does not represent any risk."

This is supported by the NSW Fire website and reinforced by what the NSW EPA says on their website :

"There are two types of smoke alarm commonly available. One type uses the radiation from a small amount of radioactive material to detect smoke or heat sources. The other type does not contain radioactive material – it uses a photoelectric sensor to detect the change in light level caused by smoke. Due to the small amount of material used and the secure means of its encapsulation, these smoke alarms are completely safe under all normal conditions it may encounter, including during a fire."

However; "When more than ten smoke alarms are collected together for bulk disposal, they must be treated as radioactive waste and the requirements of the National Health and Medical Research Council's Code of Practicefor the Near-Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste in Australia (1992) must be met." Contact ARPNSA for more details.

Fluoro

Fluorescent tubes should NOT be placed in a recycling bin. They are also unsafe to put straight into a rubbish bin, if broken they can be hazardous.

For fluoro light recycling collection boxes:

http://www.cmaecocycle.net/lighting-electrical/

http://www.sita.com.au/community-education/site-tours-education/recycling-tips/fluorescent-lighting/

http://www.transpacific.com.au/content/fluorescent-tube-recycling.aspx

http://www.lamprecyclers.com.au/

Furniture

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark. We provide a recycling information service only through our Recycling Near You and Business Recycling websites and information lines. We do not directly recycle ourselves or accept items of furniture.
If the items as you say are in good condition please contact directly organisations such as St Vincent De Paul or the Salvos Stores.
Other organisations who accept furniture are listed on the Give Now website
Alternatively you may wish to advertise your goods for free on one of the many share sites and hopefully someone who wants them will come and pick up for free. Try Freecycle, Gumtree or Tu Share.
I hope you find the above information of use to you.

Hearing Aid Batteries

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark. Hearing Aid batteries can be posted for recycling, please click the below link for further information:
 
Laminated glass

Unfortunately, laminated glass is technically not recyclable, but if you are able to remove the laminated layer, then there are a number of options, and specifically for VIC, they have the most modern and state-of-the-art facility at Glass Recovery Services (http://businessrecycling.com.au/business/15699).

NSW:

QLD:

SA

Neoprene (Wetsuit material)

Q: Options for recycling rubber (neoprene) wetsuits.

At the moment we don’t have a conclusive solution to offer. The nature of the material, neoprene, of the wetsuits does present its own particular issues.

There is some exploration into speaking with businesses that currently recycle tyres. We are also aware of a program that RipCurl are running overseas - http://ripcurlplanet.com/rip-curl-rubber-the-environment.html.

As I said before, nothing yet confirmed.

Should you find anything in your investigations please let us know and we will try and post the information accordingly.

 

An update as of 03/08/15 A surfing shop on the Central Coast NSW rang to confirm that based our information provided a year ago, he has now established a good working system through sending them to Molectra (John Dobozy) in QLD. Marcus is interested in generating more interest around this and so happy to talk with anyone interested in being involved.

Pens

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark.
Unfortunately you will need to dispose of your pens in the general waste bin.
Pens cannot be put in your kerbside recycling bin as they are too small to be picked up with other plastic containers for processing and are likely to contaminate the paper and cardboard recycling stream. There is no other specialist recycling collections for pens in Australia that we are aware of, though they do exist in other countries.

Photos

Thanks for contacting Planet Ark regarding your photographs.

You'll be happy to know that most recyclers who accept x-ray films will also take photographs (both ink printed and the negative ones) and recover the silver, where applicable. The items that don't contain silver will be shredded and turned into plastic scraps and cardboard which is then recycled.

To find your a x-ray recycler in/near your area simply click here.

Pillows

Unfortunately pillows cannot be recycled as they are made up of a composite of materials and there are no facilities that we know of in Australia that would process them for recycling. If you are interested in reusing your old pillow I have included a couple of link to articles I have found on the internet:
http://voices.yahoo.com/how-reuse-recycle-old-pillows-2437502.html
http://lifethegreenway.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/pillow-talk-7-ways-to-reuse-your-old.html

Plastic Bumper Bars

Thank you for contacting Planet Ark. Unfortunately on our Business Recycling website we do not have any listings specifically for plastic bumper bars. They do seem to be hard items to get recycled, a few of the businesses who accepted them no longer do so.
You will need to do a search on the website either under the Car Parts category or Plastics Rigid and contact the resulting listed recyclers directly to see if they will accept the bumper bars.
Sorry we couldn’t be of more specific assistance.

Prosthetic limbs

  • First option is to contact the hospital where the limb was attached to see if they have any donation/recycling program.
  • If you're in SA, there's Daw Park Repatriation Hospital, Orthotics & Prosthetics Department on 8276 9666 who recycle them.
  • Third option is the AOPA (http://www.aopa.org.au) or 1300 668 194

Rags / unwearable clothing

Finding recyclers that accept unwearable clothing for rags can be difficult. We do not have a comprehensive list of sites that accept these items nationwide.

H&M stores will accept any garment or textile in any condition. They have an extensive reuse and recycling programme worldwide and their Austrailan stores are part of the programme. Currently H&M have stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Indooroopilly (Brisbane). Click on the below links for further information:

http://www.hm.com/au/store-locator#store=AU0006

http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/reduce-waste/garment-collecting.html

In VIC, Melbourne Cleaning Cloths accept garments from various charities,they have advised us that they accept unwearable clothing through the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Bags of garments can be dropped off at the Brotherhood stores and they will be taken and sorted at their depot. King Cotton also have charity bins with the Make A Wish Foundation in Westfield shopping centres in Melbourne,

For more information click on the below links:

Brotherhood of St Laurence stores, Melbourne: http://stores.bsl.org.au/our-locations/

VIC: Melbourne Cleaning Cloths (http://businessrecycling.com.au/business/16669)

VIC: Melbourne King Cotton Australia (http://businessrecycling.com.au/business/16714)

In NSW, King Cotton have advised us that they have charity bins in most Westfield shopping centres in Sydney (and Melbourne), except Westfield Pitt St Mall in Sydney. Some of these bins will have the King Cotton sign on them or the Make a Wish Foundation. Unwearable garments can be placed in these bins for recycling:

NSW: King Cotton Australia (http://businessrecycling.com.au/business/16714)

In QLD, the H&M store in Indooroopilly Brisbane will accept unwearable garments:

http://www.hm.com/au/store-locator#store=AU0006

http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/reduce-waste/garment-collecting.html

For all states it is worth asking Charities if they acceptable unwearable garments as they may have a relationship with a clothing/rag recycler.

Allround Recycling (http://businessrecycling.com.au/business/16716)

Smith's Cleaning Rags (http://businessrecycling.com.au/business/16671) (accepts nationally as well)

WA: Clean Cloth Cotton Traders (http://businessrecycling.com.au/business/16715)

Sharps and needles

While these are generally not recycled as they are complex mixed materials and hazardous, you can contact SteriHealth who have a dedicated waste management program for health care providers. http://www.sterihealth.com.au/

Shoes

Thank you for contacting us and your interest in recycling shoes.

The charity organisation called Soles 4 Souls have drop off locations in all states territories and donate the shoes to those in need outside Australia.

Please have a look at their website http://www.soles4souls.com.au/ for details about where you can drop them off or give them a call at 0451 596 386.

Sodastream cylinder/cannister

Sodastream run an exchange program through their retail stockists to exchange empty gas cylinders.

Find out more:

http://www.sodastream.com.au/cylinder-exchange-information?gclid=COeez4-pqMoCFUccvAodCo0B6Q