Many kinds of plastic bottles and containers (such as takeaway food containers) can be recycled via your household recycling bin.
If your state or territory has a Container Deposit Scheme, you can return eligible plastic bottles for a 10c refund. Find out more about Container Deposit Schemes in your neighbourhood.
Why should I recycle my plastic bottles and containers?
Plastic bottles and containers are made from natural resources that are extracted from the earth such as crude oil, natural gas, and coal. As these resources are finite (a limited amount exists in the world), it is important to avoid puchasing plastic containers, where possible, to reduce the amount of natural resources used to make these products.
If purchasing plastic bottles and containers is not avoidable, recycling them will ensure the materials are used again to make new products, instead of being wasted in landfill. Most plastic is not biodegradable and will persist in the environment for hundreds of years.
Confusion with recycling plastic containers
A triangle with a number inside (1 to 7) stamped on a plastic container or bottle is called a Plastic Identification Code.
This code identifies the type of plastic used to make the product. It is not a recycling label and it does not mean the item can be recycled.
People often confuse the Plastic Identification Code for the global recycling symbol (Mobius Loop), which looks like three chasing arrows.
Can plastic lids be recycled?
Please check with your council for any specific local advice around recycling plastic lids. In general, we advise the following when recycling plastic bottles:
- Ensure the plastic bottle is empty and crush the bottle if possible. The lid may then be screwed lightly back onto the bottle and placed in the recycling bin (some councils prefer the lid to be removed and put in the garbage bin, so it is best to check).
- Most plastic lids and neck rings are not made from the same type of plastic as the container, but they can be easily separated in many recycling processing facilities.
- Plastic lids on their own (separated from the bottle) are too small for current recycling technology to pick up and sort, so do not place them loosely in your recycling bin.
How to recycle plastic at work
If your workplace or business has large quantities of plastic products such as bottles and containers to recycle, visit Business Recycling to find a suitable collection or pick-up service.
Businesses and workplaces have an important role to play in turning around Australia’s plastic problem, by salvaging these valuable materials for reuse and keeping them out of landfill. To find out how your workplace can help, use Business Recycling's toolkit, How to Reduce and Recycle Plastics at Work.
Learn about Plastic Identification Codes and easy ways to recycle plastic on the Plastic Solutions page.
Discover how to recycle better with the Australasian Recycling Label.
Learn about recycling soft plastics and plastic bags.