Article 11/02/2024

10 recycling contaminants that end up in your Yellow bin

By Luka Osborne

Our iconic yellow bins, sitting proudly on our curbs, since 1999. After all, they did revolutionise recycling in Australia, however, they aren’t a 100% clean solution. Even if you do right by your yellow bin, your recycling can still end up in landfill. All it takes is a passer-by’s banana peel to contaminate the whole truckload! Mixed container recycling (i.e., yellow bins) can contain up to 30% of recycling contaminants, according to this recent report. If only you could talk to your yellow bin, you’d know a bit more about its interesting diet.

Let’s take a look at common contaminants that end up in your Yellow bin.

Plastic bags – super common and especially notorious for clogging recycling machinery.

Dirty containers – leftover sauces while tasty, can’t be recycled and they can ruin material that can!

Greasy pizza boxes – I know you have. If they’re stained with grease and food, they’re nothing but trouble.

Plastic cutlery – they might look good for it, but trust us, they’re not.

Coffee cups – we don’t care what Steve from your office said. See here.

Styrofoam – it turns into a plastic confetti nightmare if run through a sorting machine.

Hoses, cords, and wires – love to tangle up recycling machinery, leading to chaotic scenes.

PVC Materials – wrong bin, don’t even try.

Nappies – yes really.

Broken glass – ouch, just ouch.

What’s the big deal?

Contamination can make its way into the recycling stream at any point along the truck’s route, so even if your street recycles right, the next street over might add undesirable items into the mix.

Contamination doesn’t just pollute, it also lowers the quality of the recycling material and means it will need extra processing before it is clean enough to use.

That means being trucked to different facilities, which again is time, money and yep, you guessed it. More emissions.

The higher the contamination rate the less valuable the resources are for reuse. Some councils put extra effort into recovering materials, but in others, contaminated loads go straight to landfill. This recent article found that any load with more than 25% contamination went straight to landfill.

What’s the solution?

Join our 100% clean recycling mission and Book a Pickup for your home, business or school. We ensure that every recyclable goes where it belongs and has a chance at a new life.

It’s pretty easy, just sign into your Envirobank account, book a pickup and get paid to recycle while you put your feet up. Find out more about 100% Clean Recycling today, and no more greasy pizza boxes.

By Luka Osborne