Put your recycling in the bin loose, not in bags

Last updated: 25 November 2021
Woman holding basket of recyclable items in front of recycling bin.

Why your recycling should go in the bin loose

Currently, 17% of Victorians put their recycling in plastic bags, making it a major contaminant in household recycling bins.

Contamination occurs when items that can’t be recycled are placed in the recycling bin. These non-recyclable items, also called contaminants, can prevent recycling from being processed and turned into new products.

Recycling in plastic bags cannot be sorted at Material Recovery Facilities because they can:

  • damage equipment by getting caught in the machines
  • present a health and safety risk to staff who sort recycling as the contents of the bag are not visible and may include sharp objects.

Benefits of recycling items loose

  • Items can be sorted and processed
  • More items can be made into new products (such as roads, footpaths, glass jars, planter boxes and benches)
  • Environmental impacts from new or raw materials are reduced

Recycling tips

Collect your recycling in a basket, plastic tub or cardboard box

Once full, tip the contents into your household recycling bin so that all items go in separately.

Check what can be recycled with your council

Each council recycles differently, so it is important to know what your council can accept. The easiest way to find this out is to check your council's waste and recycling advice.

Some items that don’t belong in the recycling bin can still be recycled

Many items can still be recycled even if they don’t belong in your recycling bin at home.

Find out where you can dispose of household waste for items that can’t go in your recycling or rubbish bin by using Planet Ark's Recycling Near You tool.

Highly toxic items, such as chemicals, should never be put in your rubbish bins or poured down the drain. Find out how to Dispose of toxic household items (Detox Your Home).

Recycling in Victoria is improving

Across Australia and around the world, governments are grappling with how to waste less and recycle more. It's a big, complicated problem and there's no easy, quick fix.

In 2020, the Victorian Government released Recycling Victoria: a new economy, a plan to invest $380 million to fundamentally transform our recycling sector to build a circular economy. This campaign is part of the Recycling Victoria program to reduce waste and make more productive use of our resources.