Keep coated cardboard out of recycling

Last updated: 1 July 2022

Small acts are all it takes to make a big impact

Just by keeping coated cardboard items like drink cups, long life milk cartons (tetrapaks) and ice cream cartons out of recycling and food and garden organics, you are minimising the risk of contamination. Put coated cardboard into your general rubbish instead. This helps us recover more resources from your recycling and turn them into new things like park benches, cardboard boxes and mulch.

It’s a small act with a big impact on Victoria’s sustainable future.

Why it matters

Coated cardboard can’t be recycled because it is lined with plastic or wax which is bonded to the cardboard and can’t be removed.

When a non-recyclable item like coated cardboard, is placed into a recycling bin, it can contaminate the bin. Contamination can cause several problems in the sorting and processing process. It can even lead to an entire load of recycling being sent to landfill.

Tips and tricks

Is this cardboard coated?

It may look like regular cardboard, but cardboard used to hold liquids or frozen food is usually coated to keep it from getting wet. This can include takeaway containers that look like they are plain brown cardboard. If you look closely, they have a thin waxy or plastic lining. Put them into your general rubbish instead.

Coffee cup recycling

Takeaway coffee cups often have a plastic lining between two layers of cardboard, which means they are not recyclable in your kerbside bins. There are other options though. If you are buying a drink to take away but don't have your reusable cup with you, you can still save the disposable cup from landfill by taking it to your nearest coffee cup recycling point.

Find a small act that works for you

There are many other easy ways to reduce waste and recycle more. Find a small act that works for you and be part of Victoria’s sustainable future.