Remove food and liquids from your recycling

Last updated: 27 May 2022
Image of a hand scraping food out of a jar over the kitchen sink.

Small acts are all it takes to make a big impact

Just by removing food and liquids from your containers before putting them into your recycling bin, you’ll be helping to keep the whole load clean. Then more of it can be turned into new things like egg cartons, cans or glass jars and prevent recyclables ending up in landfill.

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

Why it matters

Any food or liquid that’s left inside a recyclable container can spill over other recyclable items in your bin, inside the truck and at the recycling facility. This can reduce the quality of the materials and cause problems in the recycling process. It can even lead to an entire load of recycling being sent to landfill.

Emptying food and liquid from containers has also the added benefit of minimising any smells in your recycling bin that could attract pests. For some people, this means they no longer feel the need to bag their recyclables to keep things clean and less smelly. Even more of our recycling can be processed and turned into new things by putting recycling in the bin loose and not in bags.

Tips and tricks

How clean is clean?

Your recyclables don’t have to be spotless. Simply scrape out any food or pour out any excess liquid.

Water-saving tips

To prevent smells and keep food or liquids from spilling onto other items, try giving your recyclables a quick rinse in your old dishwashing or cooking water to save water. If the container has a lid, put a small amount of water inside, shake vigorously and empty before recycling.

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.