Regan Jade | What can I recycle on the Sunshine Coast Queensland
Recycling made easy. Find out what you can and can't recycle on the Sunshine Coast.
recycle, sunshine coast, reduce, reuse, zerowaste, council, environment
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Everything you need to know about recycling on the Sunshine Coast

Everything you need to know about recycling on the Sunshine Coast

You know you should be recycling, it’s the right thing to do.

But do you really know what you can and can’t recycle? I don’t think I have meet anyone that is 100% sure about what can be thrown in the recycle bin. What about clingwrap? Bottle lids? Do they need to be washed first? Most people I have spoken to find it very confusing and to be honest I also get confused!

Most of the time you take a guess as to whether it goes in the recycle bin, once it’s in there, it’s not your problem, someone else will sort it out. right?

It can be a very confusing subject and it doesn’t help that the rules change depending on where you live.


Not only is it confusing It’s also not the most exciting thing we could be doing with our time but despite its lack of excitement, recycling is so important. Especially now.

We are overconsuming, over packaging and over spending.

Australians produce over 18 million tonnes of waste per year—the same as three million rubbish trucks full of tightly packed rubbish. Each Australian family has enough rubbish each year to fill a three-bedroom house from floor to ceiling. 

This excessive waste that we are creating is a by-product of our culture and it is having a seriously negative impact on our planet, from the resources we use to create the packaging to the marine animals that have to deal with it floating around our oceans.

When we understand the consequences of our disposable society, we better understand how important it is for us to do the right things now (e.g refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle) to ensure that our kids grow up in a clean world and are able to still swim in clean oceans.

This post is for people that live within the sunshine coast council. Like I said, the recycling system changes within each council. So if you live outside the sunny coast you will need to check out your councils website for their regulations on recycling.

So here is a breakdown of what you can recycle and what you can’t.

What goes in the Red lid bin (General Waste):


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What goes in the Yellow lid bin (Recyclables):


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What goes in the Green lid Bin (Garden Waste):


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Frequently asked questions:

Do I have to wash my recyclables? Yes. All food residue needs to be removed from recyclable items.

Can I recycle takeaway coffee cups and lids? No you cannot recycle takeaway coffee cups, they are lined with a thin layer of plastic which contaminates the recycling system. However you can recycle the plastic lid. I highly recommend saying no to takeaway cups and investing in a reusable cup.

Styrofoam coffee cups are also non-recyclable.

Do I have to take the lids and labels off for items to be recycled? Yes you do. Lids and wrappers should be removed from recyclable items before they are placed in the recycling bin. Plastic and metal lids from bottles and jars are non-recyclable. For example if you have an old pasta jar, you need to remove the label and lid (these go in the general waste bin) and the glass jar can go into the recycle bin. Remove plastic bottle tops before recycling the bottle and put the lids in the red lid bin.

Can I put soft plastic in the recycle bin? No. this can contaminate the recycling process. Chip packets, clingwrap, bread bags, rice cracker packets are all considered soft plastic and cannot be recycled in the yellow lid bins. However, in some supermarkets they can be dropped off for recycling through Redcycle. There are currently no Redcycle bins on the coast. The closest drop off point is Coles Caboolture.
If you would like to see this available in Coles and Woolworths on the Sunshine Coast please call them. The more demand we can create the more likely this service will be provided.

What happens if I put non-recyclables in the recycle bin? Please do not place non-recyclables in the yellow-lidded recycling bins. Placing items such as food scraps or packaging in the recycling bin can contaminate the recycling process.

Can I recycle broken glass?
Broken glass can be recycled if it’s from a glass bottle or jar. Any other glass such as light bulbs, pyrex ovenware, drinking glasses, window glass or crockery such as plates, cups and mugs cannot go into the recycle bin.

Can I recycle plastic shopping bags? Plastic shopping bags cannot be recycled in the yellow lid bins. They are considered soft plastic and will contaminate the recycling system, however most Coles and Woolworths supermarkets on the coast do provide drop off bins for plastic shopping bags only, where they are later sent to be recycled into other plastic items such as outdoor furniture and signage.

Some people get into the habit of bagging up their recyclables, please don’t do this as it will contaminate the recycling system and the items will not be recycled.

Can I recycle metals like car parts, appliances and cutlery? No. These can be recycled at the Resource Recovery Stations at the Transfer Stations. Find locations HERE.

If it has the recycle symbol on the bottom, does that mean I can recycle it? Not necessarily. The recycle symbol can be used to show the item may be recycled or made from recycled material. If the recycle symbol has a number inside it, this is a plastic coding system. This shows what type of plastic the item is made from. All containers with an identifying number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 on the bottom of the container are accepted in the Yellow lid bin. These include milk, soft drink, detergent, ice cream, juice, yoghurt and take away containers. Rinse them first please.
Items with the number 7 on it are not recyclable in the yellow lid bins.

Top tips:

1. Plastic packaging is made from precious earth resources like oil and gas.
2. Say no to the top 4 single-use plastics. Takeaway coffee cups, plastic straws, plastic bottle and plastic bags.
3. Choose to reuse whenever you can to avoid packaging. Check out my favourite reusables. 
4. Compost your food waste – 50% of waste in our bins is food scraps that can be composted and used to nourish our gardens.
5. Choose packaging that is made from recycled materials or that can be reused to avoid creating waste.
6. All our resources are precious, use them wisely.
7. Become a recycling expert in your home.

As you can see, even though we can recycle a lot, there is so much that we cannot recycle. This stuff ends up in our landfills and sits there for hundreds and potentially thousands of years.

The best thing you can do is to follow the 5 r’s to reduce the amount of waste you are creating. Start by refusing packaging. Reduce what you use. Reuse what you can. Recycle what you cant. and Rot your food scraps.

For more information please check out the Sunshine Coast Council website. You can also ask to have someone from the council speak at your work place, school or community group about recycling and sign up for tours of the Sunshine Coast recycling centre.

National Recycling week is also coming up in the 2nd week of November, find out how you can get involved, learn more and educate others at the Planet Ark website.

Do you want to help remove litter from the Sunshine coast beaches and waterways?
To get involved in beach clean ups on the Sunshine Coast join the Take 3 Sunshine coast Facebook group.

Do you have any other recycling tips? please share in the comments!


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