Planet Ark News

Unwrapping Festive Packaging Recycling

Date: 01-Dec-16
Author: Claire Bell

Xmas Cartons © Claire Bell

Is the squirty cream aerosol can recyclable? How about the brandy custard carton or the broken champagne glass?

The festive season means lots of drinks, snacks and party food. Which, in turn, means lots of extra packaging, which can be hard to avoid. Being organised and knowing what’s recyclable is one way to avoid sending resources into landfill.

It would be great if every council accepted the same items in their recycling bins but for important reasons that’s not possible.  So whether you’re at home or away over Christmas or just uncertain about what your council accepts, now’s the time to check.

Here are some quick tips for some tricky festive items:

  • Milk, Juice and Custard Cartons – Both chilled and long-life cartons are accepted by nearly all councils with kerbside recycling. If in doubt it’s best to double check.
  • Aluminium Trays and Foil – If the aluminium is relatively clean and the foil scrunched into a fist-size ball then it’s generally accepted by most councils.
  • Glassware and Crockery - Glass bottles and jars are accepted for recycling, however, with the exception of a very small number of councils, old or broken drinking glasses, crockery and serving-ware (Pyrex) need to be kept out of the recycling bin.
  • Polystyrene – This is a common packaging material that comes with many Christmas presents.  Unfortunately it cannot be put in the kerbside recycling bin in most council areas. However, you may be able to check locally for a drop off location.
  • Plastic Bags and Soft Plastics – For most councils plastic bags and soft plastics are a major problem in the recycling bin. There are now a few councils with special systems that can accept them (mostly around Perth as well as  Lismore, Ballina and Moreland). Check locally how to dispose of them otherwise keep them out of the recycling. You can drop them off at participating supermarkets through the REDcycle program which turns them into furniture for schools. 
  • Wrapping Paper – Patterned paper is acceptable in recycling but you need to avoid putting in the shiny foil looking wrapping and cellophane. Also keep ribbons, bows and string out of the recycling as they get caught in the sorting machines. Maybe save these items for reuse!

If you have excess recyclables that won’t fit in your bin such as bottles and cardboard, try and store them so you can put them in the next pick-up, flatten cardboard boxes and cartons to make more space. It may be possible to search for a drop-off option locally.

To check what your council accepts in their kerbside recycling and for other options such as drop off locations for a variety of materials visit RecyclingNearYou.com.au or download the RecycleSmart App.

For more green festive ideas check out the 12 Do’s of Christmas.

  • Recycling Week
  • Business Recycling
  • recycling Near You
  • Make It Wood
  • Tree Day
  • Cartridges for Planet Ark