Project Status: When you need to do this
Check the item can go in your yellow lid bin
We provide households with a yellow lid bin for recycling.
Only place accepted items in your yellow lid bin for recycling. We can’t collect your bin if:
- it contains a large amount of unacceptable items
- the bin lid can’t close
- there's material outside your bin.
Learn 6 handy tips to help you recycle right.
Australasian Recycling Label
Keep an eye out for this label – it helps make recycling easier.
Recycle eligible bottles and cans with Return and Earn
You can drop off eligible containers to the NSW Government’s Return and Earn collection points and receive 10c an item.
These containers can also be recycled in your yellow lid bin.
- Collect eligible bottles, cans and cartons.
- Take bottles and cans to your nearest collection point. There are many collection points in our local area. Some collection points are on City of Sydney land, including self-service reverse vending machines located:
- on the ground floor of the car park behind the Kings Cross Police Station, 10am to 4pm, daily.
- in the Sydney Park Alexandria car park, 7am to 7pm, daily.
All enquiries about Return and Earn can be directed to TOMRA, the network operator at [email protected] or 1800 290 691.
Drop-offs and events
Waste & recycling servicesLearn how to recycle these items in the easiest and most convenient ways.
Waste & recycling servicesWhether you prefer to walk, ride or drive, find a drop-off option convenient for you.Free
Waste & recycling servicesDifferent recycling and disposal methods are needed for these toxic types of waste. Never put them in your household bins.Free
Waste & recycling servicesWe’ll collect old furniture, mattresses, whitegoods, electronics and other big household items you no longer need.About 1 week
Waste & recycling servicesRecycle soft plastics, batteries, polystyrene, clothes, electronics and other tricky items from your doorstep or apartment lobby with a free, contactless RecycleSmart Power Pickup.
Understanding the Australasian Recycling Label
The Australasian Recycling Label is a classification system for packaging that makes recycling easier.
It tells you which part of the package belongs in the recycling bin, the rubbish bin, or if you need to do something else with it.
Look out for the Australasian Recycling Label on the products you buy and refer to this label where you can.
There are 3 types of label classifications:
- Recyclable: The solid recycling symbol means this piece of packaging can be placed in the recycling bin as it is. Each piece of packaging with this label must be placed separately in the recycling bin.
- Conditionally recyclable: The clear recycling symbol means that you must follow the instructions to recycle this packaging part. If you don’t follow the instructions, it must go in the rubbish bin.
- Not recyclable: The bin symbol means that this piece of packaging is not recyclable and must go in the rubbish bin. Do not place it in the recycling bin.
6 handy recycling tips
1. Don’t put recycling in plastic bags
Place your recycling loosely in the yellow lid bin – never in plastic bags. Plastic bags jam the machinery at our sorting facility, so we can’t recycle the bags or the items inside. Use a container or box to store your recycling before putting them into your bin.
2. Remove all food and liquid from containers
No need to rinse containers before putting them in the recycling bin. They just need to be empty and dry. You might like to rinse anyway, as it keeps your recycling bin extra clean and odour-free.
3. Lids and labels can stay on
Keep lids and labels on jars and bottles. The recycling process will remove these. If you have a can top that can’t reattach, place it inside and squeeze the can closed. This helps stop smaller items from getting lost in the recycling process.
4. Give plastic items the ‘scrunch test’
A soft plastic is a plastic that can be easily scrunched into a ball, like bread bags, chocolate wrappers or plastic bags. Soft plastics can’t go in your yellow lid bin. Drop them off at our quarterly Recycle It Saturday events or have them collected from your home with our doorstep recycling service.
Hard plastic packaging that keeps its structure or bounces back when you try scrunching it can be recycled in your yellow lid bin.
5. Give cardboard items the ‘tear test’
Check if a cardboard item is lined with plastic by giving it a tear. If you can’t easily tear your cardboard item, or if you see a thin layer of plastic when you do, it should go in your rubbish bin. This is common for small ice cream tubs, tetra packs and coffee cups.
6. Ignore the plastics identification number
Some plastic items have a triangle symbol of 3 chasing arrows with a number from 1 to 7 inside.
The number refers to the type of plastic the product is made from, not whether it can be recycled in your yellow lid bin.
Refer to the Australasian Recycling Label and use the tips above to help you identify if an item is recyclable or not.
City of Sydney News
News4 recycling tips for plasticsSmall changes to live more sustainably.1 November 2022
NewsOur free recycling stations have expandedWe’ve installed them in 16 locations and you can now drop off small electronics, batteries, mobile phones and light bulbs.19 October 2022
News4 sustainable ways to get rid of unwanted stuffIt’s illegal to put items out on the footpath without booking a collection. You can stop them going to landfill.19 August 2022
NewsHigh five, Sydney! We’ve recycled 1,000 tonnes of food scrapsIt gets turned into compost to nourish soil in gardens and parks. And it’s all thanks to your help.24 May 2022
NewsTake your recycling to the next level with a free online masterclassLearn what the numbered triangles on plastics mean and have all your tricky questions answered.21 April 2022
NewsHow to sell your stuff online fastMake money and free up space in your home.4 March 2022
NewsKeeping bikes out of landfillRevolve Recycling want to show that recycling and rehoming old bikes makes sense17 December 2021
NewsUnder the lid: What happens to your recyclingWe follow the journey of the most common items and find out what they become.22 October 2021
News7 easy recycling tips while at homeBe the planet’s best ally during self-isolation.10 August 2021
News5 recycling items that can stump Sydneysiders Dispose of your unwanted goods responsibly. These are some trickier items that residents need help with.9 June 2021
After you finish
Where it all goes
After items are collected, they’re taken to a recycling transfer station in Alexandria, mixed with recycling from nearby council areas, and taken to Smithfield for processing. There, employees manually remove contamination, like plastic bags, and machines sort the recycling into types: paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, steel and aluminium.
These materials undergo further processing and are turned into packaging. For example, recycled glass can become a new glass bottle, paper and cardboard can become a new cardboard box and aluminium foil can become a new aluminium can.
View the journey of glass as it gets recycled.
Take your recycling to the next level
- Buy products that can be recycled. By recycling more, you help keep items out of the red lid bin and landfill – something that could save you money. If you’re a property owner, you may be able to reduce your domestic waste charge by completing the residential waste service application to reduce the size, number or collection frequency of your red lid bins. You can also order extra free yellow lid recycling bins.
- Buy items made from recycled material. This reduces the need for mining new resources, supports the recycling market and helps us move towards a circular economy.
- Reduce the waste you create. While recycling is important, we must reduce and avoid waste altogether. Learn more about the 4Rs and avoiding waste at home.