The beauty industry alone produces at least 120 billion units of plastic packaging every year. Only 15% of those are recycled. The rest end up in landfill and our ocean. Recycling is more important than ever but how do we know if we are doing it right? 

Here are the five forms of recycling you need to know to make it simple:   

Mixed Recycling - your kerbside bin 


The easy one to get right. This is paper,  cardboard, things like milk cartons and cereal boxes. Just make sure that these items don’t have sticky tape or hidden plastic inside (like a viewing window).  If they do just rip this off and throw in the general waste before you recycle the paper. 

Glass & Aluminium

These are cans, jars and bottles with either metal or plastic lids. Make sure these are empty and clean. Always pop the lids back on. There is a misconception that removing the lids is best, but as they are small they can’t be recycled loosely. The lids and containers can easily be separated in the processing facility.

Hard plastics

This is anything that is a bottle or container with a lid. Your washing liquid, body wash or shampoo bottle. Again, make sure these are empty and clean and replace the lids. If they have a pump or spray nozzle, keep this aside. 

Watch out: Do not put your recycling into a plastic bag. It means your efforts are wasted.  

Soft Plastics

This is anything you can scrunch into a ball. Glad wrap, food wrappers, plastic bags, shrink wrap or bubble wrap.
These plastics are not recyclable through your kerbside bin. These contaminate the recycling process and end up creating problems at the recycling facilities. 

Instead collect these up and take them into your grocery store and drop it into the collection bins. Or if you live in Sydney sign up to RecycleSmart and have these collected from your home for only $2 a bag. 


Here is where you can make the biggest difference. Often your favourite beauty products come beautifully packaged and have pumps and seals that make them impossible to dismantle for recycling at home. Keep these items aside and take them to your local David Jones, Mecca or the store you purchased them from and they will most likely have a TerraCylce bin where you can pop them in knowing that they will be sorted and recycled correctly.   

Green Waste 

This is all your green garden waste, food scraps, compostable items and even your wine corks . This also includes soiled pizza boxes. 

General Waste 

This is the last resort. Use the general waste if you know you can't recycle the item in any other way specified above.  These are things like nappies, wet wipes, used paper towels and broken glassware. 

Everybody doing their part will make a big difference to the amount of waste we produce and how much we can redirect from landfill and our oceans. 

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