What can I recycle in Queensland?
Issued: 6 Sep 3 min read

Learn about which household materials you can put in your recycling bin. Common recyclable materials include paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass.

Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can make a positive impact on the planet. But with so many different types of materials and packaging, you might be wondering,

“What can I recycle?”

“Is ______ recyclable?”

Knowing what to put in your yellow-lid bin can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be!

With a few basic principles in mind, like these five recyclable materials - paper and cardboard, glass, hard plastics, steel, and aluminium - you can help contribute to a cleaner future.

It’s important to note that in Queensland, recycling rules may differ depending on which council you live in. Therefore, it is crucial to check with your local council for more details on their recycling program to ensure you're properly disposing your waste.

Another key point to remember is that anything you toss into your recycling bin should be larger than a credit card. If it's not, it will end up as waste, and may even cause contamination issues.

Let's take a closer look at the materials you can recycle:

Bales of cardboard waste packed for recycling at a processing facility.

Paper and cardboard are some of the most common recyclable materials you can find in your household.

Paper and cardboard

Are pizza boxes recyclable? The answer might surprise you.

Australians send over 300,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard to recyclers each year. This includes pizza boxes, assuming they aren’t too wet or greasy. Just make sure there aren’t any slices leftover!

Some other common paper and cardboard household items you can put in your yellow-lid recycling bin are:

  • office paper
  • magazines, brochures, catalogues and greeting cards
  • wrapping paper (no foil/glitter)
  • toilet rolls
  • cereal boxes and carboard boxes
  • egg cartons
  • juice and milk cartons
A heap of squashed blue and clear plastic water bottles.

Not all plastic waste is recyclable. Check the product for an Australasian Recycling Label and follow its disposal advice.


Plastic waste and pollution is a significant contributor to environmental degradation, and determining whether your plastic items are recyclable is not always straightforward.

To make it easier for people to identify which plastics can be recycled, plastic identification codes are used on the packaging, which classify plastics into seven categories based on their composition.

There is also the Australasian Recycling Label to look out for, which tells you how to correctly dispose the product.

Plastic is usually categorised as soft or hard. Currently, soft plastics cannot be recycled in your yellow-lid bin and should be placed in general waste. This includes items like plastic bags, cling wrap, bubble wrap, chip packets and bread bags.

The most eco-friendly thing you can do with soft plastics (especially single-use plastics) is reduce your consumption of them.

Hard (or rigid) plastic packaging can be recycled into new products such as garden furniture, piping and decking. Household items like these can all go in the yellow-lid bin for recycling:

  • detergent and shampoo bottles
  • Butter, yogurt and ice cream tubs
  • milk and drink bottles

Polystyrene and Styrofoam materials cannot go in your recycling bin, and items like toys must be placed in general waste.

Whether you need to rinse your plastic and glass recyclables depends on the waste processing facilities of your local council, so it’s best practice to give them a quick rinse or wipe. This helps prevent contamination and ensures the recycling process runs smoothly.

A heap of empty green and clear glass battles

Did you know you can get paid to recycle glass through Containers for Change?

Glass bottles and jars

Glass is one of the most versatile materials that can be repurposed again and again without losing quality.

But not all of it can be recycled.

Fortunately, the rules are straightforward.

All glass bottles and jars, including alcohol bottles, sauce and jam jars, juice bottles oil, sauce, and vinegar bottles can be placed in your yellow-lid bin.

Glassware such as wine glasses, drinking glasses, light bulbs, window glass and glass bakeware go in general waste.

Whether you can keep the lid on your bottles and jars varies between local councils and their facilities. Make sure to check with them.

You can also get money back for your recycling efforts through Containers for Change, our state-wide container refund scheme which gives you 10 cents for each recyclable item you return. Want to take part? Just set aside your eligible items, and once you’ve got a little collection, swing by your nearest container station and drop them off.

A heap of clean metal cans and tins ready to be recycled.

Metals like aluminium are recyclable materials you can find in most households.

Steel and aluminium cans and foil

Recycling aluminium and steel not only saves resources, but it's also less energy-intensive than producing these metals from scratch. Aluminium cans can be melted down and turned into new cans, while steel can be used to make car parts or construction materials.

Some common aluminium and steel household items you can put in your yellow-lid bin are:

  • Aluminium foil (which needs to be scrunched into a fist-sized ball), and steel lids and tins from your kitchen, laundry and bathroom
  • Baby formula tins, coffee and chocolate milk tins, food and pet food tins
  • Metal lids from pasta and sauce bottles
  • All empty aerosol cans. This includes aerosol deodorants, aerosol cooking sprays and insect sprays.

Remember, when it comes to placing these materials in your yellow-lid bin, make sure to keep them loose – DON’T put them in a plastic bag.

When non-recyclable items are mixed with recyclable materials, it can reduce the quality of recyclable materials, damage recycling machinery, or even result in a whole truck of recycling being sent to landfill.

By keeping your recycling loose in the bin, it allows them to be processed more efficiently and ensures your recyclable materials do not end up in landfill unnecessarily.

A better understanding of these materials should help you figure out what's good to recycle at home and what isn’t. If you are unsure, check with your local council.