Our Local Rules to Recycle Right

Recycling is confusing.

Glass and metal are easy to sort out. Now that most everything has plastic worked into its packaging, it's hard to know what is trash and what can be stripped back to a raw material. 

Changing rules from town to town and the one bin system make it more confusing than ever to know what we can send away in the big green trucks. 


1. BAN the PLASTICS that are hardest to recycle! Without styrofoam and plastic bags and other such flimsy materials that China won't buy, it will require less sorting and higher quality, more profitable bales. (Ban Bags NSW

2. Focus on EDUCATING CONSUMERS on what can go into our bins and encouraging (even government supplementing) the recycling facilities to properly sort our trash, leading to higher quality raw materials.  


Lismore MRF

Lismore MRF

In my current home town, dreamy Byron Bay in NSW, Australia, the Byron Shire Council has just launched a recycling awareness campaign for this very purpose, called the Dirty Dozen: 12 Rules for Your Yellow Recycling Bin. The Byron Council has teamed up with the City Councils from all surrounding regions to explain 12 rules for the yellow recycling bin that match the capabilities of our local Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Lismore, where all of Byron Shire's curb-side recycling is sent for processing. Clean styrofoam and plastic bags are getting recovered and processed! So great.


This is a handy way to remember what can be recycled in the Byron Shire. 

  1. Bag the bag (you can recycle ALL soft plastic packaging! place it in a bag, tie it up, put in recycling bin)
  2. Broken glass & crockery are okay
  3. No strings attached (do not recycle string, rope, electrical cable as they get tangled in the MRF machinery)
  4. No need to wash (recyclable containers need to be empty, free of food, but don't need a wash!)
  5. Clean polystyrene (put clean, white styrofoam in a plastic bag & tie it up)

  6. Leave the Label (on bottles and containers)
  7. Keep it loose (don't stack or bag other recyclables)
  8. Harden Up (recycle ALL hard plastics!!)
  9. Grab a satchel ("Resource Recovery Collection Satchels" are available at local library for household batteries, reading glasses, corks, x-rays, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones & accessories, printer cartridges, small electronics, electrical cords, smoke alarms)
  10. No food please (food-spoiled paper & cardboard items like pizza boxes & paper towel belong in the organics bin!)
  11. Put a lid on it (Leave lids on all bottles & containers)
  12. Every little bit counts (Place all small plastics like bread tags and straws in an empty milk bottle, put a lid on it and recycle!)
Resource Recovery Satchel available at the Library.

Resource Recovery Satchel available at the Library.

Contact your local council to learn the specifics and show them this image! Perhaps we can encourage change with these solutions that work.

Start noticing the things in your life that cannot be recycled. Perhaps avoid buying them again! Or put the imagintion to work and think of ways to reuse or recycle in your own home!