Waste Services

TAS Recycling

Straight talk about recycling plastics in Tasmania and other specialised recycling services

Recycling is more than just reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfills.

It’s also about getting the most value out of our existing materials and reducing the need to extract more resources from the planet.

But how many times have you thrown something into the recycling bin with the best intentions, without knowing where it’ll end up?

Unfortunately, this can cause more problems than it solves.

So what’s the best way to maximise your recycling effort? Firstly, understand how to avoid contaminating your recyclables. And, secondly, get familiar with the different services available, including those for recycling plastics in Tasmania (both the hard and soft kinds).

In other words, successful recycling starts with being a Good Sort.

Practical recycling services we should all be using

The good news is, we have a wide range of free recycling services available in Tasmania. Our kerbside recycling bins are only the beginning.

So don’t leave your recycling to chance.

It’s never been easier to explore just how many materials can be recycled and how you can guarantee the best recycling outcomes.

Here’s a breakdown of our available services:

  1. Kerbside recycling

    A quick and convenient recycling system for household glass, steel, aluminium, hard plastic bottles and tubs, paper, and cardboard. Rinse and separate items to make sure nothing gets diverted to landfill.
    A-Z Recycling Guide

  2. Waste Transfer Stations

    Also known as Resource Recovery Centres, these services look after the same materials as kerbside recycling. Plus, they deal with electronic waste, batteries, light globes, paint, chemical containers, mobile phones, tyres, scrap metal, and more.

  3. Product Stewardship Schemes

    Some recycling is supported by programs where the industry that makes the product is also responsible for its end-of-life processing. Examples include electronic goods, printer cartridges, tyres, and paint.

  4. Specialised recycling services

    There are a growing number of private and not-for-profit recycling services available for certain materials often thought of as non-recyclable. How many do you already use?
    Non-Kerbside Recycling Chart

REDCycle is a recycling initiative for soft plastics
TerraCycle recycles composite materials, such as coffee pods,
cosmetic containers, and toothbrushes
Upparel recycles textiles, including clothes, shoes, and bed linen

Recycling Contamination: why you should be a Good Sort

Put simply, recycling is contaminated when we put the wrong items in our recycling bin.

Keeping contaminants out of your bin means your recycling is easy to sort, which saves time, energy, resources, and money.

This is particularly important with recycling plastics in Tasmania.

Don’t make the mistake of ‘wish-cycling’, which is when you put items in your recycling bin hoping they can be recycled. The reality is, you could be unintentionally contaminating your bin.

Remember, it only takes a minute to check before you chuck.

We call this being a Good Sort. And it’s one of the most valuable things you can do to maximise your recycling efforts.

How to deal with the most common contaminants:

Soft plastics, such as plastic bags and food wrappers (acts like paper in sorting machines) REDCycle at Coles and Woolworths
Paper towel, tissues, or shredded paper

(sticks to other non-paper items in the bin)

Compost or garbage
Packing recycling into boxes or bags

(creates safety issues for sorting staff)

Drop items loose into your recycling bin
Items smaller than a credit card, such as plastic bread tags

(too small to separate, gets stuck among larger items and in sorting equipment)

Non-kerbside recycling (e.g. Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs) or garbage
Clothing, textiles, and shoes Donate if in good condition, use as rags, or recycle via Upparel

 

Polystyrene Recycle at North TAS region Waste Transfer Stations, Mornington Park Waste Transfer Station, or Polyfoam.

Elsewhere, reuse or garbage

Composite materials that are made of two or more types of recyclable content, such as blister packs Check if it can be recycled via TerraCycle, or garbage

It makes sense to recover as much recyclable material as possible from our homes and businesses.

However, ‘wish-cycling’ slows down the sorting process and increases the costs of our recycling efforts.

Worst of all, it often leads to otherwise recyclable material being sent directly to landfill.

In Tasmania, up to 15% of the material we put in our kerbside recycling bin ends up in landfill.
This is because either an item is not recyclable, is contaminated, or cannot be recycled via the kerbside bin service.

Taking the time to be a Good Sort really does make all the difference.

✅ Avoid ‘wish-cycling’ by checking before you chuck
✅ Look for Plastic Identification Code (PIC) triangles on plastic
items (codes 1–5 are okay for kerbside recycling)
✅ Check labels, such as the Australasian Recycling Label
✅ If unsure, contact your council or us, at Rethink Waste Tasmania

How we all play a part to close the recycling loop

Recycling is an essential step in creating a sustainable world.

And we all have a role to play.

As consumers, we are responsible for making smarter choices about the products and packaging we buy. We also help sustain the recycling loop by correctly sorting our recycling and using the services available to us.

Of course, this is only part of the story.

Our councils support the system by providing kerbside recycling and linking with a local Material Recovery Facility (MRF).

Tasmanian MRFs are run by companies such as Veolia and Cleanaway. They sort recyclable items into their material types and bundle them for sale to processors on the mainland or overseas.

But the cycle doesn’t stop here.

The recycling processors then sell these processed materials to manufacturers around the globe for use in new products and packaging.

Then we, as consumers, complete the loop by supporting manufacturers that use these recycled materials.

Every year, more investments are being put into local recycling capabilities. The Federal Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund is one such initiative.

But funding alone is not enough.

Our governments and local businesses are committing to better choices. We also need to make a personal resolution to take action.

After all, it only takes a few minutes each day to be a Good Sort and protect our planet for future generations.

Avoid. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
ARRR!

That’s one step closer to making a positive change.