Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers

Aerosols on a recycling bin

Secret1Know The Facts 

Even though aerosol cans are easily recyclable, 66% of Australians aren't sure what to do with them. This is just one of the surprise findings in Planet Ark's Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers report. 

The report found that more than 90% of Australians agree that recycling is the right thing to do and 98% participate in recycling in some way. It also showed that the majority of Australians are pretty switched on when it comes to the recyclability of everyday items like plastic bottles, long-life milk and juice cartons, aluminium cans, and glass jars, and that most know that the home recycling bin is not the place for things like nappies, batteries, and e-waste.

The Great Aerosol Myth

While it's great news that Australians are so on board with recycling there are still a number of areas of confusion. Aerosol cans, for example seem to cause confusion with just one third (33%) of people correctly identifing them as recyclable. 54% incorrectly say they aren't recyclable and a further 12% say they aren't sure. With Australians using around 250 million aerosols every year, this means an enormous amount of recyclable steel and aluminium is ending up in landfill.

When asked why they believe aerosols aren't recyclable the key responses were:

  • They've been told that aerosols are not recyclable;
  • They believe that aerosols explode in the recycling bin; and
  • They believe that aerosols are not made from recyclable material.

Once empty it is safe to put aerosols in the home recycling bin and more than 90% of Australians live in a council that collects them. So there's no reason not to recycle.  

Keep It Out

When it came to putting the wrong things in the recycling bin three items came up frequently. They are:

  • Pringles (and similar home brand) tubes are too complicated for the recycling machinery to separate the metal, plastic and cardboard they are made from.
  • Old and broken drinking glasses can't be recycled through the same processes as bottles and jars because they are made from a different type of glass.
  • Biscuit packets and trays are made from soft plastic which contaminates the paper recycling stream or gets caught in the machinery.

The Pringles tubes and old glassware is correctly disposed of in the garbage bin while the soft plastic can be recycled in the REDCycle bins in participating Coles and Woolworths stores. 

Get in on the secret

  • Check what is and is not accepted in your council collection by visiting or your council website.
  • Follow the instructions provided by your council, whether they are on bin stickers, fliers, or attached to the wall of the waste room.
  • Check that everyone in your household knows what can and can't be placed in the kerbside recycling bin.
  • If in doubt, leave it out. Don't risk a load of recyclable materials going to waste by putting non-recyclable items in your recycling bin.





See the Next Secret: Do It In The Bathroom...



  • Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers Report ( 4.47MB pdf file)
    This report for National Recycling Week 2014 lifts the lid on what makes a successful recycler, with each section focusing on actions that someone can take to be more successful.