Recycling in Ku-ring-gai

If you have ever wondered what happens to your recycling once it's collected, the video below provides a great overview of our waste services and offers some great recycling tips along the way.


Recycling is one of the easiest actions we can do every day in our home to benefit the environment. Recycling is when a item is collected and reprocessed into something new. It may or may not take the same form.

Recycling conserves raw materials and energy that would otherwise be used to make new products, reduces the need for new waste disposal facilities and creates jobs in collection, sorting and processing.

Each Council area has a unique waste stream. Ku-ring-gai has a high volume of garden and paper waste compared to other areas in Sydney, so the more we can avoid sending to landfill the better for our environment and our community.

Check out our waste and recycling guide Waste and Recycling at Home(PDF, 3MB)

What goes in your recycling bins?

Bin Put it in Leave it out
Paper recycling (blue lid) Newspapers and magazines, office paper and envelopes (window face are fine), telephone books, clean cardboard such as egg and cardboard milk cartons, tissue boxes and clean pizza boxes Nappies, food-soiled paper and cardboard, waxed cardboard, plastic bags and plastic wrap.
Mixed recycling (yellow lid) Disposable plastic bottles and containers from the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, aluminum and steel cans including aerosols, empty dry paint tins, glass bottles and jars, foil-lined milk and juice cartons and lids (plastic and metal).
Remove lids from bottles and jars and place in recycling separately.
Window or mirror glass, plastic toys, crockery, porcelain, ceramics, plastic bags and wrap, polystyrene packing foam (even with a recycling triangle and number on it), foam meat trays, and paint tins containing paint.

A-Z Waste Guide

View A to Z waste guide

Recycling Triangles

The recycling triangle and the number inside is an indicator of the material the item is made from, not whether it can be collected/recycled in Council Services. In relation to plastics please place in the yellow lid bin all household disposable hard plastic containers from the kitchen, bathroom and laundry.

Using the numbers in the triangle to identify an items recyclability isn't definitive and confusing as there are exceptions. Council no longer refers to these numbers for this reason.

Examples of items not accepted in bins with recycling triangles are plastic bags and polystyrene.

Plastic bags

Residents can now recycle plastic bags and other soft plastics through Council's partnership with RecycleSmart.

Learn more about RecycleSmart

Request a 'No Plastic Bags in Recycling Bins' sticker

Use our online form to have a 'No Plastic Bags in Recycling Bins' sticker posted to you.

Council encourages residents to place the sticker on the left hand side of their recycling bin (when facing bin) to help convey this message to all walking or driving by.

Request a No Plastic Bags in Recycling Bins sticker

Other items made from glass plastic and steel

Another misconception is that any item that is made from glass, plastic or steel can be placed in the mixed recycling bin (yellow lid). This unfortunately isn't the case.

The only items that can be recycled in the mixed recycling bin (yellow lid) are disposable household containers from the kitchen, bathroom and laundry including hard plastic containers, steel and aluminium cans and glass bottles and jars as shown above. This is because the machinery at the recycling centre has been designed to specifically sort these items.

Other items such as coat hangers, garden hoses, video tapes, pvc pipes and children's plastic toys have the potential to bring the whole facility to a halt. Some of these items can be recycled, but only at specialised facilities when delivered individually in bulk.


Residents can now recycle polystyrene through Council's partnership with RecycleSmart.

Learn more about RecycleSmart

Foil lined cartons are acceptable

Foil lined cartons are acceptable in the mixed recycling bin (yellow lid). Non foil lined cardboard cartons can go in the blue lid paper bin eg. milk cartons. 

Did you know?

  • On average, Australians produce more than 2kg of waste per person every day - this is the second highest amount in the world behind the US!
  • In Ku-ring-gai we collect about 20,000 tonnes of waste each year and 30,000 tonnes of recycling, but we can do better - about 1,600 tonnes of recyclables such as paper and steel cans still wind up in landfill.
  • Australia leads the world as the number one recycler of old newspapers, recycling over 70 per cent.
  • By recycling one aluminium can you're saving enough energy to run your TV for three hours.
  • Each cardboard milk carton can be recycled into five sheets of office paper.
  • It takes about one million years for a glass bottle to break down in landfill.
  • Producing new plastic from recycled materials only uses two-thirds of the energy required to make plastic from raw materials.
  • The most common form of hazardous waste generated by Aussies is in the form of batteries.

Tips for reducing waste

  • Only dispose of items that cannot be reused or recycled.
  • When shopping, choose items without packing or that come packaged in recyclable material.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Use reusable shopping bags.
  • Start a compost bin or worm farm.

Tips for recycling

  • Remove tops and lids from bottles and jars.
  • Rinse out bottles, cans and jars.
  • Flatten boxes and plastic containers to save bin space.
  • Don't put items in plastic bags as they cannot be recycled.
  • Ensure you remove plastic wrap from junk mail and newspapers.
  • Avoid buying products in non-recyclable packaging.

Visit the Planet Ark website for more recycling tips and Redcycle for soft plastic recycling tips.

A study of Ku-ring-gai's waste has shown that the mixed recycling bin (yellow lid) is the collection that residents are most confused about.

The study has shown that some residents still believe they can place their bottles and cans inside of plastic bags in their recycling bins. Items for recycling should never be placed in a plastic bag. Council recycling collections are limited to items that are accepted at the recycling sorting facility.