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Waste & recycling FAQs

To search for recycling and disposal advice for a particular item, visit the Which Bin website or call the Which Bin hotline.

Planet Ark also has recycling directories for householders and businesses on their Recycling Near You website and Business Recycling website.

A-Z Recycling and Disposal Guide

Local waste management centres

To dispose of unwanted materials yourself, take them to a waste management centre.

Disposal of some items will incur fees. Please contact the centres directly to find out disposal charges and what they will accept.

Recycling FAQs

What’s the difference between degradable, biodegradable, and compostable bags? And which bin should I place them in?

Degradable bags are made from plastic with other chemicals added (including heavy metals) that cause the plastic to break down and disintegrate over time when exposed to sunlight and heat.

Like degradable bags, biodegradable are often still plastic bags that have microorganisms added to break down the plastic.

Degradable and biodegradable bags should only be placed into your general waste bin.

Compostable bags are made of natural plant starch, and do not produce any toxic material. Compostable bags can go into the green organics bin.

Further details are available on the Which Bin website under green organics bin tips.

Is my privacy at risk if I put papers containing my personal details in the recycling bin?

Your personal details are not at risk once the truck collects your paper, as it is collected along with many tonnes of other mixed material and all paper is sorted by machines and then squashed into big bales.

If you are concerned about the privacy of your information while your bin is out on the kerb, rather than putting paper in your waste bin, it is better to shred documents containing personal details and then recycling the material (contained in a paper bag or box).

How can I dispose of bulk green waste?

You can arrange a tip ticket to take a trailer-load of bulk green waste for free disposal. Find out more about tip tickets and request an online booking on our Hard rubbish page.

How clean do items need to be to go in the yellow recycling bin?

Items need to be free from food but they don't need to sparkle. Using the water at the end of washing up to give them a quick rinse is enough. Or you can simply use a spatula to scrape any food residue out of a can or jar.

Glossy paper and tissues - can any type of paper go in the recycling bin?

There is some confusion about this. Basically, glossy paper is fine to go in the recycling bin if it rips like paper.

Paper that won’t rip is usually coated in plastic and therefore not recyclable.

Can biscuit trays go in the recycling bin?

Yes biscuit trays can go in the recycling bin. The Materials Recovery Facility now has more sophisticated machinery which can capture any moulded 3-dimensional rigid plastic container.

I know I can’t put soil in any of my bins so where can I take it?

Put soil in your garden or take it to a transfer station such as:

  • Cleanaway at Lonsdale (9 Donegal Road, Lonsdale, Phone: 8326 4809)
  • Adelaide Waste and Recycling Centre (181 Morphett Road, North Plympton, Phone: 8295 5077)
Nappies - do they all go to landfill?

Did you know that in Australia, up to 2.1 billion nappies are sent to landfill a year? As disposable nappies are estimated to take 150 years to break down, it means all those nappies are still sitting in our landfills taking up valuable space.

There are a few compostable nappies available on the market that can go in the green organics bin, but make sure they have the Australian Standard 4736 on them. An internet search will provide a list of local suppliers.

KESAB also has a discount on re-usable cloth nappies and runs a series of information sessions. To find out more, call KESAB (phone number below)

Packing foam/styrofoam - which bin does it go in?

Packing foam or polystyrene foam needs to go in the waste bin at the moment. This includes foam cups and meat trays. Don't be fooled by the triangle with the number in it - this is just a plastics identification code, not a recycling symbol.

Some packing peanuts are made of corn starch nowadays. To test, put one on a glass of water and if it dissolves after one or two days those packing peanuts can be placed in the organics bin.

Pizza boxes - can we really put them in the yellow recycling bin?

Yes, pizza boxes with no food scraps can go in the recycling bin. If they are badly soiled and have food in them, pizza boxes can be placed in the green organics bin.

If in doubt, place them in the organics bin. They make great compost!

Plastic Bags?

Throw plastic bags in the waste OR watch out for plastic bag collections at one of the major supermarkets.

Plastic bottle tops – we are told to take the tops off but not where to put them?

Collect all your plastic bottle tops in ONE bottle - they fit in quite easily. Once that bottle is full you can cap it and place it in the recycling bin. Metal lids can be placed in a metal can then squash the opening so they don’t fall out. Then place in the recycling bin.

Saucepans and frying pans - can they go in the recycling bin?

Yes and there is no need to remove handles. Please note, electric pans cannot go in your recycling as they are e-waste and need to be handled accordingly.

Soft plastics: what do I do with flimsy biscuit trays and light packaging plastics?

Soft plastics such as food wrappers, glad wrap and plastic bags need to be placed in the waste bin unless you are prepared to take them to a supermarket drop-off point for recycling. Some of the major supermarkets are now running soft plastic collections - ask your local shop where their plastic recycling bin is and what you can put in it.

The triangle on plastics is confusing. What does it actually mean?

The triangle with the number inside is a plastic identification code, not a recycling symbol. It only lets you know what kind of plastic the item is made from, but not whether it is recyclable via the recycling bin.

With global markets for products and sophisticated plastics manufacturing technologies, these codes are no longer good indicators for whether or not you can put the item in your yellow lid bin at home.

Paper towel: I’ve heard that this can’t go in the recycling bin? Where do they go then?

Paper towel cannot go in the recycling bin but it can be placed in the green organics bin. The same applies to tissues.

Can video tapes be recycled?

Video tapes are accepted by the Unplug'n'Drop mobile collection points. Look on our E-waste page for further information.

What can I do with paint tins that still have some paint in them?

Only empty and dry paint tins can be recycled.

Get rid of the excess paint by drying it out with kitty litter or spreading it out on newspaper to dry - this then goes in the rubbish bin. For larger amounts of water based paints, you can buy a drying out kit from major hardware stores.

Once the tin is clean and dry, it can go in the recycling bin.

Dried paint is not hazardous and can be placed in the waste bin.

How to dispose of motor oil and kitchen oil?

Avoid pouring oils down the drain. There are quite a few options for disposal of oils. One of these is that you can take used oils in containers to a transfer station such as Solo Resource Recovery (181 Morphett Road, North Plympton, SA 5037). You can decant the oil into a drum and dispose of your container at the site. (phone number below)

Vegetable oils can be soaked up with newspaper and placed in the organics bin (green lid).

What can I do with my food scraps?

Over 30% of landfill waste in the City of Marion comes from food waste. If you are not in a position to run a compost bin or worm farm, you can wrap your scraps in paper (or even leave them loose) and place them in the green bin. This includes all meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable scraps.

Remember, you can collect a FREE Kitchen Caddy from City of Marion (one per household whilst stocks last) with a roll of corn starch compostable bags.

Simply come to City of Marion's customer service desk at 245 Sturt Road, Sturt with proof of residence (e.g. driving licence or rates notice) and fill in the relevant form to collect your caddy. These caddies are designed to help you collect your food scraps and transfer them to the green organics bin.

What can I do with shredded paper?

Shredded paper can be:

  • placed in the recycling bin if contained in a paper bag or cardboard box, OR
  • used as mulch in the garden, OR
  • placed (with organics placed on top) in the green organics bin. The moisture from the organics will clump the paper and therefore stop it from blowing up and down the street when collected.
Why can’t I put mobile phones in the yellow bin if they are recyclable?

Mobile phones contain a variety of valuable components. However, they are made of composite materials (glass, plastic, metal) and require specialised recycling to break these down into their separate components.

Mobile muster is a free service for recycling phones with many locations such as:

  • City of Marion Administration Building, 245 Sturt Road, Sturt.
  • City of Marion City Services, 935 Marion Road, Mitchell Park.
  • City of Marion Libraries (Hallett Cove and Park Holme)
  • Numerous phone retailers
X-rays - can they be recycled?

Yes, old x-rays contain components such as silver. Take your old x-rays to any Red Cross Centre but first check with your doctor that you do not need to keep them for any reason. There are a couple of organisations that recycle x-rays in Adelaide and an internet search can provide more information.

How does China's ban on importing recyclable materials impact recycling within the City of Marion?

There is no change to how people should recycle despite China’s ban on imported recyclable materials. People in Marion should continue to use the three bin system as usual so that products are recycled correctly.

More information about China’s ban on importing recyclable products.