Waste and Recycling Mythbusters

Waste is a hot topic in our community, but with so many options it’s sometimes hard to know the right thing to do.

We hear so many waste and recycling myths; we've pulled together a list of common ones and set the record straight.

Common waste and recycling myths

This triangle tells us the type of plastic the item is made from. It doesn’t automatically mean you can place it in your recycling bin.

Try looking for the new Australasian Recycling Label, this will help you find the right place for your waste.

Each of your three kerbside bins are serviced by a different waste truck. The truck that empties your yellow lid recycling bin takes your recyclables to a materials recovery facility (often called a "MURF"). 

From here, your recyclables are sorted by hand and machine by material type (such as plastic, glass and paper), ready to be turned into new products and sent back out into the world.

City of Newcastle introduced an on-call bulk waste service in 2012. The previous street-wide clean outs were both dangerous and an eyesore.

You can now book a bulk waste pick-up for a time that is convenient for you, by calling us on 4974 2000 or filling in our online request form.

Remember, don’t put your waste on the kerb before booking a collection. This is classed as illegal dumping and you could be fined. 

Batteries don't belong in any of your kerbside bins. They contain hazardous materials and can cause fires in our collection trucks.  

There are lots of free recycling drop off points near you, including your local library,  Summerhill Community Recycling Centre and various retailers.

The recycling system is set up to accept bottles with the lids off; you can pop the lids in your yellow lid recycling bin too.

There is no need to wash your containers, just make sure they don't have food or liquid left in them as this could ruin the quality of the other recyclable materials.

There are other ways to recycle aside from your kerbside yellow lid bin.

Many large supermarkets offer in-store recycling for soft plastics and batteries.

Some organisations also supply prepaid postage satchels for mobile phones, old clothing and used toothbrushes.

When it comes to recycling, if in doubt—leave it out. Just because you wish it could be recycled, doesn’t mean it can. 'Wish cycling' can undo all the hard work you and others have put into recycling right.

If you put bagged recyclables in your yellow lid bin, they will not get recycled.

By placing items loosely in your recycling bin, you can ensure they get processed for recycling at the Materials Recovery Facility.

Not just yet. We're working on introducing a new food organics service in the future. Watch this space!

For now, food scraps should be placed in your red lid bin, or in your home compost or worm farm. Check out our special discounts on home composting products.

Only common household items, such as aluminium cans, steel tins and metal jar lids, can go in your yellow lid recycling bin.

Other types of metal items can damage our trucks and the equipment at the materials recovery facility. You can drop off most scrap metal items, free of charge, at Summerhill Waste Management Centre.

Not all glass items are made the same way. The only types of glass you can put in your yellow lid recycling bin are glass bottles and jars.

Other types of glass—such as drinking glasses, lightbulbs, window panes and oven-proof glas (including Pyrex)—belong in your red lid general waste bin. These products are hardened (heat treated) when manufactured and won’t melt down properly in the recycling process, making the new glass products too brittle to use.

More Waste and Recycling Mythbusters

More waste and recycling myths

Paint shouldn't be placed in any kerbside bin.

Residents can drop off paint, free of charge:

Residents can upsize their yellow lid bin, from the standard 240-litre bin to a 360-litre bin, for a low one-off fee.

Yellow-lid bin recyclables can also be dropped off at Summerhill Waste Management Centre. This service is free of charge to Newcastle residents through our Sort & Save program. Conditions apply.

Unlike most paper items, paper cups can't be recycled via your kerbside bin service.

Paper cups have a plastic or plant-based lining that stops liquid from seeping through. This waterproof liner makes the cups difficult to recycle.

Coffee cup lids are recyclable and can be placed in your yellow lid bin. (Please note: black lids may not be recovered at the sorting facility. The optic technology has trouble detecting the small black lids on the black conveyor belt. Light-coloured lids will get recycled).

Other options

Simply Cups offers a specialised recycling service for coffee cups and lids, including a free in-store  drop-off at 7-Eleven stores and other participating locations.

Remembering to bring along a reusable mug when grabbing a takeaway cuppa is the best action you can take to reduce waste.

Expired medicines shouldn't be placed in any of your bins. They also shouldn't be flushed down the toilet or sink.

You can return unwanted medicines to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.

Empty blister packs (from tablets and capsules, such as paracetamol) can be dropped off at participating Pharmacycle collection points for recycling. Otherwise, place in your red lid bin.

Pizza boxes can go in your yellow lid bin providing there's not too much oil residue. All food must be removed first.

If the bottom of the box is greasy, tear off the clean lid and recycle it. You can put the dirty portion in your red lid bin, or rip it into smaller pieces and add to a home compost.

As Summerhill Waste Management Centre is an operational site, it's a condition of entry that you wear fully enclosed shoes. This means no thongs, crocs, or sandals.

Please remember to bring a cashless form of payment, such as a credit card or your smart phone.

It's important to plan your visit so you have enough time to unload before closing time: 4.45pm on weekdays and 2.45pm on weekends and public holidays. Summerhill is closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.