14 Items You Shouldn’t Throw In Recycling Bins

Throwing away various sorts of items on curbside bins has been part of our daily lives. We know that it’s our duty to sort them and dispose of the recyclable ones separately

However, we often don’t pay much attention to the job and turn a blind eye to the items that require special handling and care. 

It’s essential to understand that you can’t throw all items made from recyclable materials in recycling bins. You have to be extra careful when sorting them out, as you may think some are recyclable but they turn out to be the opposite. 

Little did you know, you’ve probably tossed numerous items in recycling bins that shouldn’t belong there. But it’s not entirely your fault because there are many rules when we talk about what you can and can’t throw on recycling bins. 

It often depends on the local or state rules and guidelines which items or rubbish you can put in recycling bins. This also goes along with the policies of your particular waste company.  

Moreover, the product labels don’t always give clear instructions of whether the packaging is recyclable or not, making the sorting process complicated. Since it’s quite complex, we often have difficulties and fall short on unwanted items’ segregation and disposal. 

Hence, we’ve listed some items that you shouldn’t throw in recycling bins to help you with your rubbish sorting and disposal process. 


Many things we use include batteries, which cause us to end up with several pieces needing proper disposal. You typically don’t toss any types of batteries into your home’s recycling bin. 

But you can recycle these items in the right facilities. You can take your unwanted rechargeable batteries to many places, such as office supplies or home improvement stores. For single-use batteries, you can gather them and find a battery recycling facility near you.  

Light Bulbs

With so many kinds of light bulbs, it becomes difficult to know whether you should put them in your regular or recycling bins. You may wonder if you can recycle any of these types, so here’s what you need to know. 

Halogen, incandescent, and LED light bulbs can go into your regular curbside bins. If you need to dispose of such things, wrap them up with paper first before throwing them away. On the other hand, compact fluorescent lamps and tubes need to go to proper recycling and disposal facilities as they contain toxic materials. 


Electronics contain toxic elements, such as lead and mercury. That’s why you shouldn’t be disposing of them in your recycling or even in your regular curbside bin. It’s also illegal to dump them on alleyways or streets. 

If you want to throw out your old electronics, you may turn to donation centres or other facilities that accept any types of electronic devices. 


Styrofoam is a non-biodegradable material made up of polystyrene. You can’t recycle this item and definitely shouldn’t end up in your recycling bin. If you have gathered these things and want to get rid of them, you can try to find a facility in your area that would accept them for disposal.

Plastic Bags

Although we consider plastic bags as recyclables, these items don’t belong to your home’s recycling bin. They are non-biodegradable, and attempting to put them in your curbside bins has major concerns. 

Most curbside recycling facilities in your area can only deal with rigid plastics and won’t take plastic bags. This is because these items can cause blockage on the machines, and workers would usually try to remove them by hand, which is quite risky. 

If you’re looking to dispose of such items, there are many grocery stores with a recycling station for plastic bags. Store recycling might be your only option to get rid of those things from your house. 

It’s important to dispose of plastic bags properly because they take centuries to decompose due to them being non-biodegradable and are harmful enough to be the prime source of marine debris. 

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap isn’t recyclable because this form of plastic contains thin film that may jam up recycling equipment. Be sure not to put them in your recycling bin.

But these items don’t have to add up to the rubbish dumped on landfills as many facilities can take them. Try to find one and get rid of your unwanted bubble wrap properly.

Pizza Boxes

Although the cardboard box itself is recyclable, the problem is the bits of food lingering on its surfaces. Greasy pizza boxes should not fall on your recycling bin as food and oil residue can mess up recycling machines.

If you manage to have a grease-free and non-soiled pizza box, you may put it in your recycling bin. But remember to pay attention to its texture and appearance. Shiny-coated boxes may contain plastic mixed with the paper, and you can’t recycle or compost them. 

Paper Towels

There are two major reasons why paper towels can’t be in your recycling bin. Firstly, they may contain bits of food and other residues, contaminating an entire batch of recyclables. 

Secondly, most paper towels have already undergone the recycling process, making their fibres too small to go through it once more.

Aerosol Cans

You can’t recycle aerosol cans even if it’s a non-hazardous liquid container like whipped cream. This is because they have pressurized air inside. 

But some communities allow the recycling of an empty aerosol can. You can check if your local recycling facility accepts them. If not, then you can opt to have them for separate hazardous waste disposal. 


The best way to get rid of your old clothes, bedding, and towels is through a local op-shop or charity if they’re in good condition as these items can’t go into your recycling bin. 

If your clothes and fabrics are completely worn out and can’t be of good use anymore, many clothing brands and retailers now have recycling bins in their stores. 


Hangers are non-recyclable items and don’t belong to your recycling bin. Wire hangers can clog recycling equipment, and the plastic ones aren’t always made up of pure plastics. 

It’s difficult for disposal facilities to identify what type of plastic other hangers are made of, causing them to refuse these items too. Neither wire nor plastic hangers should end up on your recycling bin as they can be problematic when sorting. 

But you can opt to take your wire hangers to scrap metal businesses that have the means of handling wiry things and donate the other ones in op-shops. 


Mirrors are consisting of reflective coating and glass, which make them difficult to recycle. If you want to get rid of such items, you may put them on sale or donation if they’re in decent condition. 

On the other hand, you can try to look if there are any artistic groups or individuals in your area who need mirrors for their artworks and craft projects. 

Keep in mind that you should never throw mirrors or mirror bits on your recycling bin. If you can’t donate them or find groups that would take them, you can wrap these items with newspaper and put them in your regular curbside bin. Doing so will help prevent injuries of workers in waste disposal facilities. 

Drinking Glasses

Drinking glasses are non-recyclable items made up of lead glass. They may jumble up the recycling process of other kinds of glass. Hence, never put them in your recycling bin. Instead, wrap them up with paper and throw them in your regular rubbish bin. 


You can’t melt down ceramics for recycling, although they are technically recyclable. Most rubbish recycling facilities won’t accept them as they may contaminate an entire load of recyclable glass. 

However, your old mugs don’t have to end up in the landfills. You have the choice to donate them to an op-shop or charity. If there’s a drop-off facility near you that accepts chipped ceramics, you can also opt for this alternative to get rid of those items. 

Aside from that, you can try to find a place that accepts brick and concrete and see if they can take ceramics for recycling. Some artists in your area might be collecting them for mosaics and art projects. If these options aren’t accessible for you, your last resort is to throw them out in your regular curbside bin. 


Whenever you put items in your recycling bin that don’t belong there, you’re causing harm to the recycling process. Those things contaminate the recyclable ones and may cause harm or injury to facility workers.

Hence, it’s essential to make efforts and know the items you can’t throw into your recycling bins. By doing so, you can help reduce the risks while keeping the recycling system healthy.

Don’t let yourself fall short and put items in the recycling bin even though you aren’t sure whether they’re recyclable or not. Always remember that recycling is a system designed to sort and process only selected materials.

It’s not something you can always turn to when you don’t know where to get rid of an item, hoping that recycling facilities can turn everything into something new. Be responsible and keep your recycling bins free of contaminants to improve the recycling system.

If you need some assistance to sort your items, you can call on Kurt’s Rubbish Removal for fast and reliable  rubbish removal services. We know what to do, and our team can help you sort your recyclable and non-recyclable items to keep everything clean and risk-free.

You may contact us for service at 0428 255 438 or email us at [email protected] for a free quote. 


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