The end of the yellow bin? Here's why it should be


There are calls for Australia to ditch yellow recycling bins, with claims they are not as environmentally friendly as we may think.

Environmental experts claim throwing all our recycling into the one bin may not be helping the nation’s recycling woes, and they say Aussie households should have multiple bins for different recyclable items.

In Germany, there are five separate bins for people to use to recycle.

There is an organic bin, one for plastic, another for paper and two separate bins for clear and coloured glass.

Recycling bins may not be as environmentally friendly as we think. Source: Getty

Deputy director of environmental group The Boomerang Alliance, Jayne Paramor, told The Guardian following other countries could be the answer to improving recycling in Australia.

“We used to actually separate our paper out from our plastic and glass and tins,” she said.

“It was only about 10-15 years ago that that changed and [some councils] decided everything to go in one bin. That was when the problem started.”

Throwing recyclable items in together can cause contamination. Source: AAP

Ms Paramor said one main reason why Australia’s yellow-top bins should be ditched is because throwing our recycling together can cause contamination.

Glass shattering and shards sticking into a pizza box means that cardboard can no longer be used.

If somebody in the household throws a nappy or a battery into the bin, then it can cause clogging issues in recycling sorting machines.

In April, Ipswich council became the first in Australia to take a step towards fixing the contamination issue and made the decision to send recyclable rubbish to landfill.

Deputy Major Wayne Wendt told AAP Ipswich had a long-time problem of contamination of recycling waste due to a number of residents putting items, including food waste, dirty nappies and foam packaging into recycling bins.

Shards of glass stuck in cardboard can stop it from being recycled. Source: Getty

The council however suffered backlash for its decision so in May it came up with a new plan to try and cut contamination rates by more than half.

It banned glass from kerbside bins and only allows paper, cardboard, aluminium cans and plastic containers to be put in yellow bins.

Ipswich councillor David Morrison said in a statement it was aiming to cut contamination down by more than 50 per cent.

“Broken glass is causing contamination of paper and cardboard that are recycled in the yellow lid bin. We are focussing on getting our contamination levels down,” he said in a statement.

The council is planning to come up with a new idea for how glass is collected.