Recycling rules have changed in WA

Media Release 12 November 2018

Recycling rules have changed? Why?

For all councils in the Perth metropolitan area, there have been changes regarding what can and can’t be recycled in your yellow lid bin. These changes are part of an effort to reduce contamination and make recycling easier for everyone.

Until recently, many of these materials were sent to China, the world's largest manufacturer. On 1 January 2018, China implemented their 'National Sword Program' which restricted imports and put in place much stricter standards for contamination levels of materials they would accept. As a result, other countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia received an oversupply of material and also stopped accepting imports. This has made recyclable materials harder to sell and has pushed down commodity prices across the world.

As a result of this change, the State Government has established a Waste Taskforce to look at ways to address the issue. Western Australia's three recycling companies have worked together to establish a new, consistent list of items that can be placed in the recycling bin, with the aim of reducing contamination so that materials can still be sold and costs to ratepayers contained.

Your Yellow Lid Recycilng Bin

Accepted materials 

  • Glass bottles and jars - clean and empty - lids off
  • Plastic bottles and containers - clean and empty - lids off 
  • Paper, newspaper, office paper, magazines, junk mail and phone books (no shredded paper)
  • Drink cartons including fruit juice and milk cartons (no silver-lined UHT cartons)
  • Steel and aluminium cans - clean and empty (no other metal items of any kind)
  • Cardboard - remove contents and flattened.

Materials not accepted 

  • Material in bags (any recyclable material should be placed loose in the bin)
  • Plastic bags and light plastic film eg. cling wrap
  • Nappies
  • Clothes or other textiles
  • Garden waste and food waste
  • Gas bottles
  • Aerosols
  • Polystyrene
  • Meat trays
  • China, porcelain or pottery
  • Liquids of any kind
  • Ropes, cables and garden hose pipes. 
  • If in doubt, leave it out.

What does this mean for you?

All recycling facilities in WA can NOT accept the following items in the yellow-lid recycling bin:

Soft ‘scrunchable’ plastics

Plastic bags, cling wrap, bubble wrap, lolly wrappers, chip packets, cereal bags and other soft, scrunchable plastics get mixed up with bales of paper and cardboard at the recycling facilities, making them hard to sell. 

Please take all soft plastics to REDcycle bins in major supermarkets. These will be recycled into park equipment, bollards and other items. You can help by purchasing less soft plastic, choosing items with minimal packaging, using reusable bags and contacting producers to request that they minimise unnecessary packaging. Visit for more details.

Aerosol cans

Aerosol cans are hazardous as they generally contain residual flammable liquids, which can cause fires and explosions at the recycling facility. Please take aerosols to the West Metro Recycling Centre (formerly Brockway Transfer Station) located on the corner of Brockway Road and Lemnos Street, Shenton Park. They will be sent off for recycling through the WMRC’s Household Hazardous Waste program. Visit for more information.

Meat trays

Due to contamination of meat trays and the mixture of materials used to make them, they should be placed in your general waste bin. Consider buying your meat from a butcher where purchases are wrapped in paper or try taking your own reusable container.


Polystyrene is light and bulky, making it uneconomical to transport overseas for recycling. Please place in your landfill bin.

Coffee Cups

Take-away coffee cups and lids are unable to be recycled. Try and avoid single use disposables such as coffee cups. Some cafes even offer a discount if you bring your own cup, so why not invest in a reusable alternative. Find out more about the Responsible Cafe initiative.

For more information about recycling visit our website


Media contact

For media enquiries, please contact the City’s Communications Officer.