Are You Recycling? (Part 2): What To Do With Everything That Can't Go In Your Curbside Bin

By Taylor Steinhorst

Are You Recycling? Here's How To Get Started! continued...

Alright, so your curbside bins won’t accept all types of plastic. What are you supposed to do with Resin Identification Codes (RIC#) 3, 4, 6, & 7?

To become an A+ student in recycling, it’s important to understand how to recycle everything that can’t go in your curbside bin. Educating yourself about recycling can become quite complex, so our goal is to make it as simple as possible for you. We’ve done the research and found the best databases to assist in the disposal of these items.

RIC #4 may not be found on many plastic goods, as these items are mostly soft plastics such as grocery bags and plastic cling wrap, which are not typically labelled. Some #4 products can be accepted in your curbside bin, but we highly recommend double checking with your local council first. It's important to remember, plastic grocery bags never go in your curbside bin.

The best way to recycle your #4 plastics is with REDcycleREDcycle bins collect all of your soft plastics (grocery bags, frozen food bags, newspaper bags, etc.) and are found at most Coles & Woolworths locations. To find your nearest dropoff point, refer to their location map.

RIC #6 Polystyrene (aka styrofoam), can be one of the hardest plastics to recycle as it is lightweight and takes a lot of energy to break down. It’s best to avoid purchasing products with this code on it.

Expanded Polystyrene Australia is the driving force behind the industry, involved with the manufacturing and recycling of this material. They’ve established collection facilities nationwide across Australia. To find a collection point in your state, head to the EPSA website.

RIC#’s 3 & 7 may not be seen as often as other typical-use plastic products, so we recommend researching based off where you live, as every local council has their own way of recycling certain materials.

RIC #3 is commonly used for many building materials including plumbing pipes, seals or cable covers. It's considered to be quite toxic and hard to recycle, as it requires a mechanical recycling procedure in order to be reused. 

RIC #7 can be very hard to identify as it includes all types of plastic not previously mentioned. It also includes all types of mixed plastics, which if recycled incorrectly can contaminate and entire batch of good recyclables.

For information on e-waste and other recyclables, Planet Ark has created a database where you can search by material & postcode to find a Recycler Near You.

If you’re still unsure, visit the TerraCycle website to learn about local recycling programs.