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.

A clear and consistent list of items that go into your kerbside recycling bin will lead to cost effective and improved recycling outcomes for Western Australia.

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. 

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 Red Hill Waste Management Facility. They will be sent off for recycling through the EMRC’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program. Click here for more information or view the HWW program flyer.

  • 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

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.


What CAN you recycle and where does it go?

The following items should be placed in your recycling bin clean, loose and if applicable lids removed:

  • Aluminium cans
  • Paper and cardboard (not shredded paper) 
  • Clean plastic bottles, tubs and containers
  • Steel cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • All items should be clean, dry and empty with lids removed. Place all items loose in your recycling bin.

What is the EMRC doing to help?

The EMRC has an extensive waste education program in place, including recycling programs, school talks, tours, workshops and events to assist residents.  Look around this website to see all the things we have to help.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQ's)

What are soft plastics?

Soft plastics are plastics that can be easily scrunched into a ball including plastic bags, cling wrap, bubble wrap, lolly wrappers, chip packets and cereal bags to name a few. If it is plastic but cannot be scrunched into a ball, it is hard plastic.

Do all types of meat trays go into the general waste bin?

Yes. Even if the trays are washed, they still go into the general waste bin.

What do I do with my aerosols now that they can’t go into the kerbside recycling bin?

The Red Hill Waste Management Facility will accept aerosols free of charge as part of the Household Hazardous Waste Program. The facility also provides free drop-off of other recyclable items that do not belong in either the recycling or landfill kerbside bin. Click here for more information.

Do these changes only affect Western Metropolitan councils or are they state-wide?

State-wide. All three recycling facilities in WA agreed on the changes, following the formation of a Waste Taskforce by the State Government.

Where do I find my local REDcycle bin?

If your local grocery store does not have a REDcycle bin, visit the  and enter in your postcode. The page will show the nearest grocery store to you that has a REDcycle bin. 

China banned a number of items in January 2018, why have we just found out about the changes?

The National Sword Program was implemented by China in January 2018 but it took some time for the impact on the global market to be felt, including other countries implementing their own recyclable material import bans. Once this became apparent, the State Government launched their Waste Taskforce on 29 March 2018. As part of this Taskforce, the change to what can be recycled was agreed by the three WA recycling facilities. This was communicated to local governments in an information session on 24 August 2018.

Manage Waste Wisely

The Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) is a regional local government working on behalf of six member Councils located in Perth's Eastern Region: Town of Bassendean, City of Bayswater, City of Belmont, City of Kalamunda, Shire of Mundaring and City of Swan.

The EMRC provides services in waste management, resource recovery, environmental management and regional development. 

EMRC's Waste Services Directorate operates the Red Hill Waste Management Facility and Hazelmere Resource Recovery Park, as well as the Coppin Road and Mathieson Road transfer stations on behalf of the Shire of Mundaring. The organisation undertakes initiatives and activities to aid diversion of waste from landfill to more environmentally sustainable solutions, including composting and mulch processing of greenwaste, timber and mattress recycling and providing advice on contaminated sites.

The Resource Recovery Project, which is also driven by the Waste Services Directorate, aims to develop and implement resource recovery solutions to maximise the social, environmental and economic benefits to Perth's Eastern Region and minimise the amount of waste being directed to landfill. This is complemented by the development and implementation of waste education schemes and initiatives.

For more information, contact EMRC's Waste Education Team
Phone: (08) 9424 2222
Email: Waste Education

Thankyou to the WMRC for providing content.