Yellow lid Recycling Wheelie Bin


Rockhampton Regional Waste and Recycling provides fortnightly collection of yellow lid recycling wheelie bins for properties within declared collection areas, with your property scheduled as either Week 1 or Week 2. Use our handy ‘search your bin day’ tool and the Recycling Wheelie Bin Fortnightly Service Calendar as a helpful reminder.

Approximately 4,300 tonnes of recyclable materials are collected via yellow lid bins each year!  By recycling right, we increase resource recovery, help build a local circular economy and reduce waste going to landfill.

Knowing what items can go in your yellow lid bin will help make sure we’re recycling as much as we can and recycling correctly. 

Get your recycling sorted!

Sorting your recycling is now easier than ever with Recycle Mate - your local recycling guide!

Search Recycle Mate to find out what items can be put in your household recycling bin - simply click here or the image below. 


You can also download the free Recycle Mate app from the App Store or get the Recycle Mate app on Google Play. 

What items can you recycle in your yellow lid bin?

Glass | Clear, green and amber glass bottles and jars.
  • Juice and soft drink bottles
  • Oil, sauce and vinegar bottles
  • Glass jars
  • Alcohol bottles
  • Medicine bottles
Aluminium and Steel | Scrape/ rinse out all content remnants.
  • Soft drink cans
  • Clean aluminium or tin foil (clean foil to be collected as a scrunched ball >5cm diameter)
  • Empty aerosol deodorant and paint cans
  • Metal lids over 5cm wide
  • Beer and alcohol cans
  • Food tins
  • Biscuit tins
Plastic containers | (On hard moulded plastics look for the numbered 1, 2, 4 & 5 recycling symbols)

No Styrofoam/Polystyrene items.

  • Drink and milk bottles
  • Sauce bottles
  • Household containers
  • Shampoo/toiletry containers
  • Biscuit trays
  • Margarine tubs, ice-cream containers, lunch boxes
  • Cleaning liquid bottles
  • Plastic cups 

Paper and Cardboard | Remove any plastic wrap or plastic packaging and flatten boxes.

  • Newspapers 
  • Junk mail and magazines
  • Loose office paper
  • Envelopes - plain or windowface
  • Greeting cards and wrapping paper
  • Telephone directories and books 
  • Food and egg cartons
  • Clean pizza boxes
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Boxes - corrugated and unwaxed

Frequently Asked Questions 

Where do my recyclable items go?

Clean, eligible, household food and beverage containers, plus paper and cardboard packaging, can be placed in your yellow-lid recycling wheelie bin, or self-hauled to be dropped off for free in the commingled recycling skips in the Recycling Areas at all Council waste facilities across the Rockhampton Region.

Your recyclables are then transported to a MRF (Material Recovery Facility - acronym pronounced ‘MeRF’) to have some contamination removed, items are separated by material type, baled, and on-sold to a processor, who refines into a raw material and on-sells to a manufacturer, who makes a new product out of it.

In November 2019, the CQ MRF located in Parkhurst, and contracted to sort recyclables from Rockhampton Regional Council and other surrounding councils, was destroyed by fire caused by the disposal of hazardous waste - batteries! Since then, recycling trucks have been unloading at Lakes Creek Road Waste Management Facility for transfer into bulk haul semi-trailers and driven to Mackay or Brisbane MRFs for sorting.

As of February 2024, Rockhampton Regional Council secured a contract to have our recyclables go to the Sunshine Coast and Mackay Council MRFs.

The long-term endeavour identified in Council's Resource Recovery Strategy and Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Management Plan, is to procure a regional MRF solution. Council continues to liaise with government agencies and industry groups to seek co-support to deliver a safe and effective service that covers the cost of its’ processing operation. Your efforts now, in separating eligible recyclable items from general waste, rinsing items clean, not bagging them and recycling more correct items, reduces costs in processing your recyclables and helps build our case for having a local MRF again sooner.

What do the recycling symbols on packaging mean?

There are lots of labels on packaging and understandably, this can present challenges in knowing how to correctly recycle or dispose of an item.

Below is a brief overview of the recycling symbol and what it means when you see recycling labels on your product packaging.

About the recycling symbol (Mobius Loop)

The mobius loop (commonly known as the recycling symbol) was created in 1970 in a design contest to launch Earth Day. Based on a triangular form of the mobius strip, the chasing arrows design has become the internationally recognised symbol for people's intent to keep natural resources circulating. 

Note! Seeing a recycling symbol on a product does not guarantee that the product is accepted in local recycling collection systems. 

Plastics identification codes (or resin code)

When you see the recycling symbol with a number in the middle, this is the plastics identification code. The plastics identification code  communicates the type of plastic that the product is made of.

Note! Seeing a plastics identification code on a plastic product does not guarantee that the product is accepted in local recycling collection systems. 

In Rockhampton Regional Council, plastic products with the plastic identification codes 1, 2, 4 & 5 are accepted in household yellow lid recycling bins. If you are unsure if your item is accepted in yellow lid bin  search Recycle Mate on Council's website!

Recycling Tick
 Recycling-Plastic-Identification-Symbols-1  PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate)
all_bins_no-items_NO_logo_yellow  Recycling Tick  Recycling-Plastic-Identification-Symbols2  HDPE (High-density polyethylene)
     Recycling-Plastic-Identification-Symbols3  PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)
 Recycling Tick  Recycling-Plastic-Identification-Symbols4  LDPE (Low-density polyethylene)
all_bins_no-items_NO_logo_yellow  Recycling Tick  Recycling-Plastic-Identification-Symbols5 PP (Polyproylene)
     Recycling-Plastic-Identification-Symbols6  PS (Polystyrene)
     Recycling-Plastic-Identification-Symbols7  OTHER 

What do other packaging labels mean?

There are lots of labels on packaging and understandably, this can present challenges in knowing how to correctly recycle or dispose of an item.

If you are unsure, if your item is accepted in yellow lid bins, search Recycle Mate on Council's website!

Below is a brief overview of some labels you see on packaging in Australia. 

Australasian Recycling Label (ARL)

Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Planet Ark and PREP Design work in partnership to deliver the Australasian Recycling Label Program. The Australasian Recycling Label aims to help consumers better understand how to recycle products effectively and assist brand owners to design packaging that is recyclable at end-of-life.

Note! Seeing an ARL on a product does not guarantee that the product is accepted in local recycling collection systems. 


Product contains recycled content

The recycled content of a product may be displayed, often near or under a recycling symbol. This is stating the percentage of recycled material used in the manufacturing of the product. There is a lot happening to reform packaging regulation and improve recycled content traceability. Find out more about recycled content in the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation's Recycled Content Guide

Containers for change - 10c mark

Containers that are eligible for Queensland's Containers for change program will have a 10c mark on their packaging label.


What is contamination?

Contamination is a term used to describe any item that isn't supposed to be in the yellow lid recycling bin.

Contamination causes many issues for recycling including damaging machinery, reducing the quality and value of recyclable material, increasing processing costs, and health and safety issues.

It is now easier than ever to sort your recycling with Recycle Mate. You can check what items can be put in your household recycling bin and find community recycling drop-off locations near you.

Did you know? Council conducts annual kerbside bin audits to determine levels of contamination in yellow lid recycling bins. Council's Resource Recovery Strategy sets a goal to reduce contamination in yellow lid recycling bins from 22% (as at 2022) to 10% by 2040. 

How long has the Rockhampton Region been recycling?

Did you know residential recycling here in the Rockhampton Region has been in place for just over 30 years? 

Check out how recycling got started locally below!

  • In 1992 the former Rockhampton City Council commenced a recycling collection service via a two-bag system for households and businesses who chose to participate.
  • In 2003 the bag recycling collection service expanded to include Gracemere.
  • In 2008 the recycling service was upgraded to a 240L yellow-lid wheelie bin and rolled out to all properties within declared collection areas.
  • In 2010 the recycling service expanded to include all properties within declared collection areas within the Rockhampton Regional Council area – which at that time also included Livingstone Shire, Fitzroy Shire and Mount Morgan Shire due to amalgamation.
  • Since de-amalgamation in 2014, the kerbside recycling service has been provided to a growing population across the Rockhampton Regional Council area - currently totalling 33,483 households and 2,534 businesses.
  • As at 2024, approximately 4,300 tonnes of recyclable materials are collected via yellow lid bins each year.

Over these years, the recycling industry has evolved significantly. 

  • How your recyclables have been collected changed (from bag system to bins),
  • Where your recyclables go to be processed changed (depending on Material Recovery Facility (MRF) contract),
  • What raw materials products are being made from continues to change (influenced by global markets and consumer expectations for sustainable packaging and recycled content), and
  • How products are designed and manufactured continues to change (in line with regulatory requirements and standards).

These factors will continue to influence what is eligible to be recycled in your kerbside recycling collection. Keep up to date with what is accepted in your yellow lid recycling bin and knowing how to get your household recycling sorted.

Thank you, Rockhampton Region, for your 32 years of recycling so far, we look forward to many more.

Why is recycling important to our circular economy?

Through our local residents' recycling efforts, approximately 4,300 tonnes of recyclable materials are collected via yellow lid bins each year!

By putting items accepted in yellow lid bins we increase resource recovery, help build a circular economy and reduce waste going to landfill. 

Recycling is key to building a circular economy, where opportunities are found across the supply chain to retain and circulate resources in the economy at their highest value for as long as possible. 


As consumers, we can also influence product manufacturers to change from using low quality materials by choosing items in less packaging, choosing packaging that can be recycled and choosing products made from recycled content.

Recycling remains a key, everyday action our community can do to reduce waste to landfill which is the primary goal of Council's Resource Recovery Strategy. 

How is the recycling industry evolving?

The recycling industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. It is impacted by many market sectors and is responsive to local, state, national and global influences and policy directions. The ability for a product to be recycled is directly linked to all steps of supply chains, from the design, manufacture, transport, sale, and initial use of products, through to the collection and sorting processes, transport, on sale, return into re-manufacturable form, and recycled into a new product, where the supply chain cycle starts again. 

When developments, innovations or changes occur in the recycling industry supply chain, it can affect what items are accepted in your kerbside yellow-lid recycling bin. 

Plastics in particular have varying quality and associated monetary value. Some legislation is in place to regulate the sale of low-quality plastics such as the China Sword Policy (a 2018 ruling introduced by China to reduce the volume and contamination levels of recyclable materials in imports for reprocessing) plus industry guidelines for more sustainable packaging, which are in place in Australia but not mandated. This means there are now fewer end markets to sell lower quality plastics too.

This resulted in a change to what plastic items are accepted in yellow lid bins. As at 2024, plastics eligible for recycling are only hard moulded food and beverage containers stamped with the recycling symbol and numbered 1, 2, 4 & 5. Plastic containers stamped with the recycling symbol and numbered 3, 6 or 7 are no longer accepted. In addition, plastic lids are to be removed from containers and bottles and placed in general waste bins. Unfortunately, plastic lids less than 5cm in diameter can no longer be collected inside a plastic bottle to be recycled.

Liquid paperboard containers have had a similar industry change. This type of material is used for long life milk or juice cartons, insulated dairy products, and is commonly known by its brand name of Tetra Pak. Long-life cartons are made of a combination of paper, aluminium and plastic which provides the properties that keep products fresh for long periods without refrigeration. However, the combination of different materials also makes the cartons difficult to recycle. End markets have become limited in recent years because overseas recyclers no longer accept them.

This has resulted in a change to what is accepted in yellow lid recycling bins. As at 2024, liquid paperboard containers are not accepted in yellow lid recycling bins.

Please note that juice boxes or poppas (with the 10c mark), which are packaged in liquid paperboard, continue to be accepted through the Containers for Change scheme where you self-haul to a depot.   

Council ensures that any changes to what is accepted in yellow lid bins is reflected in our online recycling tool Recycle Mate.

How does the Containers for Change program work?

To help reduce litter and encourage community recycling efforts the Queensland Government introduced the Containers for Change scheme which allows people to receive a 10 cent refund for each eligible container returned to a refund point.

What containers are eligible for a refund?

  • Most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3 litres are eligible for a refund.
  • Look for the refund mark; "10c refund at collection depot in participating state/ territory of purchase".
  • Drink containers generally consumed only at home (eg. cordial, plain milk, condiments and cleaning) are excluded.

Visit Containers for Change website for frequently asked questions and to search for container refund points.