Recycling is a potentially huge industry. However, like any other city in Australia, Sydney finds it challenging utilising recyclable rubbish and transition to a circular economy. With a population of almost 5 million people, Sydney also generates millions of tons of rubbish every year. On top of that, we only recycle a portion of that amount, which is below the average.

Many people in Sydney have hardly any idea where their rubbish goes after putting them in the bin. Some don’t even care. To be fair, waste companies in Australia aren’t really transparent with their waste processing. So, what really happens to our rubbish for recycling in Sydney? 

How is Sydney Recycling its Waste

On an average day, Sydney produces 5,500 tons of rubbish where over 2,000 tonnes end up in our landfills. Since the peak in 2011, we are producing less and recycling more. About 67% of the waste we generate now goes to recycling, significantly reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. 

Where Does Our Recyclable Rubbish End Up in Sydney?

Australians dispose of their recyclable rubbish in the yellow-lidded kerbside bins where they are collected by trucks and transported to their designated recycling centres. For Sydney residents, our kerbside recycling ends up in the recycling facility in Hume.

Every day, about 200 tons of recyclable rubbish items end up in the said recycling facility. The collected items are an assortment of rubbish for recycling including paper and cardboard, metal scraps, bottles, and plastic containers.

The Recycling Process in Sydney

Once the rubbish truck arrives in the recycling facility, the rubbish is examined to see if there are any non-recyclable rubbish in the pile. They then move along a conveyor belt wherein workers assess any contaminants that might reduce the quality of the recycled products. After which, the items are sorted by shape and size as they go along a rotating cylindrical sieve. 

The materials will then be segregated according to the material. Plastic items are sorted further according to their grades or the number on their packaging. Finally, the recyclable rubbish is then processed to make new materials and products. 

Problems with our Recycling Efforts in Sydney

The recycling efforts in Sydney are not met without challenges. Here are some of the hurdles in achieving a circular economy.

Contaminated Items

Whenever people don’t segregate at source, non-recyclable items such as organic waste, liquid, and broken glass may contaminate the recyclable rubbish. As a result, the latter will not be viable for recycling anymore and is as good as disposable.

Problematic Items

Long and stringy items like ropes and garden hoses are problematic in the recycling facilities. These items can wrap around the recycling equipment and damage them. Aside from these, contained rubbish in plastic bags also presents a problem. Workers don’t have enough time to open these bags, so they won’t be recycled.

“Wish Cycling”

Wish Cycling is the process of throwing non-recyclable items in the recyclable bins, hoping that they will be recycled. This occurs when people aren’t sure whether the item is recyclable or not. Because of this, the recyclable rubbish items become contaminated and won’t be good for recycling. 

Lack of People Buying Recycled Goods

The recycling process will go to waste if they aren’t bought and used again by consumers. However, there is a lack of viable markets in Sydney for recyclable waste, so they end up sitting and piling up in warehouses.


Recycling is just one of our duties to protect the environment, yet we already find it difficult to comply with. Nonetheless, every individual effort counts. If you want to help save the environment, you can begin at home by reducing the amount of waste you generate, reusing, recycling, and composting your organic waste. 

If you find it challenging to begin your eco-friendly journey, Paul’s Rubbish Removal is here to help you. We genuinely care for the environment, so we can assure you that we will discard your rubbish in the most environment-friendly manner. As Sydney’s most trusted rubbish removal company, Paul’s team of expert rubbish removalists will deal with virtually all kinds of rubbish in your home by collecting, segregating, recycling, and disposing of it in landfills.

Let us do the dirty work of handling your rubbish at home. We offer the best prices in rubbish removal services around Sydney. You can call us anytime at 0407 125 125, and we’ll be right where you need us within the hour.


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