Household Recycling


Not all domestic waste products are suitable for recycling. This is a guide to help you decide what to take to your nearest domestic recycling drop-off depot, and what should go in the rubbish bin. 

Know what you can recycle at home

It's also important to be aware of the fact that not all domestic recycling drop-off points accept every kind of all recycling materials. It's best to call ahead to find out what you can bring and check the hours of operation as they may change from time to time.

How to recycle waste

a. Rinse

Wash and dry any food and beverage containers such as wine bottles, food tins and beer cans.

b. Separate Recyclables

Don't throw your recyclable materials into the dustbin thinking you'll fish them out later. Rather have a separate bin (or bag) each for paper, glass, metal and plastic and throw the waste directly in it.

c. Drop off

When your glass, paper, metal and plastic bags are full, drop them off at the Recycling Depot that's closest to you. Each depot has its own system for drop-offs: some depots have demarcated areas for certain materials, while others have people on site to help you sort your waste. If you're uncertain, call ahead to ask.

Recycling Paper and Cardboard

The following types of paper can be recycled:

  • white office paper,
  • magazines and books (glossy magazines and inserts printed on glossy paper are recyclable, as long as nothing is laminated),
  • newspapers, or
  • corrugated cardboard.

The following may not be recycled.

  • No laminated or waxy paper (such as that often found in boxes used for tomatoes or bananas), 
  • No waxy paper ream wrappers, 
  • No tetrapacks (fruit juice and milk containers that seem to be made out of paper, but are lined with foil and plastic), 
  • No punch confetti, 
  • No carbon paper, or
  • No stickers.

Recycling glass

The following glass can be recycled:

  • Wine bottles,
  • Food jars (used for jam, mayonnaise, tomato sauce etc), and
  • Light bulbs, sheet glass, mirrors and Pyrex can be recycled, but should be stored separately as they are made of a different kind of glass.

Note: Rinse out and dry bottles containing the remains of foodstuffs and beverages. You can leave paper labels on the glass.

Recycling metal

The following metal can be recycled but note items with asterisk

  • Aluminium cooldrink cans
  • Food tins (these should be rinsed. It helps if you remove the paper label, too)
  • Lids of glass containers
  • Aluminium foil and foil packaging
  • Small metal items (such as staples, paperclips)
  • Paint and aerosol cans (leave labels on the cans as their contents are viewed as hazardous and recyclers need to know what was in them)
  • Old car body parts*
  • Rusty garden furniture*
  • Non-ferrous metals (anything made out of copper, aluminium, brass, stainless steel)*

Note: Very few recycling depots accept these metal items. Call ahead to make sure.

Recycling plastic

The following plastic can be recycled:

  • Food and beverage containers (hard plastic as used containers for ice cream, milk, juice, bottled water, soft drinks, milk, butter and margarine)
  • Household cleaner containers (hard plastic such as that used for cleaners such as Handy Andy, bleach, dishwashing liquid, fabric softener)
  • Plastic bags (soft plastic such as that used to wrap magazines, six-packs of beer or packs of toilet paper)

Note: NO cling-wrap can be recycled.

Recycling electronic waste (eWaste)

These appliances can be recycled, if you are not sure, call the depot to find out.

  • Electronic goods (for example: cellphones, computers, tv's, whether working or not)
  • Electrical household appliances (for example: fridges, toasters, ovens, whether working or not)

Other recycling resources

  • 110% Green is an initiative of the Western Cape Government to mobilise citizens of the province to commit and act in practical ways that have a positive impact on the province's environmental and economic growth.
  • For more information visit the Cape Town Green Map website.
  • The Smart Living Handbook is a handy guide to sustainable living.
Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 17 July 2015