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Easy Eco Choices for a Busy Home: Ways to Recycle the 'Unrecyclable'

It’s hard enough trying to remember all of the day-to-day things that we’re meant to be doing as parents, let alone anything extra! I know too well how easy it is to forget all of the small in between details and just focus on the big ticket items. If my kids are fed, bathed, clothed, loved, had enough outdoor time, not too much screen-time… I’ll give myself a HUGE pat on the back! I totally understand why the last thing you want to do is add on another stressful layer of the eco kind.
When our household first started taking the steps towards becoming more eco-minded, the list was overwhelming. Just thinking about how big that 'zero-waste' mountain is to climb is exhausting (and we are no where near the summit!). Sure, we all know the best option is to reduce our overall waste and make smarter consumer decisions... but it's not always that easy. So we think second best is to reuse or recycle.
Below I want to share some of the simpler and FREE ($$$) recycling programs, outside of the traditional curbside recycling bin, that can make a positive eco-impact for your home and help to reduce landfill worldwide.
1) Soft plastics
Did you know that over 40% of single-use plastic comes from product and food packaging alone?
We’re lucky that it’s already so easy to recycle hard plastics in our home, with the provision of our recycling bins, but soft plastics can be recycled too! REDCycle is a program that will take and recycle your soft plastics and the best thing about it- their bins are in the two major supermarkets Australia-wide! Just drop them at Woolworths or Coles when you’re doing your usual grocery shop.
In our home we have a main larger soft plastic bag filled with all of the other soft plastic bags (you know, like how we used to store plastic shopping bags before single-use was phased out?). Instead of putting soft plastics in to our usual garbage we just put them in there instead. Then every time we do our groceries, we simply drop the full main bag in to the designated REDcycling bin at the front of our local Woolies. The general rule is if you can scrunch the plastic in your hand then it can go in their bins.
Types of soft- plastics you might be putting in your normal rubbish bin but can go to the REDcycle program are:
- Bread bags
- Toilet paper and paper towel packaging
- Confectionery, frozen food/ veg, pasta and rice bags
- Standard plastic bags
- The plastic liners inside of cereal boxes or other pantry goods like flour, sugar etc
To see what REDcycle do with these products, or for any more information, hop on over to https://www.redcycle.net.au/faqs/
2) Batteries
It's estimated Australians chuck over 8000 tonnes of batteries in to landfill every year. Only approx 2% get recycled! As the batteries break down they leak toxic and corrosive materials in to the earth, not at all healthy for the environment...
Luckily there's Officeworks. Our one-stop shop not only for batteries but other goods like electronics, printers, cartridges and now even PENS! They make it super easy, with big labelled bins at the front of each of their stores.
Just like we do with the soft plastics, we have a container that collects our old drained batteries (they take AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, laptop & mobile phone batteries). Every time we pop to Officeworks we simply chuck them in the designated bin on our way through. And we've now started doing the same with our useless pens! When we go in to buy our new ink cartridges we just ditch our old ones as we're heading in.
Thankfully we don’t have as many electronics around the house needing to be discarded! But they do take mobiles phones, computer monitors, keyboards, DVDs, CDs, and SO much more.
There are other programs around for these items if you do a search, we just find Officeworks to be the most convenient. For more info on their recycling programs head to https://www.officeworks.com.au/information/about-us/sustainability/environment/recycling
3) Oral care products
Toothpaste in particular is one of those products that can be hard to make the eco-friendly switch with. I’ve seen quite a few “zero waste” bloggers even admit that it’s the one single-use packaging item they will still buy because they just can’t get in to the alternative. But did you know that toothpaste tubes are particularly hard to recycle?
Enter TerraCycle and their partnership with Colgate.
Terracycle is a wonderful initiative doing lots of great things for recycling Australia-wide. Among them is their “send it in” programs, where they’ll pay for you to post back certain waste items that can’t go in to your everyday recycling bin.
As part of their Oral Care Recycling Program they'll not only take toothpaste tubes, but also toothbrushes and floss containers.
It is only one of many other send it in programs they provide for free and you def need to check them out! https://www.terracycle.com/en-AU/brigades
So there are 3 simple switches you might be able to make in your home, second to changing out those products all-together. They certainly aren’t anything extreme but at EcoCubs we truly believe that you should choose progress over perfection and make small steps every day 💚
Are there any others that you know about and are using in your own home? Or are you going to make some changes to your current waste routine? We always love to hear more and share it with our EcoCubs Community. Tag us @ecocubs or comment below!
Anneliese x

Anneliese is the owner of EcoCubs. She is mama to 2 little (wild!) bears Oliver and Charlie, a wife to Ryan and has worked as a registered nurse for the past 13 years. She has always been passionate about the health of people and is now on her journey to living a life that also benefits the health of our planet 💚