Media release – Australian Council of Recycling, 11 August 2022


Now more than ever Australians have a desire to send less to landfill and recycle right, but many of us are still contaminating our kerbside recycling systems, often due to recycling confusion.

Different recycling rules and streams from council to council and the evolution of new products and packaging means recycling correctly every time can often be difficult, even for the most seasoned recycler. Knowing the best way to recycle and whether to recycle certain items can leave many Australians stumped.

The Recycle Mate app and supporting education campaign is helping to remove the recycling guesswork, no matter where you are in Australia. The free Recycle Mate app has been designed with cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology and Australia’s most comprehensive recycling database – right at your fingertips.

Since its launch, Recycle Mate has given users across Australia the ability to photograph or check an item to find out where to recycle or dispose of that item, either in their local council bin system or elsewhere. As the app approaches 40,000 downloads, the AI model is continually learning through user feedback every time they check if an item is recyclable.

The app, an initiative of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR), provides a national platform for all residents and recyclers to collaborate and share information about recycling to help answer common – and not so common – recycling questions.

One common question from users relates to the recyclability of takeaway coffee cups. Around 56% of Australians believe they can be recycled in home kerbside recycling bins and this common mistake in most areas is contributing to contamination in our kerbside bins. Recycle Mate has recently partnered with Simply Cups, an initiative of Closed Loop, to geolocate over 700 public locations to drop off used takeaway coffee cups for recycling.

“Coffee cups are one of those items that look like they can go in the yellow-top bin because they are mostly paperboard, but the liquid-proof lining prevents the recovery of the fibres. Simply Cups has partnered with Recycle Mate, 7-Eleven and dozens of shopping centres Australia-wide to help deliver an alternative recycling pathway. The AI recognition software in Recycle Mate is excellent and the geo-location makes it so easy for users to identify their closest coffee cup recycling location,” said Brendan Lee, Circular Economy Manager for Closed Loop.

Soft plastics – such as bread bags and chocolate wrappers – continue to be a top contaminant in kerbside recycling and organic bins. Recycle Mate is helping the community find alternative options for recycling these items with over 2,200 REDcycle locations now available to drop off soft plastics for recycling.

Elizabeth Kasell, Founder of REDcycle said “Recycle Mate is such an important tool – it provides clear instruction for all Australians on what can and can’t be recycled in their local area.”

Covering all areas of Australia, Recycle Mate provides information for every council kerbside recycling system. For those times when an item can’t be recycled at home through kerbside bins, the app now has over 20,000 away-from-home reuse and recycling options and this number is continually growing as more organisations get involved.

And while recycling opportunities keep evolving, Recycle Mate is encouraging people to move away from ‘set and forget’ recycling behaviours to actively seek new information.

Download the free Recycle Mate app now to learn the latest information about your recycling opportunities anywhere in Australia. Just take a photo to let the Recycle Mate AI do its work, search for an item in our 5,000-item catalogue, or send our team an email.