As it approaches 40,000 downloads, the Recycle Mate app continues to improve as it helps Australians wade through the confusion of kerbside recycling.

An initiative of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR), the free Recycle Mate app combines a comprehensive recycling database with artificial intelligence (AI) to take the guesswork out of what goes in which bin.

The app enables users across the country to photograph an item to find out where it can be recycled or disposed of, whether in local council bins or elsewhere. The AI model is continually learning through user feedback every time an item is checked.

Recycle Mate is aimed at providing a national platform for residents and recyclers to share information about recycling, as well as answer recycling questions.

Every council kerbside recycling system across Australia is now supported by the app. For items that can’t be recycled at home, it also lists more than 20,000 alternative reuse and recycling options, a number that continues to grow as more organisations get on board.

One common question relates to the recyclability of takeaway coffee cups. According to ACOR, about 56 per cent of Australians believe these cups can be recycled in kerbside bins, a common mistake that contributes to contamination of recycling streams around the country.

Recycle Mate has recently partnered with Simply Cups – an initiative of Closed Loop – to geolocate more than 700 public locations where coffee cups can be properly recycled.

Brendan Lee, Circular Economy Manager for Closed Loop, says the liquid-proof lining of the paperboard cups prevents the recovery of recyclable fibres.

“Simply Cups has partnered with Recycle Mate, 7-eleven and dozens of shopping centres Australia-wide to help deliver an alternative recycling pathway,” he said.

“The AI recognition software in Recycle Mate is excellent, and the geolocation makes it so easy for users to identify their closest coffee cup recycling location.”

Another regular contaminant in kerbside recycling is soft plastics such as bread bags and chocolate wrappers. To help the community find alternative recycling options, Recycle Mate lists the more than 2200 REDCycle locations now available to receive 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.”

To download the app, visit: