Know thy recyclables (Part 1): Paper, glass & metal

I’m lucky enough to have a curb-side recycling scheme in my area, where all of our recyclables are collected each week. However, no information has been shared with us as to what materials Pikitup can recycle… So in the past I put everything I thought might possibly maybe just hopefully get recycled into that bag.

However, I’ve now realized I need to educate myself and make sure I’m only including the items that can be recycled. This way, I’m also able to see what goods to stop buying (i.e. the ones that come wrapped up in lots of non-recyclable material) and how to reduce my waste output.

Here’ what I have found, brought to you in 3 bite-sized parts.

Note: Recyclable does not mean it will be recycled; it means it’s your responsibility is to make sure it is! So because there is some variation between recycling plants as to what they can and cannot recycle, check to see what your service provider will accept. To find out where you can take your recycling, visit

Paper for recycling - Todd Lappin Flickr
Photo: Todd Lappin on Flickr.



  • Office paper (white or coloured)
  • Brown paper, newspaper, magazines (including glossy publications)
  • Wrapping paper
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Greyboard (e.g. cereal boxes, egg boxes and toilet roll inners)


  • Papers with a waxy or laminated finish, including wax & greaseproof paper
  • Punch confetti
  • Foil gift wrap
  • Carbon paper
  • Tissues & serviettes
  • Used cement and dog food bags
  • Any paper with adhesive (e.g. stickers or post-it notes)

Note: Paper contaminated with liquid or food cannot be recycled.

Photo: Pixabay.



  • All cans (e.g. soft drink, food, aerosol, oil, etc) – even if rusty
  • Foil & foil packaging
  • Metal lids for jars

Note: It’s best to rinse the metal clean beforehand, to avoid spoiled food waste scenarios.

Glass recycling - Anders Sandberg Flickr
Photo: Anders Sandberg on Flickr.



  • Jars (e.g. for jam or pasta sauce) & bottles (e.g. wine or soft drinks)

Note: Again, it helps if you rinse the glass clean beforehand, to avoid spoiled food waste scenarios.


  • Glass & ceramic kitchenware (e.g. cups, saucers and glasses)
  • Window glass & mirror glass
  • Light bulbs* (any)

*Note: CFL and Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, which is toxic, and therefore need to be disposed of responsibly. Do not try to recycle or throw them away with ordinary waste. Rather take them to a drop off point such as selected Pick ‘n Pay stores.

The next post will deal with the different types of plastics and their recyclability (is there such a word?!).

If you liked this, you might want to check out the 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Rot.



  1. Thanks for this Pippa. Have been doing it for years even before there were decent recycle depots. Pick n pay used to have really good boxes. Now not so good . If you spot any place for light bulbs would love to know. Also the P NP eco ones , not sure what to do with those. The Craighall Park lot say they can no longer find anyone to pick it up.😖


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