Do you know that there are things that we use on a regular basis that cannot be recycled? Read to find out more:


Metal can be recycled repeatedly without losing its original properties. Scraps are melted and rolled into metal sheets to be used for new products. Reusing metal in this way helps to minimise the impacts of mining.

What can be recycled: Tin containers for powdered drinks and biscuits, metal cans, aluminium foil, disposable baking trays and empty aerosol cans.
What can’t be recycled: Large electronic equipment and batteries, which need to be recycled in special collection bins. Visit the National Environment Agency website at for locations.
Fact: Recycling one canned drink can saves enough energy to power a television set for three hours.


In Singapore, we throw away over 800,000 tons of plastic annually, but recycle only 10 per cent of it. Recycling plants sort the plastic by type, then break them down into small pellets that are used for making new plastic products.

What can be recycled: Bottles and containers that hold food and drinks, personal and cleaning products, clean takeaway containers, clean straws, plastic cutlery and plastic bags.
What can’t be recycled: Styrofoam containers – so say no to them!
Fact: Five hundred years from now, every plastic bottle thrown away will still be on Earth.


The average household throws away 13,000 pieces of paper  and paper products every year. Recycling only one ton (1,016kg) of paper can help to save 24 trees, 1,439 litres of oil and 7,000 tons of water, yet most people recycle only 38 per cent of the paper they use.

What can be recycled: Newspapers, cardboard food packaging, white office paper, coloured paper, gift wraps, magazines, brochures and envelopes.
What can’t be recycled: Paper contaminated with food.
Fact: A recycled newspaper can be reprinted as a new newspaper within a week.


Glass can be recycled repeatedly. It will be sorted by colour and then melted to produce new glass products.
What can be recycled: Glass food containers and bottles, drinking cups and glasses.
What can’t be recycled: Lightbulbs.
Fact: Every glass bottle you recycle saves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.

TIP: Never throw trash into a recycling bin. It makes it more difficult for the recycling plants to sort through the waste, and food, drinks and other contaminants can ruin an entire batch of recyclables. Make sure to empty and clean your recyclables first.

[Text by Militza Maury]