The Different Types of Rubbish: Explained

March 8, 2021

There are actually multiple different types of rubbish and waste that you may have to deal with in your day-to-day life, and understanding how to get rid of each type of waste can be important in the long-run. Different types of rubbish need different methods to dispose of them or store them properly, and there are a lot of misconceptions about how certain types of rubbish can be handled. Here are the different types you encounter and what you may need to know about disposing of them.

Organic Waste and Green Waste

Organic waste can cover any organic materials, from food waste to the remains of weeds that you have pulled up. A lot of people assume that organic waste is easy to recycle since it can decompose and return to the natural environment as nutrients, but that isn't always the case: organic waste is recyclable, but it has to be done correctly. If you put organic waste in a household waste bin, it will be taken to the normal disposal sites and burned or otherwise dumped, which still creates CO2 and methane. Green waste is similar, but specifically covers plant clippings and various food waste types.

Instead, there are two ways of dealing with organic waste. The first is to recycle it yourself by creating a space in your yard or garden to contain it, letting your garden waste decompose as compost or manure. The second is to get a specialised organic waste removal company, which can be the better option for large-scale projects where you need to remove a lot of old branches, leaves, and clumps of dirt.

Plastic Waste

Plastic waste is the first type of solid waste and one of the trickiest, since not all plastic can be recycled. If you are trying to dispose of plastic, then you need to check the products and make sure that it is a type that can be recycled: some can and some can't, but you can usually tell by whatever packaging the plastic is part of. Plastic isn't biodegradable (or at least doesn't degrade quickly), so you can't leave it to break down over time.

It is generally best to either re-use or get rid of plastic as needed, ideally disposing of the recyclable plastic and re-using as much as you can. For plastic that can't be recycled yet, there is no easy way to get rid of it: you'll just have to decide if you want to keep it or throw it away.

Paper Waste

Paper waste is the second solid waste and includes things like paper, cardboard, packaging, and card. Paper is more or less always recyclable and can be put through the normal recycling process, so there isn't much to worry about when you are trying to get rid of paper products. 

Remember that non-recyclable materials stuck to paper products will have to be removed, though, and that food stains can also make paper unsuitable for recycling. Ink, like the ink used in a newspaper, doesn't usually stop paper from being recycled.

Metal Waste

Metal, in most cases, can be recycled. The most common example is aluminium tins and cans, which you can recycle as normal, but other metals like steel and copper are also fairly easy to recycle. Most metals can be disposed of like any other recyclable material, although larger products made of multiple metals might need to be taken apart before you can dispose of them. 

Rusting metals should be fine as well, although metals that have been painted should ideally have the coating stripped off just in case. Metal containers should always be emptied before you throw them away, especially if you plan to recycle them and the wastes inside aren't recyclable. If you have found metal in something wooden, be sure to remove the metal that you have found and check for anything else you missed, then dispose of them.

Different Types of Rubbish


Glass is easy to recycle and doesn't have any special qualities or details. Just remember not to smash the bottles if you can help it since this makes them harder to recycle. Like food in containers, liquid needs to be emptied out ahead of time. If you know what was contained in them, try to wash them out: even a simple 1-liquid container that held simple, safe food should be washed just in case it causes problems later on.

Liquid Waste

The trickiest of the household wastes, liquid waste is any liquid that you can't re-use without cleaning or purifying it, from dirty water to detergent. Normal water can just be poured out in a safe place, but chemicals might require a proper removal team to handle. Liquid waste isn't too difficult to handle, but liquid waste containers need to be sealed and safe to move around, which can mean that a household might struggle to get liquid waste into a state where they can safely dispose of it. 

Industrial liquid waste is far more dangerous since the liquid in the liquid waste can be acidic chemicals and other hazardous substances. If you don't know how to handle it safely, find a professional with a "call us" option and see if they can help.

Construction and Demolition Waste

Of all the different types of rubbish that you might have to dispose of, construction and demolition waste are one of the most varied types. This includes anything from household brickwork to tiles, plumbing components, shingles, carpeting, wood, and even natural dirt that was removed from the ground. Some of these items can be re-used, which often includes bricks and cinder blocks as well as certain tiles, but a lot of it also has to be disposed of or recycled.

Construction materials can be solid or soft. Dirt and sand, etc., have to be disposed of as green waste, while the bricks taken from a demolished house are often solid waste. However, demolition can also break up materials into smaller pieces of rubbish, meaning that bricks may be shattered into powder and wood might be splintered into fragments. Disposal of construction waste types and items often requires a professional, so find their "call us" option and see if they offer what you need.

Recyclable Waste

Recyclable waste is any waste that's suitable for recycling. This includes glass, wood, certain plastics, etc., although materials like glass and papers need to be disposed of in separate rubbish bins or containers for safety reasons. It helps to squash down or tear up softer materials like cardboard (etc.) so that they can fit into a container. The contents, such as food, should be removed before you dispose of it.

Electrical Waste

Electrical waste, or e-waste, comes from electrical devices (such as televisions, phones, etc.). Materials commonly found as e-waste are often recyclable, but disposal can be tricky, so it's often easier to dispose of the entire unit at once. Rubbish materials inside these devices sometimes include hazardous substances like flame retardants, lead, etc., which can be hard to handle on your own.

Medical Waste

Medical waste comes from hospitals, vets, and other premises where medical care is the main focus. This waste is the equivalent of industrial waste, rather than household waste: dangerous and rarely suitable for recycling, but commonly found in a state where it needs a third party to dispose of it. A large rubbish bin is often used to hold medical waste, and many of these bin containers end up in a landfill or burned for safety reasons.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is the exact opposite of most general waste: hazardous waste includes any products (both industrial and household waste) that are dangerous to whoever is disposing of them. Disposal of hazardous waste can be difficult because even a solid recycling bin won't always contain them properly. Items like aerosol cans (etc.) are considered hazardous waste because they can burst into flame or explode under the wrong conditions, and recycling is almost impossible.

Many people know that hazardous waste is dangerous when found, both to humans and the environment. In many cases, different types of hazardous waste will be burned rather than placed in a landfill (to stop it from poisoning the nearby environment). Since it's usually industrial waste, this rubbish can come from a lot of items that a household won't have, but certain household items may still produce hazardous waste.

Remember that hazardous waste isn't always equal. This kind of waste includes small things like aerosol cans, which maybe dangerous but aren't inherently risky, as well as industrial chemicals that could cause permanent skin damage or kill you if they enter your bloodstream. If you've found wastes like this and want to have it removed, get a professional rubbish removal company to take care of it.

How do I dispose of the Different Types of Rubbish ?

Waste isn't as simple as throwing things into a recycling bin, and your rubbish will always have an impact on the environment. Getting outside help makes it easier to remove 1) liquid wastes, 2) solid wastes and 3) other wastes that you can't handle on your own. There are times where you have too many types of waste to dispose of yourself, especially when the rubbish is physically dangerous, and recycling isn't an option.

Companies likeidly (the most sustainable rubbish removal group in Sydney) know a lot about how waste should be managed - throwing it away yourself is free, but getting it removed by a team that knows how to protect the environment and keep you out of danger is always worth it. Even if you don't care about the environment and just want the solid rubbish items removed, you don't always know the types of rubbish you are working with, so getting a professional to help makes a big difference.

Don't dump waste into a recycling bin and assume that you're done. It doesn't take much time to find a group that know what they're doing with different types of rubbish, find their "call us" form or email address, and see what they can offer you. They may not be entirely free, but once you've found a group that knows exactly how to get rid of your rubbish, you'll understand just how complex the different rubbish types can be.

Ready to be rid of it? Grab a quick quote from our team.

Call us on 0488 846 336.

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