Can Recycle?

Can Recycle?

Recycling SignWe have been receiving a few enquiries from our readers on whether their waste items can be recycled under the National Recycling Programme (NRP) or using the public recycling bins. They asked whether these items can be recycled – Yakult bottles, milk cartons, CDs, plastic packaging, shredded paper, spectacles, aluminium foil, styrofoam boxes, shoes, soft toys, pillows, clothing, food cans, stamps, magazines, etc.

To be frank, we don’t have all the answers. To us, all items can be recycled technically. But whether the items actually get collected for recycling depends on the National Environment Agency (NEA), the recycling collectors and the market for the recyclables. Some collection companies do not collect certain items as there are only small quantities, whereas other items are not collected because there is no market for them.

We think the best way to answer your enquiries is to start a new initiative called Can Recycle? If you’re not sure whether an item can be recycled, take a photo of the item (please try to keep each photo below 200 KB) and post the photo on our Facebook page. Write Can Recycle? in the title and a brief description of the item.

We will consolidate the enquiries each month and check with NEA on whether the items can be recycled. We will also create a Can Recycle? section on our website, which serves as a database where you an check what items can be recycled.

Next time when you’re wondering: Can Recycle? Remember to take a photo of the item and post it on Facebook. We will do our best to check and give you an answer.


  • byMarcus Tay
    Posted September 30, 2009 1:57 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for such a service!

  • bysophia
    Posted April 4, 2010 11:25 am 0Likes

    hi, some recycle bins are labelled “bottles – plastic/glass”. Can I throw plastic/glass items, which are not bottles, into these bins. For example, can I throw a plastic bag into the bin? Or is it strictly bottles only?

  • byngyc
    Posted September 7, 2014 2:48 pm 0Likes

    can i recycle clean plastic wrappers?

  • bymombi
    Posted October 3, 2016 10:15 pm 0Likes

    do you know if what we recycle are really recycled? in the recycling bin below my flat, everything recyclable is thrown into one big trolley (vs separate categorisations of plastics/metals/paper). does someone, months later, actually take the trouble to sift through them and recycle them or are they just dumped into the landfill?

    • byjj
      Posted May 14, 2017 11:18 pm 0Likes

      I live in a condo and I bring the items down for recycling. There are no separate bins to sort the different kinds of material. Once, I saw that the cleaner who is in charge of sorting the items actually just threw my whole bag into the trash. They will only recycle items like sheets of cardboard cartons & plastic bottles which they don’t need to take the trouble to sort. After trying to recycle all my waste for 2 years, I realised my efforts were all in vain.

    • byNeo
      Posted June 1, 2017 1:33 pm 0Likes

      According to what I saw in a programme on Channel News Asia, there are staff who take the trouble to sift through and sort the items.

  • byMark
    Posted October 10, 2017 10:40 pm 0Likes

    What happened to the compiled list of 70 common waste items on whether they can be recycled or not?

  • byS L Lai
    Posted September 23, 2019 5:57 pm 0Likes

    Can used ball point pens be recycled?

  • bySook Mun
    Posted March 28, 2020 10:19 pm 0Likes

    Can pens in general be recycled?
    Can empty correction tape refills be recycled?
    If can, is there a specific location to discard them or do we throw it in the recycling bin?

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