Classification of Recyclable Materials – All you need to know.

We all know we should recycle, but figuring out which recyclable items is often difficult. In this blog post, we’ll break down the types of recyclable materials and the identification & sorting of recyclable materials so you can feel confident about what’s in your recycling bin.

But first, what are the three main types of recycling?

All recyclables fall into three main types of recycling: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Below we will discuss each and what they mean.

Primary Recycling is where a recyclable material or product can be recovered or reused without altering its current state. Many primary recyclables will be repurposed for the same use it was created for. Primary recyclables should not be changed in any way. You may think of these types of recyclables as secondhand use. They may be utilised by you, donated or sold. Here are some examples of primary recycling. 

  • Glassware – dishes, glass jars, etc.
  • Toys – donate to charities, friends or family. 
  • Electronics – reuse in another area of your business, sell to recover some cost or donate. 

Secondary Recycling will be repurposed without having to reprocess them. So, the material may be reused differently than it was initially intended. This often happens with DIY crafts and can significantly ensure recyclable material stays out of landfills. 

Here are some examples of secondary recycling:

  • Cut egg cartons in half and use them to plant seedlings. 
  • Cut off the top half of a plastic bottle to use it as a fuel funnel
  • Reuse plastic, paper, wood, and metals to do any type of DIY project

Tertiary Recycling involves the chemical altering of the products or materials to make them reusable. This may be done internally or externally. If external, the recyclables are recovered and reprocessed through a public facility. It would involve sorting recyclables and placing them in bins to be transported by a reprocessing facility. Internal recycling would be where no public service is concerned. Some factories or manufacturers may conduct internal tertiary recycling.

ReadIdentifying Non-recyclable Materials.

Let’s dive deeper into Tertiary Recycling.

At Scrapays, we practice the tertiary type of recycling, which is the processing & altering of recyclables to make new materials. The materials we recycle at Scrapays can be classified into two: Per Kilo Items & composite.

Per Kilo Items

Examples of recyclable items are:

  1. Paper: You can recycle paper easily. They are, in fact, one of the most recycled materials. Examples are non-laminated notebooks, jotters, printing paper, wrapping paper, posters, flyers, coloured paper, POS receipts, sport betting slips, and lotto slips.
  2. Cartons: Recycling cartons is essential to sustainable waste management and environmental preservation. Cartons, such as those used for packaging noodles, biscuits, appliances, medications & more, can be recycled to create new products.
  3. Metals: Recycling metals saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and minimizes the need for raw material extraction. Examples are food cans, paint cans, iron rods, screws, bolts, utensils, etc.
  4. Aluminium: Aluminum is abundant in our surroundings and can be easily recycled, which helps conserve energy. Common objects made of aluminium include drink cans, pots, roofing sheets, faucets, window frames, and car engines.
  5. Copper: Copper is highly recyclable and can be recycled repeatedly without losing its properties or quality. Many items, such as machine coils and wires are made using copper.
  6. Plastics: Any plastic bottle or container can easily be recycled. Such as bottled water plastic, soft drinks plastic, body lotion container, water tanks, water pipes, crates, buckets, furniture, utensils, kegs, water dispenser bottles, other transparent liquid bottles and more
  7. Batteries: At this point, recycling is the gift that keeps giving. Like the other materials mentioned previously, you can also get value for your damaged batteries. Examples are dry cell batteries, radios & motorbikes, and solar/inverter batteries.


These are materials produced from two or more materials. Some of you may be wondering if you can recycle old appliances in your home; yes, you can. Below is a list of appliances or composite materials you can recycle

  • Generators
  • Fridges
  • Washing machines
  • Cookers
  • Dispensers
  • Printers

We hope our blog post has informed the recycling rookie in you of the different types of recycling & recyclable materials.

Read: How to recycle and earn

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