What can cinemas recycle?

Think of ‘cinemas’ and ‘recycling’ and the obvious things that come to mind are popcorn buckets and soft drink bottles. Coffee cups and choc-top wrappers also make up a large proportion of the waste generated by cinemas. But beyond these day-in-day-out waste streams there are other, more durable items that cinema managers should be recycling at the end of their working lives. This is about more than just reducing the volume of waste going to landfill. It’s a vital part of efforts to keep toxic materials such as mercury and lead out of our environment. Here’s a look at what cinemas can recycle:


While the cinema experience is all about sitting in the dark lit only by the reflections off the silver screen, cinemas use a lot of lighting. All types of lighting can and should be recycled, but of particular concern are fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps. These contain dangerous mercury. While it isn’t a problem while safely sealed in intact lamps, mercury poses a real risk of contaminating the environment if tubes or lamps are broken – a likely consequence of sending them to landfill.

Electronic waste (e-waste)

E-waste can be defined as anything that runs off electric power, whether from mains or batteries, and is no longer wanted. Big contributors to this waste stream are old computers, TVs, mobile phones and POS machines. Many items contain toxic materials; all contain valuable resources that should be recycled.


Ushers guiding cinemagoers to their seats by the beam of a torch may be a thing of the past, but cinemas still generate spent batteries. Switching to rechargeable batteries will help reduce the amount of waste produced, but all types of batteries should be recycled when they reach the end of their lives.

It’s easier than you think

There are at least three good reasons to ensure that these speciality wastes are recycled and not dumped:

  1. It’s the right thing to do
  2. Governments are clamping down on sending all types of e-waste to landfill
  3. It’s actually really easy to recycle lighting, battery and e-waste.

Ecocycle provides a complete collection, transport and recycling solution. You put the items into the appropriate box, bucket or bin and we take care of the rest. Just give us a call on 1300 326 292, or fill out the contact form below, and we’ll be happy to work out the right lighting, battery and other e-waste recycling solution for you. For all other types of waste, take a moment before sending it to landfill. Check if there’s a recycling solution available by visiting businessrecycling.com.au.

Business as usual

In early 2018 China placed an effective ban on the import of many categories of foreign waste for recycling, creating a major problem for Australian recyclers of general household waste and for local councils. Ecocycle does not send waste to China and is unaffected by this ban. Most of our recycling, including the recovery of mercury, occurs at our state-of-the-art facilities in Australia. You can be assured that all waste collected by Ecocycle is recycled according to the highest standards of environmental protection and occupational health and safety.