Can you recycle Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT)?

how to recycle rapid antigen tests

By Lottie Dalziel

Once a novelty Rapid Antigen Test kits or RAT tests are now being used each and everyday by millions of Australians, so once they've been used how do you correctly dispose of them? Here's everything you need to know.

If you have done one of these tests before you know that they come with lots of bits and pieces so here's a breakdown of every item that you'll generally find in an at home testing kit:

  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Instruction Manual
  • Cardboard box
  • Disposable Nasal Swab
  • Rapid Test Casette
  • Foil Pouch
  • Buffer Tube
  • Dropper Tip
  • Snap lock bag

The below information is based off of what is specified by the NSW and SA Government.

Rapid Antigen Test Disposal 

Quick Reference Guide, Instruction Manual and Cardboard Box

All of these items are made from paper and can be recycled in your at home recycling bin, yes even if the guide is made from a glossy paper it is still able to be kerbside recycled. 

Disposable Nasal Swab

As the name suggests this swap is strictly single use and must be sent to landfill immediately after use. Any item that has touched your nostril and the buffer tube is considered a bio waste or hazardous waste therefore it must be disposed of with careful consideration. 

Foil Pouch

This pouch needs to be placed inside of a plastic bag, sealed and sent to landfill with the rest of the kit.

Buffer Tube and Dropper Tip

Although the buffer tube and dropper tip are both made from a clear plastic (most likely PET) they need to be sent to landfill as they are a medical waste.

Snap Lock Bag

Whilst yes technically this bag can be soft plastic recycled if it has not come into contact with the used nasal swab or tube it has been included for the safe disposal of the other items in the kit. It is recommended that you place all of the materials used whilst performing the at home test and place it inside another bag inside of your kerbside rubbish bin. 

As always please check with your local council or government for specific instructions.


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