City of Melbourne

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City of Melbourne Council logoThe City of Melbourne is trialling new ways to increase recycling at serviced apartment buildings in the CBD.

Project objective: To improve recovery of recyclables at serviced apartment buildings in Melbourne’s CBD

The City of Melbourne has numerous serviced apartments and many of them have their waste and recycling collected by the council’s waste service. Waste audits show that up to 95% (by weight) of recyclables at serviced apartments end up in the garbage bin and are sent to landfill. The council wanted to find new ways to divert more recyclables from landfill.


The City of Melbourne set up a new recycling service as a trial at a serviced apartment building in Elizabeth Street, with a view to rolling it out at more sites if successful. The council selected two out of the six serviced apartment levels (with 40 serviced apartments) to rollout the trial in June 2016.

The council wanted a user-friendly recycling system that would be practical for guests and housekeeping staff. It added a recycling tub under the sink of each room and gave housekeepers a trolley with a yellow section for recycling and a black section for garbage.


  • Working with the serviced apartment operator to change the waste systems in the hotel rooms due to concerns that additional bins would not be aesthetically pleasing.
  • Obtaining bins that fit under the kitchen sinks.
  • Influencing guest behaviour.


Before and after waste audits showed an increase from 5 to 60% (by weight) in the proportion of total recycling material generated that was collected for recycling.

However, the council found that providing infrastructure and education to housekeeping staff was more likely to yield results than providing source-separation systems for hotel guests. Guests were more likely to use the bathroom or desk bin or leave waste scattered around the room, but the colour-coded trolley made it easier for housekeeping staff to collect recyclables, even if guests were not using the system as expected.

The trial was a good and interesting experience, definitely. I found that the staff were more engaged than I would have expected which is very positive as this can work only if they play their part. Guests wise, I suppose it will take time to ‘educate’ people, especially when they are coming from countries where the notion of recycling
is completely alien.

 – Hotel Manager

Next steps

The City of Melbourne continues to trial other ideas at this serviced apartment building and is working with other serviced apartment operators to introduce recycling systems under the City of Melbourne’s ongoing High Rise Recycling Program.

Further information

For more information contact
City of Melbourne on 03 9658 9658
or visit