Dispose of garden waste

Last updated: 6 January 2021

Whether you have a few pots on a balcony or a full back yard, all plants will need a bit of maintenance now and then. When pruning, planting or landscaping, ensure you dispose of your garden waste correctly.

Why recycle garden waste?

About half of household garbage is made up of food and garden waste. Garden waste thrown into your garbage bin ends up in landfill, where it breaks down in a way that can create greenhouse gases, including methane, which affect air quality and public health.

Recycle your garden waste to:

  • reduce landfill
  • minimise greenhouse gases
  • minimise air and water pollution.

How to recycle garden waste

Ideally we should compost before using our garden waste bin wherever possible. Compost can be used locally on your garden, doesn't require the energy and resource expenditure associated with collection programs, and will reduce pressure on waste management services.

Household waste and recycling services differ from council to council. Use our easy council search to find out about garden waste collection services in your area. Some unwanted greenery from your garden could also become tasty treats for the elephants, zebras and other animals at the Melbourne Zoo. If you have the right type of plants Zoo horticulturists will visit your home to cut and collect the greenery and take the freshly cut branches back to the Zoo.

What you can put in your garden waste bin

Most garden waste collection services will take:

  • flowers
  • grass clippings
  • leaves
  • small branches (check size requirements with your local council)
  • small prunings
  • twigs
  • weeds.

What you cannot put in your garden waste bin

Like other kerbside recycling services, some items should never go in any garden waste bin, no matter where you live. They include:

  • bottles (glass or plastic)
  • garden waste in plastic bags
  • gardening tools and hoses
  • nappies (including biodegradable or compostable types)
  • pebbles and rocks
  • plastic bags
  • pots (ceramic and plastic)
  • soil
  • toys
  • wire and string.

What about food waste?

Only a small number of Victorian councils accept food waste in their garden waste bins. Check with your council and consider composting as an alternative for kitchen waste disposal. Learning to avoid food waste in the first place will also help you save money and protect our environment.

What happens to garden waste after it's collected?

After your garden waste has been collected it's taken to a processor and turned into mulch or compost that meets Australian standards. It is then used in agriculture, to keep parklands green or sold back to the community to keep home gardens healthy. The Back to Earth Initiative is putting everyone's greenwaste to good use via compost donations to schools, kinders and community groups, and supply for use on farms and open spaces.