Check what goes into your bins on your council website

Last updated: 27 May 2022
Illustration of a hand holding a smartphone with a council web page showing.

Small acts are all it takes to make a big impact

By checking your council website and making sure you put the right thing in the right bin you’ll be helping the recycling process and creating Victoria’s circular economy. This means that:

  • more valuable resources can be recovered and turned into new things like park benches, composts, glass jars and egg cartons
  • less ends up in landfill
  • environmental impacts of using new or raw materials are reduced.

It’s a small act with a big impact on Victoria’s sustainable future.

Why it matters

Services are changing

Victoria’s recycling systems are changing for the better which means the bins you have at home, what goes into them and the drop-off recycling services available in your local area could be changing soon. Some councils have already introduced new services for food and garden organics or glass bins.

Services can differ

Recycling services can differ from council to council. This includes which waste and recycling services are available to you, and what you should put into each bin. These services are designed to maximise the recovery of resources and reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill.

Things can change

Packaging materials as well as recycling capacity and capability can change over time. Some things that were once destined for landfill are now recyclable and sometimes what we guess is recyclable by the way it looks cannot be recycled.

Sorting correctly helps the process

The contents of each of your bins get collected separately and go to a different place for sorting and processing. Depending on which services are available in your local area:

  • Recycling will go to a Materials Recovery Facility for separation and sorting into different material types like plastic, cardboard and metal which will be processed so they can be used to make new packaging.
  • Food and garden organics will go to an organics processing centre where it will be processed into compost and soil enhancers which can then be used to grow new food.
  • Glass will go to a glass recycling facility where it will be cleaned, sorted by colour and prepared for processing so it can be used to make new things like glass bottles and even roads.
  • General rubbish will be sent to landfill.

Making sure you put the right thing in the right bin means we can recover more valuable materials to turn them into new things. Some things that can’t be recycled, go into landfill so they don’t contaminate recycling.

Contaminants are items placed in the wrong bin. Contamination can damage sorting and processing equipment and risk worker safety. In some cases, recyclable or compostable materials end up going to landfill if there are too many contaminants in the load. In fact, 76,000 tonnes of contaminated recycling was sent to landfill in 2019-2020 (VLGAS 2021).

Checking with your council to find out what can and can’t go into your bins and following these instructions means you minimise contamination.

Tips and tricks

Find your council information

Don’t know which council manages your area or what goes in your recycling bins? Regularly check your council’s waste and recycling advice so you know what goes where.

Bookmark the page

Many council websites are mobile-friendly and some have an A to Z Guide to waste and recycling that tells you which bin to use for a whole range of items. Make it easy to find the correct, up to date information by bookmarking the page so it’s handy when you need it.

Find a small act that works for you

There are many other easy ways to reduce waste and recycle more. Find a small act that works for you and be part of Victoria’s sustainable future.