Waste management plan for commercial and industrial facilities

Last updated: 16 September 2022

When developing a commercial or industrial facility, you should create a waste management plan to submit to council with your planning application.

This guide is created for those involved in the design, construction, management and operation of:

  • accommodation facilities
  • hospitality venues
  • manufacturing and warehousing facilities
  • office buildings
  • retail outlets.

If you’re planning a mixed-use development, use our multi-unit development guide.

Local government areas may have different requirements and guidelines for developing a waste management plan. Use this guide alongside local government requirements for your site.

What you need in a waste management plan

Land use and development details

This should include:

  • land use zoning and overlays
  • site plans that reference the building footprint, gross floor area and number of floors
  • number and size of commercial or industrial facilities.

Provide a full set of scaled drawings showing where waste is disposed of and collected.

The drawings must include:

  • the site plan, all floor plans including basement plans and elevations showing garbage and recycling drop-off points
  • bin rooms including any bins and compactors, labelled to indicate their size and what waste materials they will store (e.g. organics, paper and cardboard)
  • street or on-site bin collection and pick up point with bin alignment.

Waste and recycling generation and management

Waste and recycling needs can vary depending on the size of your business, development and use of your facility.

The following tools can help estimate the amount of waste your facility may generate:

Waste generation estimates are your responsibility. Consider commissioning an external consultant to calculate the waste volumes and help you prepare your waste management plan.

You are also responsible for providing adequate space for potential waste generation and storage. Consider this early in the design stage.

Waste systems

Details of your waste system must be provided. This can include:

  • automation (artificial intelligence sorting systems)
  • balers
  • bins and skips
  • compactors
  • glass crushers
  • hard waste area
  • on-site food waste processing.

Make sure separation, storage and collection for each type of material is easy for future building occupants to use and understand.

Check appropriate types of waste systems with the local government requirements for your site.

Bin quantity and size

Make sure your bin quantity and size is appropriate for your facility. The type and volume of waste, recycling and potentially organics will be impacted by the:

  • number, sizes and types of businesses in the development
  • uses of the development.

Bins and storage

Bins must be separated according to local government requirements.

Storage areas should be designed:

  • large enough to store waste and recyclable materials based on your estimates and collection frequency, using our waste and recycling generation calculator
  • to prevent cross contamination of waste
  • for adequate ventilation and prevention of vermin
  • with protection against potential vandalism or theft
  • to be fitted with fire sprinklers and rated to fire safety requirements
  • so they are well-screened, enclosed or hidden to improve visual amenity.

Make sure collection areas:

  • are easy to access and
  • provide appropriate space for all vehicle types including heavy vehicles
  • are located away from thoroughfares, intersections, round-a-bouts, cul-de-sacs or possible obstructions, such as overhanging buildings or trees.

Keep in mind certain waste streams require separate storage areas, such as:

  • hazardous and clinical waste
  • large quantities of organic waste.

Employee bins and storage

User facility areas such as employees or visitors to the site, should be considered.

Design any food preparation area with sufficient, dedicated space to collect and recycle food, plastics and glass waste, including:

  • kitchens
  • office tearooms
  • service areas.

Design any kitchens and lunch room areas with sufficient, dedicated space to collect and recycle:

  • food
  • glass
  • plastics.

Make sure office areas have space to store recyclable products, such as:

  • printer cartridges
  • used toner
  • waste paper.

Collection frequency

Determine what waste stream collection services council offers for businesses and how often.

Consider if you need a private collection service for some or all of your waste streams.

The frequency of the collection and services offered will influence your storage requirements.

Collection location

Collection points should:

  • be located on a level surface with enough access for heavy vehicles to move bins
  • be accessible during collection times
  • not require vehicles to reverse.

Collection points shouldn’t restrict or be restricted by the following:

  • air-conditioning and other service ducts and pipes
  • bollards, signs, plants, bins, seats or other street furniture
  • building awnings
  • busy roads
  • CCTV cameras
  • intersections
  • laneways
  • locked gates
  • normal operations of the building
  • movement sensors
  • parked cars
  • pedestrian crossings and access
  • public areas
  • overhead wires
  • ramps
  • round-a-bouts
  • sprinklers
  • smoke detectors
  • tree canopies
  • vehicle loading or unloading bays.

Occupational health and safety

Identify potential occupational health and safety risks associated with the proposed services and design layout by conducting a preliminary risk and hazard assessment.

Read WorkSafe’s guide to non-hazardous waste and recyclable materials.

Include in the plan if the design has been modified to eliminate or minimise any identified risks.

Signage and ongoing education

Install signage with instructions on how to use specific facilities, including:

  • garbage
  • glass
  • organics
  • recycling.


Outline how you’ve considered and mitigated:

  • potential odour issues with appropriate containers, lids and collection frequencies
  • dust issues from collection and access areas
  • noise issues from waste collection including glass.

Ongoing management

Include in your plan if there’s a need to allocate tasks to staff or employ a building manager or caretaker.

Also include if collection contractors have been hired to maximise resource recovery, including reporting and continuous improvement.

Download the checklist

We created a checklist you can print and fill out and submit with your planning application.

Local government planners may also use this checklist to assess a waste management plan.