Where does my waste go?
Depending on your local council and the type of property you live in, you will have up to three bins at home – red-top, yellow-top and green-top.
Each is used to dispose of different types of waste at your home (red-top for general rubbish, yellow-top for recyclables and green-top for green/organic waste).
No matter which municipality you are in, the journey the bins take from your home to their final destination is pretty much the same.
Watch this video from the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council to see the typical journey taken by waste produced in WA households once it's collected from the kerbside.
YOUR YELLOW-TOPPED BIN
New life for recyclables – the journey of the contents of your yellow (recycling) bin
What goes in the bin: Tins, aluminium and steel cans, glass bottles and jars, cartons (flattened), paper (not shredded) and cardboard, and rigid plastic containers and bottles
Where it goes: After being collected from your kerbside, the recycling truck takes the materials to the regional resource recovery centre. Here the material is loaded onto conveyors where contamination is removed and then the materials are sorted by machines into plastic, metal, glass and paper. The sorted materials are then sent to different factories and made into new products.
Own your impact:
- Remove lids from all jars, bottles and plastic containers
- Containers should be clean and empty (you don’t need to remove stickers)
- Don’t bag up items, keep them loose in the bin
YOUR LIME GREEN-TOPPED ORGANICS BIN
Back to nature – the journey of the contents of your green (organics) bin
What goes in the bin: Depending on your council, this bin can be used for organic matter such as food scraps and for garden matter like leaves, lawn clippings, prunings and cuttings, leaves and flowers, and small branches
Where it goes: After being collected from your kerbside bin, the green waste truck takes all the material to the regional council facility where the materials are dropped off, and the large and dangerous items are sorted. The green waste is then loaded into giant composters (“digesters”) which turn for 3 days. The compost is then screened for inorganic material before it is kept in rows in a giant shed and watered for 4-6 weeks. Then, after the compost is screened again and any inorganic material is removed, it is taken and further processed to be used on farms, parks and gardens.
Own your impact: To avoid contaminating the green waste
- NO glass, plastic or ceramic items (including plant pots, garden hose or tools)
- NO hazardous waste
- NO demolition or building materials (including painted or treated timber, sand, dirt, soil, stones or rocks)
YOUR RED-TOPPED OR TRADITIONAL GREEN BIN
No-man’s land – the journey of the contents of your red (rubbish) bin
What goes in the bin: All household rubbish that cannot be recycled such as food scraps (if these can’t go in your green bin), broken crockery and glassware, polystyrene and foam, cooking oil, cling film, kitty litter, nappies, aluminium trays, wine bladders, cereal bags and empty motor oil containers and other garbage items.
Where it goes: Depending on your council, the general waste is collected from your kerbside and delivered to a resource recovery centre, where it may be processed through an advanced treatment system which recovers recyclables, generates biogas and coverts organic matter into compost. The unrecoverable materials are deposited into a landfill site.
Own your impact:
- Find better ways to dispose of the waste that goes into your red bin
- Double check – the items going into your red bin can’t go into a yellow or green bin, be recycled (through dedicated programs, sites or bins), re-purposed or re-used
- Food – compost food scraps, start up a worm farm, feed the chooks
For more practical ideas on how your can recycle right at home take a look at our top tips.