Recycling Near You - Recycling of organic/food waste

Organic Waste

Organic waste, or green waste, is organic material such as food, and garden and lawn clippings. Organics should never be put in your recycling bin at home. Many councils provide households with  a Garden Organics bin and/or a Food Organics and Gardens Organics (FOGO) bin which accepts these materials (more information provided below).

A large amount of waste that goes to landfill is organic. This represents a wasted resource that fills limited landfill space. Organic matter in landfill breaks down and releases greenhouse gases including methane, which is a particularly potent greenhouse gas. As the organic waste decomposes it also produces liquid waste known as leachate that can impact on the environment.

Source: NSW EPA.

What is organic waste?

Organic Waste is anything that was or is living. 

Garden waste: leaves, grass clippings, branches, hay, flowers, sawdust, woodchips, and bark.

  • If your council has provided you with a garden organics bin, you can place these items in there so they can be turned into compost at a commercial composting facility. 
  • If you have a compost at home, these items can be put in there. You’ll need to make sure you layer your compost with the right ratio of nitrogen-rich wet/green matter (such food scraps and grass clippings) to carbon-rich dry/brown matter (such as dead leaves, twigs and paper)A good rule-of thumb is to use about two parts brown materials for every one part of green materials.  

Food waste: fruit, vegetables, tea, bread, cereals, eggshells, grains, meat, and dairy products.

  • If your council has provided you with a Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bin, you can put most food scaps in that bin including meat and dairy. Check directly with your council to see if they have any restrictions.
  • If you have a compost at home, most of these items can be composted. Meat and dairy products should not be put into composts. If you have a worm farm, you should also avoid adding citrus to it.
  • If you do not have a FOGO bin or a compost/worm farm at home, visit ShareWaste to see if any of your neighbours have a compost and are willing to accept your food scraps.

Other: paper, animal hair, faeces, vacuum cleaner dust, hair, wool, and wood ash.

Environmental Benefits

Composting or worm farming organic materials at home, or using council collection services can are:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill
  • reduced leachate production in landfills

The use of compost in gardening, landscaping, horticulture and in agriculture can:

  • reduce the amount of watering required
  • reduce the amount of synthetic fertilisers needed
  • improve the structure, fertility and health of soils
  • help to repair soils suffering from poor management

Source: NSW EPA

More Information

Find out more about home composting and wormfarming food scraps.