Wondering what you can and can’t put into your wheelie bins? Many of us may just toss things into a bin without a second thought, but it’s important to separate materials into their proper bin.
Rubbish collection and removal can and should be easy. Often, people just don’t know or don’t understand the rules. Don’t overcomplicate things. Here’s what you can put in your wheelie bin.
What Can I Put in the Red Wheelie Bin?
The general waste wheelie bin is marked by the red top. This is where your general waste products should go. As a general rule, anything that you can’t recycle is considered general waste and should go in this bin. It might include items like:
- Food packaging
- Product packaging
- Contaminated paper or cardboard
- Broken ceramics or glass
- Plastic bags
That might look like milk cartons, crisp bags, broken mugs, or pizza boxes. These bins are collected each week and the contents are usually taken to a landfill. Your specific collection may vary based on your local council.
What Can I Put in the Yellow Bin?
The wheelie bin with the yellow top is for recyclable materials. All recyclable materials can be placed in the bin and don’t need to be sorted based on type. Some examples may include:
- Plastic bottles
- Glass jars
- Clean cardboard
- Aluminum or steel containers
- Paper products
Though it may vary based on location, most products with a grade of 1, 2, or 3 are able to be recycled. That might look like soft drink bottles, empty cans, glass sauce jars that have been rinsed out, or broken down shipping boxes. In Victoria, a new bin with a purple lid is soon being added. This will be for dedicated glass recycling and available to all by 2027.
Don’t use bags to collect recyclable items as that can make collection and sorting more difficult. Simply, place all items loosely in the wheelie bin and set it by the curb on collection day. In general, these are collected fortnightly.
What Can I Put in the Green Bin?
The wheelie bin with the green lid is for gardening waste. Gardening waste is the organic material that you might collect outside as you tend to your lawn or garden. It could include
- Grass clippings
- Small sticks
- Garden prunings
- Home-grown fruits or vegetables
For example, if you grow tomatoes, you can discard rotten ones in the green bin. You can also put old flower bouquets or scraps of tree bark picked up from the yard. Some green waste bins also collect other food scraps like banana peels, apple cores, or spoiled leftovers.
Depending on your local council, you may need to specifically request a green wheelie bin for your home. If you have one, these are collected fortnightly.
Why Separate Waste?
Separating your waste into three different bins isn’t just a meaningless rule. It’s important to make sure the waste can be used or disposed of properly.
Each type of waste takes a different journey from the time you drop it in your bin until it reaches its final destination. On bin collection day, each bin is taken to either a sorting facility or waste station to be processed.
Separating your waste into different bins makes sure that these processes run as smoothly as possible. If recyclable materials are thrown into the general waste bin, they may end up in a landfill and not used to their full potential. If general waste mixes with recyclable materials, it often contaminates the entire bin.
In 2019, only 9% of plastic waste was able to be recycled. 84% was sent to landfills because of contamination and improper sorting.
Green waste disposal is normally a very efficient process as long as general waste and recyclables aren’t included. If they are, green waste ends up in landfills releasing harmful gasses. 45% of organic waste had to be sent to landfills in 2019.
These all lead to inefficiencies, waste, and dire consequences for the planet. Trash can end up in the ocean, killing marine life. Waste that sits in landfills releases harmful gasses into the atmosphere. There’s even a problem of space. Unless more materials can be recycled or broken down with green waste, Australia is quickly becoming overwhelmed with the sheer amount of waste it has.
Proper waste separation is the easiest way to counteract this problem. Separation isn’t very helpful, though, if you’re throwing things into dirty bins. Schedule a cleaning with Wheelie Clean Bins to make sure all your efforts don’t go to waste.