Recycling Guide for Residents of Gippsland
Gippsland households have a great record when it comes to recycling. The total amount of material set aside for recycling has increased by 70 per cent since 2001. Across the region, approximately 25,000 tonnes of recyclables is collected from kerbside, equating to around 200kg per household.
With the recent changes in global recycling markets, triggered by China’s new standards for recyclable material, we now have the opportunity to focus on not just continuing to recycle but to recycle right.
How and where to recycle
Larger Gippsland towns and population centres have a kerbside collection system for recyclables. In more remote and rural areas without this service provision, Resource Recovery Centres (commonly known as transfer stations or ‘tips’) serve as collection points for different recyclable materials, as well as general rubbish.
Click the links below to locate a Resource Recovery Centre in your municipality, and to access other council-specific information on recycling and waste services.
What items can be recycled
The following is a list of items that can commonly be recycled through kerbside collection and at Resource Recovery Centres (RRCs).
Aluminium and Steel
Cans, clean foil, foil trays and steel cans, including lids and bottle tops are accepted. Other products such as window frames, kitchen utensils and cookware may also be accepted at the RRCs.
Cardboard and Paper (including liquid paperboard)
Cardboard boxes (please flatten) and all types of paper including newspapers, magazines, envelopes, brochures, catalogues, phone books and coffee cups. Items such as pizza boxes can be recycled if they are clean and non-waxed. Please do not include waxed cardboard boxes or waxed coffee cups.
Bottles and jars (green, brown and clear). Please do not include broken drinking glasses, window glass, light globes or crockery as these are made of different materials and melt at different temperatures to that of glass.
Plastics (Codes 1-7)
Clean milk bottles, empty soft drink bottles, cordial bottles, detergent bottles, juice bottles, ice cream, margarine, takeaway and yogurt containers and their plastic lids. Please do not include plastic bags or expanded foam.
In addition, most Resource Recovery Centres accept (check your council website):
(also typically called ‘green waste’) Includes lawn clippings, branches and garden prunings. Please do not contaminate your garden organics with any other materials including plastics, tools, bottles, cans or concrete. This material damages machinery and severely degrades the quality of the end product (mulch or compost) resulting in contaminated garden organics being sent to landfill. In some areas, councils collect garden organics through the kerbside waste collection.
How to identify plastics
The Plastics Identification Code is a series of symbols that identify the most common plastic materials used to manufacture a product or packaging. The symbols are typically embossed on the bottom of plastic containers and bottles.
A voluntary scheme administered by the Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association (PACIA), the Code assists collectors to sort plastics for recycling by material type.
What happens to recycled materials?
Once collected, recyclables are taken to a sorting facility known as a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where glass, plastics, metal and paper are separated and bundled or baled for transportation to reprocessing facilities. The value of these commodities fluctuates worldwide, which can result in very low returns for some materials, making it uneconomic to transport them great distances for reprocessing.
How to prepare materials for recycling
- Place recyclables loose in your recycling bin. DO NOT put them in a plastic bag. For safety reasons, staff at the recycling facility will not open plastic bags, regardless of their contents. As a result, recyclables placed in plastic bags will end up in landfill.
- Remove the lids from your plastic bottles and make sure they are empty before you place them in your recycling bin. Doing this prevents liquid spilling and ruining other recyclable products or damaging the equipment at the recycling facility. Remember to recycle the lids too!
- Do not put ovenproof glass, drinking glasses, crockery or ceramic mugs in your recycling bin. Just one piece the size of a five cent coin, or 5g of ovenproof glass can contaminate one tonne of normal glass, making it useless for recycling.
- Metal lids can only be recycled if metal is accepted for recycling. Place these lids, including jam jar lids and bottle tops, inside the steel can and squeeze the top together to contain them.
- Rinse or scrape any residue from your recyclables. Remnant food and drink left in containers can become very odourous and attract vermin or insects to the facility. This can lead to health and safety issues for workers and amenity issues for residents and businesses nearby.
- If unsure, check with your council what items can be recycled. Only place plastics that are accepted by your local council in your recycling bin.
Recycling Near You
Find out where you can recycle specific items or materials in your local area on the Recycling Near You website. Search by LOCATION or PRODUCT.
Other recycling programs (by product type)
While Australia does not currently have a national recycling program for domestic alkaline (single use) and rechargeable batteries, there are a number of schemes that collect these battery types for recycling: Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), Battery World, and SUEZ Battery Recycling.
Aldi supermarkets offer a free recycling service for household batteries in every Australian store. To dispose of your used batteries responsibly, simply drop them into the dedicated bins at your nearest Aldi store. Any AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries (both rechargeable and non-rechargeable) are accepted.
Used vehicle batteries can sometimes be returned to the point of purchase and some council transfer stations have systems in place to accept them (contact your local council for details).
Century Batteries has a Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) program that recycles vehicle batteries via a network of convenient drop off points around the country.
Unwanted and broken cameras can be recycled through CameraRecycle Australia for free at selected locations in Gippsland and beyond.
The Detox Your Home program allows you to dispose of your unwanted chemicals and other items (e.g. paints, motor oil, all types of batteries, gas cylinders and fluorescent tubes) in an environmentally safe manner.
The Morwell Resource Recovery Centre, Porters Lane Morwell, phone 1300 367 700, hosts a permanent Detox Your Home collection centre.
An East Gippsland collection centre is located at the Bairnsdale Landfill, 200 Johnstons Road, Forge Creek.
Bass Coast has a similar facility at the Wonthaggi Transfer Station at 180 Cameron Street, Wonthaggi.
ChemClear provides a reliable collection and disposal service for obsolete or unwanted agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
drumMUSTER is a national program set up for the collection and recycling of cleaned, eligible and non-returnable crop production and on-farm animal health chemical containers. Check with your council for your nearest collection site.
Computers, TVs and electronic equipment
Some Resource Recovery Centres in Gippsland accept computers and other electronic equipment. Contact your local council to locate a facility near you.
Apple Recycling Program accepts trade-ins and offers free recycling of computers, monitors and devices.
Dell provides free pick up and recycling of Dell products nationwide. Computer products from other manufacturers are accepted for a fee.
E-waste refers to all household electrical items, anything with a plug, battery or cord, that no longer works or is no longer wanted. From 1 July 2019 you will no longer be able to put it in your bin or send it to landfill. Instead, it must be taken to an e-waste drop-off point for recycling. Check details with your local council.
Did you know that you can return unwanted or out-of-date medicines at any pharmacy? The National Return and Disposal of Unwanted Medicines Ltd, known as the RUM program, is a national not-for-profit company set up to support this scheme.
Zoos Victoria campaign ‘They’re Calling On You’ recycles old phones to help gorillas threated by extinction. Recycling mobile phones helps reduce the need to mine coltan, a mineral used in mobile phones. Money raised from donated mobile phones also helps to employ rangers to protect gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can mail your mobile phones free of charge or for larger quantities, organise a free courier pick up.
Discarded mobile phones, batteries and accessories can be recycled at over 1000 mobile phone retail stores (e.g. Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Dick Smith, Harvey Norman, Virgin Mobile) across Australia through the MobileMuster program.
Apple Recycling Program accepts and recycles mobile phones and iPods either in store or by mail for free. You receive 10% off your new iPod if you recycle your old one.
Mobile phone collection boxes can also be found at some council customer service centres, libraries, schools and other facilities.
Please contact your local council to find out where you can dispose of your used motor oil safely.
Plastic supermarket bags
Redcycle recycling bins for plastic bags and packaging such as REDcycle are found in most major supermarkets (e.g. Woolworths, Coles, Safeway). Thick plastic bags are not accepted.
Look for the "Cartridges 4 Planet Ark" boxes in Australia Post, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Tandy, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Officeworks stores or click to find your closest Planet Ark printer cartridge collection point.
Samsung S.T.A.R.T Program allows Samsung business customers to recycle their empty printer cartridges for free.
Car bodies, iron, steel and wire. Most council transfer stations will accept certain quantities and types of iron, steel and wire (check with your individual council) or contact a scrap metal business near you. Car body removalists or panel beaters are the best point of contact for the collection and processing of vehicles not longer in useable condition.
General information about how to dispose of your white goods is posted on the Sustainability Victoria website.