Recycling food and garden waste at home

Food and garden wastes are types of organics, the natural, biodegradable waste from plants or animals. Food and garden organics are a valuable commodity, full of energy and nutrients. You can take simple steps to prevent waste or recycle organics, while saving money, and helping the environment.

To help people become better recyclers, the EPA works to reduce food and garden waste and boost its safe, efficient recycling into useful products for the community.

Almost 70% of NSW households now have access to organics recycling, many with support from the EPA's organics infrastructure fund. An extra $10 million from 2017-2021 will bring new or improved green lid bin services to more households.

Prevent waste

Preventing waste in the first place is the best environmental outcome. For helpful tips and information

Compost, mulch and worm farms

While most food waste is avoidable, some is not: inedible vegetable skins, eggshells and tea bags, for example. For food waste you cannot prevent, recycling is the next best option.

If you don’t have a kerbside organics collection service in your area, consider composting or mulching these materials at home, to recycle them into a valuable resource for your garden. Other home composting options include worm farms or bokashi buckets.

  • Composting: Four easy steps to produce great compost, and an easy compost fix-it guide.
  • Worm farming: Four easy steps to successful worm farming.
  • The marvel of mulch: A guide to successful mulching.
  • Check whether your local council runs composting and worm-farming classes.

Use green lid bins for food and garden waste

The EPA is working to increase the number of green lid bin services, so more people can separate their home food and garden organics for collection.

If you have a green lid bin collection service, check your council information to confirm exactly what types of food and/or garden waste can go inside.

What happens to green-lid bin waste?

Garden organics, and food if your council offers the service, is collected from kerbside green lid bins to be composted by councils or their waste contractors. This compost can be used for landscaping, parks, home gardens and improving soil quality on farms.

Never contaminate green lid bin waste

Remember, 'if it didn't grow it doesn't go'.

Never place any other type of waste in the green lid bin. Waste including metal, plastic, glass, vacuum cleaner dust, batteries or chemicals will contaminate the food and garden organics and may prevent reuse.

Garden materials like hoses, shade clothe and pots may be 'green and garden' but they don’t go in the green lid bin!

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