Resources for local council waste and recycling operations

To assist local governments, the EPA provides innovative tools, guidelines and analysis on waste and recycling systems. This support seeks to help local councils find effective and efficient systems, and enhance the cost-efficiency and environment benefits of their operations.

Sound contracts help councils obtain efficient and effective waste and resource recovery collection systems. The EPA's 'Model waste and recycling collection contract' helps councils streamline the tendering process and deliver quality service.

A comprehensive tendering package, the tool and user guide were developed in consultation with councils, collection contractors and industry. The tool covers every aspect of contract writing — from information for tenderers to specifications and tender return schedules.

Note: the package, especially Section D Part 2 Garbage Specification 2015 and Part 3 Recyclables Specification 2015 should be used with reference to changes in context. For example, the introduction of the container deposit scheme in December 2017 and a regulatory change in October 2018 to stop the use of mixed waste organic material produced by alternative waste treatment facilities.

Download the contract

By using this tool councils can

  • improve quality of documents by effectively setting a minimum standard
  • save time and money on preparation costs for tenders and contracts
  • free up time to focus on results and outcomes, because less time is needed to develop principal documents
  • create opportunities to obtain higher-quality tenders, as tenderers become accustomed to the standard documents and better able to focus efforts on their submission's service and outcome components
  • reduce contract administration time by adopting consistent approaches

The EPA welcomes feedback

The EPA uses feedback from councils and contractors to further refine and improve this tool.

The EPA provides guides and information to help local councils find the most suitable kerbside waste and recycling collection systems, and collect the data they need to continue improving these systems. 

Kerbside audit guidelines

Reliable waste data is essential for councils to make informed decisions about system performance, improvements and changes.

The guidelines for kerbside audits provide local governments with methods to audit

  • household domestic residual, recycling and organic waste generation
  • the composition of a typical household bin at the kerbside

An addendum contains improvements to the original guidelines.

Download data sheets for waste audits

Reducing contamination of organics at the kerbside - report

This report examines strategies used by NSW councils to reduce contamination of recyclables and organics in domestic kerbside recycling systems. (The report also covers strategies used by several local councils and contractors around Australia).

The strategies covered in the report fall into four categories: system enhancements, education, enforcement and rewards. The report examines what does and does not work.

Collection systems for food and garden organics - guidelines

This national guideline aims to help local councils develop successful food and garden organics collection systems. Contractors and others implementing organics collection schemes may also find the manual useful.

The manual addresses each step required to plan and implement an organics collection scheme, including

  • investigating which system to adopt
  • scheme roll-out (including communication, community engagement and education)
  • ongoing monitoring and evaluation of scheme performance

The EPA contributed to the manual, which was the result of consultation between state governments, local government associations, waste contractors and local councils.

Managing waste well is important in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs). The NSW Government provides guidance for council staff, architects, property developers and building managers on managing waste in medium- or high-density residential, mixed use and integrated housing developments.

The guide includes advice on design, establishment, operation and ongoing management of waste services.

Well designed and managed waste systems can

  • improve residents’ amenity
  • influence community attitudes and behaviour
  • improve property values
  • simplify waste collection
  • increase recycling rates

Additional information on managing waste in multi-unit dwellings

These EPA guidelines help operators of commercial and industrial premises to achieve the major cost and environmental benefits that are possible when they optimise waste and recycling systems.

The guidelines are for council officers, waste and recycling service providers, facility managers, property managers, commercial tenants, property developers and building designers.

The guidelines cover design of waste management systems, and day-to-day operations for premises including

  • office buildings
  • retail outlets
  • group retail centres
  • hospitality and accommodation facilities

The guidelines primarily deal with larger-scale facilities but may also be useful for small to medium-sized businesses. They include checklists, specifications and case studies, and provide practical advice including

  • opportunities to avoid waste
  • how to increase the yield and quality of recyclable materials
  • equipment choices and layout
  • spatial requirements for storage, handling and collection of waste
  • information about contracts for waste services
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