Top 5 actions you can take to decrease your waste footprint

Brisbane, you're doing a great job at recycling via your household recycling bin. Your effort diverted more than 71,300 tonnes of recyclables from landfill in the last financial year. But there's still more you can do. Currently, 68% of the average Brisbane rubbish bin contains items that could have been recycled, composted, or avoided entirely.

Find out five easy things you can do to reduce your waste at home and help decrease the amount Brisbane sends to landfill.

1. Garden waste

Fact: About 23% of the average household rubbish bin is made up of valuable green waste that can easily be recycled.

Take action to recycle garden waste

One of the easiest ways to reduce your household's garden waste to landfill is to order a green waste recycling bin. Council has waived the $30 establishment fee, which means the service only costs $1.71 per week, making it a very affordable service for households with regular green waste. We understand that this option won't suit everyone. Read on for information about other free and affordable ways to recycle your green waste, including ideas about mulching and home composting, and how you can get your hands on a free compost bin through our rebate program.

2. Food waste

Fact: The largest proportion of the average Brisbane rubbish bin is food waste, making up a whopping 29%. 

Take action to reduce and recycle food waste

Even in subtropical Brisbane, there are simple ways to reduce your household's food waste and it all comes down to what we buy, how we store it, and what we cook. The Love Food Hate Waste program is a great place to start with tools to help you plan your meals and a smart food guide to get the best out of your groceries. Unavoidable food waste like banana peels, orange rinds and onion skins can also be saved from landfill with Council's compost rebate program, or by taking them to your closest community composting hub. Every little bit of food waste recycling helps!

3. Cardboard

Fact: This one might shock you because paper and cardboard recycling might seem like 'Recycling 101', but last year 27,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard ended up in landfill.

Take action to recycle cardboard

Cardboard and paper items, including boxes and packaging, should go in your home recycling bin. If you are finding you don't have enough space in your recycling bin, you can upgrade to a larger recycling bin for free!

4. Glass

Fact: Tonnes of glass packaging are mistakenly sent to landfill every year. It's such a waste because glass is a great product to reuse and is highly recyclable.

Take action to recycle glass

Like cardboard and paper items, glass should go in your home recycling bin. Glass is a great resource that can be turned into new food and beverage containers and other products. Did you know that 300-500 tonnes of glass is recycled each month to create asphalt mix for Brisbane roads?

Exceptions: Drinking glasses, ceramics and heatproof glass (e.g. Pyrex) melt at different temperatures and cannot be recycled. Donate these items to your local op shop or put them in your general waste bin if they are broken.

5. Plastic

 Made from fossil fuels, pesky plastic is a growing global problem filling up landfill sites and polluting our waterways. 

Fact: The convenience of plastic has led to a throw-away society with eight million tonnes of plastic waste ending up in the ocean every year.

(Source: National Geographic, 'The world's plastic pollution crisis explained'.)

Take action to reduce and recycle plastic

While avoiding single-use plastics altogether is the best option, this isn't always possible. But small changes, like those below, can make a difference.

  • Reducing your plastic consumption can be as easy as:
    • swapping your liquid soap bottle to a bar of soap
    • carrying a reusable coffee cup and water bottle
    • buying less packaged products
    • opting for paper and metal packaged products  (like boxes of pasta, cans of vegetables)
    • preparing 'nude' lunch boxes (no packaged food)
  • Many common plastic items like soft drink bottles, yoghurt tubs, takeaway containers and packaged cleaning products can be recycled in your household recycling bin.
  • Want to earn some extra cash? Recycle plastic via the Container Refund Scheme.
  • Separate your soft plastics like chip and biscuit packets (and other plastics that can be scrunched) and take them to your local REDcycle drop-off location, often found at your local supermarket.

When you are in doubt about recycling

Fact: Accidentally placing the wrong item in your recycling bin won't ruin the full load.

Council's free Brisbane Bin and Recycling app can make things easier. It has an easy search function to help you check you're putting the right thing in the right bin. You can also set reminders so you never miss bin day again. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play. 

You can also find out what you can recycle on our bin items page.

Related links

Date posted:
Last updated: 9 November 2021
Topics: green

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.