What you should know about green waste

Did you know that approximately 23% of the average Brisbane household bin is garden waste, meaning tonnes of garden waste is sent to landfill each year?

You wouldn't be alone if you've assumed it's easy for green waste to breakdown quickly in landfill because it's being buried back into the ground. But the truth is, it's actually difficult! When this waste is compacted and buried with very little oxygen, the breakdown process is very slow. Known as anaerobic decomposition by the experts, it creates landfill gases made up of methane and carbon dioxide, which are potent greenhouse gases if they reach the atmosphere.

Green waste collected by Brisbane City Council is transported to a recycling facility where it is turned into valuable mulch and compost to be reused. Watch our green waste recycling video on Council's YouTube channel.

What does this mean for your garden waste?

Without boring you with too much science, it means that your garden waste could be doing so much more to support a clean and green Brisbane, rather than languishing in landfill. When it's recycled, it can be turned into valuable compost material and used on local farms, parklands and urban gardens.

Top tips for good garden waste disposal

Here are the top three ways you can stop wasting your garden waste to landfill.

1. Get a green waste recycling service

Join more than 100,000 homes in Brisbane who already have a green waste recycling bin. Brisbane City Council has waived the $30 establishment fee, which makes it even more affordable. For less than $2 a week added to your rates notice, this fortnightly collection service is probably the easiest way you can recycle your garden waste. 

Tenants need to ask their property owner to approve and order the green waste recycling service for them. If you have an investment property with a yard, a green waste recycling bin can be an easy and affordable way to help tenants maintain the property.

Green waste collected by Council is transported, mulched and composted at green waste recycling facilities for beneficial reuse by suppliers. This means your green waste lives on through use in projects such as land rehabilitation projects.

Top green waste recycling bin tips

  • Cut larger palm fronds down so they fit inside the bin to make collection easier.
  • Green bins are collected fortnightly, so time your mow with your bin collection calendar. Download the Brisbane Bin and Recycling app to find your green bin collection day and to set-up fortnightly reminders.
  • Keep your green waste loose. Don't put it in plastic, biodegradable or compostible bin bags. 
  • Remember, garden waste can get heavy, so watch how much weight you put inside your bin.
  • Only put plant waste in your green bin. Hoses, plastic plant pots, potting mix bags, and other garden waste must not be added.

2. Mulching or home composting

If you only produce a small amount of green waste, or are looking for an at-home solution rather than a green waste recycling service, mulching and home composting could be the answer for you.

You can start by using your green waste on your garden beds as mulch. This is a quick and easy way to reuse your garden clippings. Mulch can help your garden retain moisture, reduce watering, and build soil structure.

Composting at home is growing in Brisbane with more and more residents starting their own composting systems. Garden waste can be used in your compost bin along with food scraps to break down into compost to help improve your soil quality.

Top mulching and composting green waste tips

  • The best mulch takes a mix of materials, so mix up the recipe for your mulch with lawn clippings, leaves, small twigs, and even your indoor house prunings.
  • Don't stack your grass clippings around the base of street trees as they can heat up and kill the roots at the surface.
  • Council has a great compost rebate program to help get you started with composting at home.

3. Self-haul to a resource recovery centre

If you have access to a vehicle, you can take your garden waste to one of Council's four resource recovery centres.

As you enter a resource recovery centre, you will be asked what types of materials you have for recycling or disposal and the attendant will direct you to the correct area. Remember, that while fees apply to take your waste to a resource recovery centre, you can use your waste vouchers, or take advantage of free green waste recycling drop-off weekend events.

Top tips for your trip to the tip

  • You'll be directed to drop off recycling first, so if you're taking waste, green waste for recycling, and other recyclable items (like paint tins, e-waste), pack the recyclable items last so you can unpack them first.
  • If you have a trailer, pack a rake or an outdoor broom to make it easier to transfer your garden waste from your trailer to the green waste pile.

Did you know?

Council works hard to capture as much landfill gas (greenhouse gases) as possible through horizontal pipes and vertical wells. Landfill gas is monitored for quality, quantity and flow within the extraction system. Captured gas is converted to green energy and supplied back to the energy grid to power homes. Whiles this makes the best us of a bi-product of the landfill process, it is preferable to look at ways to recycle green waste to make sure the nutrients from our garden waste go on to benefit our gardens and local environment.

Related links

**This blog was updated in October 2021.**

Date posted:
Last updated: 21 October 2021
Topics: green