Bin Audit Results
What’s going in our bins?
2019 Household bin materials audit results for City of Prospect
In late-2019, East Waste embarked on the largest and most comprehensive kerbside bin audit ever undertaken in SA.
The audit included 2,143 bins from 700 households from East Waste’s seven member councils. This included 301 bins from within City of Prospect’s area.
The good things found in your bins
- An average of 61.3% of resources were diverted from landfill by placing them in either the recycling or green organics bins.
- Contamination in the yellow lid recycle bins was 8.1%, well below the metropolitan contamination rate of 13%.
- 97% of garden organic materials found were placed correctly in the green bin.
- 87% of glass items found were placed correctly in the yellow lid recycle bin.
- 82% of paper and cardboard found were placed correctly in the yellow lid recycle bin.
Note: All measurements are reported by weight.
What we didn’t do so well
Place all food and other compostable materials into your green bin!
- 37% of the landfill (red lid) bin contents was food waste. This is enough to cover the Adelaide Oval to a depth of one metre every year!
- Landfill costs 85% more than composting food through the green bin, and Council could save $200,000 per year in Solid Waste Levy fees if all food and compostable materials were placed in the green bin rather than the landfill bin. That’s enough savings to resurface an extra 6 to 7 roads a year on average!
- When food waste is sent to landfill it rots and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
- 72% of all food thrown out was edible. There are huge savings available to individual households if they better store and utilise their food, particularly vegetables and fruit which made up almost 50% of all food discarded.
Top 5 things to improve in each bin
Note: All measurements are reported by weight.
General waste to landfill bin (red lid)
- Make sure that compostable or recyclable materials are kept out. 53.1% of the material in the general waste to landfill bin could have been recycled or composted.
- Keep all food out! Place food and other compostable items such as paper towel and tissues in the green bin for composting. Items can be placed in loose, in a compostable bag or wrapped in newspaper. 28.7% of material found in general waste/landfill bins was compostable material, including food (20.9%) that could have been placed directly into the green bin. An additional 8.2% was food packaged in plastic containers or bags which could have been emptied into the green bin.
- Compostable soiled paper and cardboard (eg. cardboard food containers) equated to 4.3% which should be placed in the green bin. Things like am oily cheesy pizza box are good examples of things that can go in your green bin.
- Place clean paper, cardboard, empty plastic, metal and glass containers in the yellow comingled recycling bin. In the landfill bin 14.5% of materials was recyclable material consisting of; 5.5% paper and cardboard, 4.5% hard plastics and 2.3% metals and 2.2% glass. These items could have been recovered and recycled if they were placed in the correct bin.
- Take soft plastic wrappers and loose plastic bags to the REDCycle bins at Coles and Woolworths for recycling into outdoor furniture. 3.9% of materials were soft plastics. We can use these materials in our asphalt roads where the plastic helps make our roads stronger and last longer
Comingled recycle bin (yellow lid)
- Keep general waste out! 7% of material found was general waste either loose or in bags. This causes significant contamination issues.
- Take soft plastic wrappers and loose plastic bags to the REDCycle bins at Coles and Woolworths for recycling in to outdoor furniture. 1% of contaminants by weight were soft plastics, however by count and as a contaminant these are one of the most problematic items in the recycling bin. These wrap around machinery at the materials recycling facility causing it to malfunction or breakdown. Soft plastics contaminate other materials, particularly the paper and cardboard stream.
- Don’t bag your recycling. Keep it loose. 0.2% was bagged recycling which cannot be sorted and ends up in landfill. Plus it’s easier, just throw it in!
- Keep textiles including clothing, footwear, leather, and rubber out! 0.8% of contaminants found were textiles. These items cannot be recycled through the kerbside recycle bin. Check the East Waste website for alternative options for these tricky waste items.
- Keep broken glass items out. Broken glass accounted for 0.5% of contaminants. Glass fines imbed and filter into other recyclable material and is difficult to retrieve. Broken glass needs to be wrapped and placed in the general waste bin. To prevent glass breakage we encourage residents to take all glass items to their local recycling centre (eg. Prospect Bottle and Can Depot on Churchill Road) as this will ensure that the best recycling outcomes are achieved.
Food and garden organics/FOGO bin (green lid)
- Only 18% of all food organics was disposed of correctly in the green bin. This means that 82% was either wasted in landfill bins or found contaminating recycling materials in the yellow bin.
- Use a kitchen caddy system, available from the City of Prospect, to make sure that ALL food scraps including cooked or raw meat, bones, dairy, seafood, oyster shells, tea bags and coffee grounds, as well as paper towels and tissues are placed in your green bin. Placing food in the green bin has significant economic and environmental benefits. It costs councils and rate payers 85% more to send food and garden organics to landfill versus placing materials in the green bin for composting. Environmental benefits include reducing landfill and methane gas produced by food rotting in landfill. Removing food from landfill is the third most effective way we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.
- Empty food from containers. Food packaged in plastic containers and bags equated to 1% of contamination found. Food needs to be placed in loose or contained only in a compostable bag (as supplied by City of Prospect) or wrapped in newspaper. Empty plastic containers should be placed in the recycling bin.
- Keep general waste out! 0.8% of material found was general waste either loose or in bags. This causes significant contamination issues.
- Keep textiles including clothing, footwear, leather and rubber out! These materials cannot be composted and therefore cause contamination issues. 0.6% of contaminants found were textiles.
- Keep building materials including bricks, tiles, scrap metal and wire out! 0.2% of materials was building materials. These items damage trucks and machinery at the recycling facility so should not be placed in kerbside bins. Building materials can be taken to a waste transfer station for recycling.
Other interesting facts
- 72% of all food waste (found in either general waste or green organics bins) was identified as edible at time of disposal. 44% of this was fruit and vegetables. So please think before you throw it out. As Ronnie Kahn, founder of OzHarvest, says “fill bellies not bins”.
- Look at what’s in your fridge and pantry before going shopping for more;
- Buy only what you need. Make a shopping list;
- Store food properly, so it doesn’t go off too soon;
- Cook it and eat the leftovers, and
- Best before vs use-by dates - know the difference between them.
Why is it important to keep food and other organic material out of landfill?
When food waste is sent to landfill it rots and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Approximately 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by organics in landfills.(1)
We are here to help
Visit the Your Bins page on our website for a list of what can go in each bin.
For more information on how you can avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle and compost items visit East Waste’s website.
Education flyers and kerbside bin stickers are available from the City of Prospect, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Environment & Sustainability Officer and East Waste’s Education Officer are available to present to community groups on waste avoidance and recycling topics including how to minimise waste, what to recycle, composting methods, what happens once it leaves the kerb and much more. Contact us on email@example.com.
Download the My Local Services App for bin collection reminders, weekly waste tips and links to other waste resources straight from your phone.
If you’re not sure which bin to place something in, check out the Which Bin? website.
1. Chengliang Zhang, Tong Xu, , Hualiang Feng and Shaohua Chen; Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Landfills: A Review and Bibliometric Analysis. Published: 16 April 2019. Referenced from: Stocker, T. IPCC, 2013: Technical Summary. In Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; IPCC: Geneva, Switzerland, 2013; pp. 159–254.
2. Statistics and data from: East Waste 2019 Kerbside Audit Report, published 24 January 2020. Prepared by Rawtec Pty Ltd.