Waste and Recycling - Frequently Asked Questions

Why do/should we recycle our rubbish?

Every year, each West Australian produces on average 2.5 tonnes of waste.  1.7 tonne is sent to landfill and it is estimated only 800 kilograms is recycled.

Landfills are often seen as the most convenient form of waste disposal. However, there are many environmental problems associated with conventional landfills such as:

  • Land clearing and loss of biodiversity
  • Leachate – in unlined landfills, toxins have the potential to pollute soil and groundwater
  • Social impacts – visual, smell, noise from trucks travelling to and from site and vermin

Reduction of waste to landfill means our landfill sites will last longer. 

Recycling is the process by which waste materials are diverted from the waste stream, sorted and used to produce new products. Natural resources like timber and water and raw materials like oil, silica sand and iron ore are all required to make new packaging that we simply use and throw out. Making products and packaging from recycled materials uses far less of these resources.


Why does the City have a three-bin system?

In 2013 the State Government set the following 2020 municipal solid waste targets of 65 per cent diversion from landfill in the Perth metropolitan region and 50 per cent in major regional centres. All councils in Western Australia must strive to achieve these targets.

Separating waste in the home is the most effective waste management tool for reducing waste processing costs and increasing recycling rates. In 2013 the City of Bunbury introduced a third bin for organic waste to all residents. The organics bin is for all food waste (including meat, bones and dairy), cardboard and garden vegetation. This way organics are removed from the general waste so it can be converted to compost rather than going to landfill.  Prior to the launch of the organics bin in 2013, the amount of residential waste recovered by recycling in the Wellington – Bunbury region was 23%, well below the national average of about 50–60%, and far short of the State Government’s 2020 targets.

The Three Bin System has had great success, since 2013 Bunbury residents have diverted on average 60% of their waste from landfill by using the green organics and yellow recycling bins.


What does FOGO mean?

FOGO stands for Food Organics Garden Organics. It relates to your waste collection service and the weekly collection of food waste such as kitchen scraps and lawn clippings, small branches and garden debris in your lime green FOGO bin.

Kitchen scraps that can go in your FOGO Bin include: 

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Meat and bones
  • Tea bags and coffee grinds
  • Egg shells
  • Pizza boxes
  • Dairy products
  • Seafood
  • Take away food and baked goods
  • Cardboard and paper products, used tissues and paper towel

Larger cardboard products such as cardboard boxes including pizza boxes and paper products such as shredded paper and junk mail can also be disposed of in your FOGO bin. This will free up a lot of space in your recycling bin.


How do I collect the food organics?

Each resident is eligible to receive a 7-litre kitchen caddy. This caddy includes a durable handle, which forms a locking lid. This hinged snap fitting lid and locking mechanism, ensures that spillage is avoided and retains moisture to keep odours locked away. The curved design ensures easy cleaning and the unit is dishwasher safe.

Kitchen caddies are available for free by filling out the below form and emailing it to the City of Bunbury Records Department at records@bunbury.wa.gov.au.


What can I line my kitchen caddy with?

The City provides green compostable bags with your kitchen caddy and more bags are available free of charge from the below locations:

  • City of Bunbury Administration Office
  • Waste Operations
  • Bunbury Public Library                       
  • Withers Community Library
  • South West Sports Centre

Alternatively your kitchen caddy can be lined with newspaper or paper towel which can then be placed in the FOGO bin with your food scraps. 


What if I don’t have much garden organics and I compost my food scraps?

We support home composting and encourage you to continue to do so. Any food that you do not currently compost (e.g meat, bread, dairy products, excess lawn clippings, cardboard) can be placed into your lime green FOGO bin.


Where do I place my bins for collection?

  • Your bins must be placed at the kerbside facing squarely to the curb or road.
  • On your collection day, the bins are to be placed out on the verge on or before 6am.
  • No other containers will be emptied.
  • Following collection, bins are to be returned to within the property boundary for safe keeping.


What time do I need to put my bins out for collection?

All bins due for collection must be placed out before 6am as this is when the waste trucks start their rounds and they don't always come at the same time each week.


Why was my bin missed? 

Was your bin placed out for collection before 6am?

All bins due for collection are required to be placed out before 6am as this is when the waste trucks start their rounds and they don't always come at the same time each week.

Is it your collection day/week?

Different areas of the City are done on different days or weeks when referring to recycling collections. Your recycling collection is done on the same day as your refuse collection but every fortnight. Your recycling calendar will show you what week to place your recycling bin out for collection.

Is your bin overweight?

Bins over 70kgs cannot be lifted by the waste trucks and are required to be lightened by the resident. Items such as sand, dirt, bricks, concrete etc. are not to be placed into your bins.

Is your recycling bin 'contaminated' - i.e. contains items which cannot be recycled?

If so, these items will need to be placed in the red lid rubbish bin in order for it to be collected.  The City of Bunbury takes the issue of contamination very seriously; contaminated bins are often not emptied in order to avoid contaminating an entire truckload of quality materials.

We understand that you may have inadvertently contaminated the bin and in most cases you will not be penalised for one offence. However, you must remove the contaminating items prior to the bin being emptied. If your bin is found to be contaminated on a regular basis you will be contacted by letter and may be visited by a City of Bunbury representative. Under the City of Bunbury Waste Local law 2016, depositing of unauthorised waste in a waste receptacle (including recycling, organics general) is considered to be a prescribed offence and a $350 fine can be issued 

If your bin was not emptied due to contamination, you must remove all of the contaminants. Refer to the How to Use You Bins section of this website or Contamination Letter for what can and can’t be placed in each bin and use the bins correctly.

After removing the contaminants or if you need any assistance to work out what caused the contamination contact the Waste Operations Depot on 9792 7333 to have the remaining contents emptied.

Is your bin too close (1 metre) to obstructions?

If your bin is too close to objects such as power poles, cars, trees, etc. the truck will be unable to pick it up.

Can I take my bins with me if I move house?

No. The bins distributed to your premises are not transferable. In the event of an occupier moving, the bins must remain at the original premises. If you have moved to a house within the City of Bunbury boundary and there are no bins at your new property, you can order them through Waste Operations Deport on 9792 7333.


My bin is damaged what do I do?

If your bin is damaged the City of Bunbury will repair your bin free of charge.  Please contact the Waste Operations Deport on 9792 7333 or click here to complete the form to request this service.


My bins are full and my collection day isn’t until next week?

If your bins are full and you can’t wait until the next bin collection you can request a once off bin collection. Please note a fee will be charged for this service.


My bin smells, what can I do to reduce the smell?

To reduce your bin from smelling we suggest the following:

  • Wrap smelly items such as fish and meat in newspaper and/or a green compostable bag.
  • Seal nappies tightly in plastic bags (we suggest double bagging or scented bags) before placing in the red lid rubbish bin.
  • Store bins in the shade and out of direct sunlight.
  • Consider placing odour neutralising products at the bottom of your bin.


Where does my waste go?

Food Organics and Garden Organics (Lime Green Bins)

By placing your food, cardboard/paper products and garden waste in the lime green FOGO bins organic material is diverted from landfill to be recycled and turned into a rich compost, this has a positive effect on the environment and it will also assist in extending the life of the local landfill.

The organic waste collected in the lime green bins is recycled through the Banksia Road Composting Facility in Dardanup.

Click here for more information on how the organics facility works.

Recycling (Yellow Lid Bins)

The paper, cardboard, glass, aluminium, steel and plastic containers collected through the yellow lid recycling bins are recycled through Suez. Firstly the material is taken to the Suez Recycling Transfer Station located at the Bunbury Operations Centre on Giorgi Drive, Picton East which receives residential and commercial recycling from South West WA. Recyclable waste is then transferred within 48 hours into road trains and hauled to the Suez Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Bibra Lake.  

Materials are first sorted by hand to remove the non-recyclables (these are called contamination) which are sent to landfill. This is one reason why it’s important not to place chemicals, nappies, syringes or other contaminants into the recycling bin.

The facility then mechanically sorts and separates the recyclables into different streams of paper, cardboard, glass, aluminium, steel and plastic containers. The separated materials are then compacted into bales and taken by trucks to reprocessing facilities, and used in making new products.

Click here for more information on the MRF Bibra Lake Facility.

Household Waste (Red Lid Bins)

Placing household waste items into your red lid rubbish bin should be a last resort after you have tried to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle. Your red lid bin is emptied by a rubbish truck fortnightly and taken to Stanley Road Waste Management Facility.

The Stanley Road landfill is a regional Class II landfill located 14 km north-east of Bunbury. The site was previously a sand mine. Landfilling commenced in 1990 following establishment of the Bunbury Harvey Regional Council (BHRC). Accepted waste is landfilled on a large mound type landfill and covered with in situ sand mined on the site, this prevents odour and deters vermin such as rats and wildlife such as birds and lizards.


For all other queries, please contact the Waste Operations Depot on 9792 7333.