At home

Tasmanians throw out over 451,000 tonnes of waste each year. About one third of this is common household waste disposed in our kerbside wheelie bins.

A number of councils have introduced special collection services, in addition to regular kerbside services, that provide an opportunity for households to sort and separate their general household waste for recycling and disposal. A good example is the household battery recycling service available in North and North West Tasmania. Unfortunately, even with these services, a lot of general household waste still ends up in landfill. Despite our best intentions, there’s still some confusion about what can and can’t be recycled and what should and shouldn’t be thrown away.

By rethinking what we do with our waste, there are many things we can do at home to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill. Rethink Waste will show you how.

Reducing the level of household waste is an easy exercise in rethinking old habits and watching what goes into our wheelie bins. Avoiding waste in the first place is a great way to start!

Avoid creating waste:

  • Take your favourite coffee mug or travel mug with you for takeaway coffee
  • Buy common grocery items in bulk and take your own containers to the bulk grocery store
  • Carry reusable bags everywhere you go for all types of shopping
  • Pack your lunch in a reusable container
  • Plan your meals in advance to avoid throwing out food


Did you know? Each Australian household throws out about $600 worth of food each year!

Reuse to reduce waste:

  • Donate unwanted clothes and household items to your local charity shop
  • Have a garage sale to give pre-loved items a new home
  • Search your local reuse or charity shop to stock up on common household items
  • Consider swapping clothes and toys with friends rather than throwing them out
  • Visit your local toy library to refresh toys instead of buying new ones
  • Reuse old envelopes and find creative ways to reuse used paper

Contact your local council for details of special collections offered in your area for other items such as books, furniture, batteries and fluorescent lighting.

Avoiding generating waste saves energy, resources and over-manufacturing of commonly used goods. Avoidance sits at the top of the “hierarchy” of waste management. The waste management hierarchy defines waste management strategies based on their desirability and environmental impact.


Hazardous waste has the potential to harm you and the environment. In the home, hazardous waste includes items such as oils, chemicals, old batteries, and even old computers and mobile phones.

It can be dangerous to discard hazardous waste in your general household wheelie bin.  Items that are not accepted in general rubbish collections include:

  • Agricultural chemicals and drums
  • Batteries (for example car, mobile phone or regular household batteries)
  • Cleaning and polishing chemicals
  • Motor oils (for example from cars or mowers)
  • Obsolete computer equipment, TVs (e-waste)
  • Out of date or unwanted pharmaceuticals (all medicines)
  • Pesticides and other garden chemicals
  • Petrol and kerosene
  • Solvent-based paints
  • Swimming pool or spa bath chemicals
  • Thermometers, barometers, thermostats, fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent globes
  • Tyres

There are many ways to safely dispose hazardous waste. This is what you can do:

  • Agricultural chemicals and drums – ChemClear accepts agricultural and veterinary chemicals for safe disposal and drumMUSTER accepts empty chemical drums for recycling.
  • Gas cylinders (LPG) – This included cylinders for BBQs, patio heaters, caravans, camping and lamps. Serviceable gas cylinders can be returned through swap programs provided by retailers for replacement or refilling.
  • Laser and printer inkjet cartridges – These can be taken to numerous retail outlets for recycling, including Australia Post, Harvey Norman and Officeworks outlets. The City of Launceston Recycle Hub and the City of Hobart Recycle Bank also collect these items for recycling (found at the council offices).
  • Mobile phones and phone batteries – Many council offices, mobile phone retailers and other retail stores will accept used mobile phones and accessories for recycling via the Mobile Muster recycling service.  Check out

Some councils offer recycling and disposal services for certain hazardous wastes. Contact your local council to safely dispose of:

  • Car batteries
  • Computers and TVs (e-waste)
  • Fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent globes
  • Gas cylinders
  • Household batteries
  • Paint
  • Used motor oils
  • Used cooking oil

If you are unsure if the materials you have to dispose of are hazardous, give the EPA hotline a call on 1300 135 513.


No current resources.

    Did you know that organic waste in landfill is harmful to our environment? Due to the lack of oxygen (landfill cells are typically an anaerobic environment) organic waste in landfill will generate more methane when it breaks down than when organic waste is broken down through composting. When methane is released into the atmosphere, it is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

    Councils across Tasmania are starting to introduce kerbside food and garden organics collection and composting services too (known as FOGO). Contact your local council to see what food, garden and other green waste services are available near you.

    Composting organic waste in your own garden is a safe and natural way to reduce and reuse your garden waste and food scraps and avoids sending them to landfill.

    All you need to get started is a sunny spot in your garden and a container, like a large wooden box or a plastic tumbler, in a quiet corner or out of the way. If space is limited or you live in a unit, you can also compost your food scraps using a worm farm.

    Great things to compost include:

    • Leaves and weeds
    • Straw, hay and other dried grasses
    • Prunings from your garden
    • Shredded newspaper
    • Fruit and vegetable scraps
    • Tea and coffee grounds
    • Other food scraps (but generally not fish, dairy, meat or bones)

    Great things you can do with compost:

    • Use compost on your garden for weed control
    • Use compost on your garden to control pests and avoid using herbicides
    • Use compost on your garden to retain moisture
    • Use worm castings from your worm farm as a fertiliser for your plants


    Set up a separate bin in your kitchen for food scraps and make it a daily habit to toss food scraps on the compost heap or worm farm.

    If composting is not possible for you, contact your local council to find out if a food and green waste collection is offered in your area. If your council offers a green waste collection, ask if it can take meat scraps, dairy, bones and garden waste.


    Whether you live in a house, a unit or an apartment, you can recycle a large range of general packaging materials including glass, plastic, paper and cardboard. Recyclable items should easily fit inside your council-provided recycling bin.

    In Tasmania, almost everything collected from kerbside recycling goes interstate, and sometimes overseas, for reprocessing into new products. Unfortunately, a portion of the recyclables collected from households in Tasmania is contaminated with non-recyclable items. Contaminated recyclables are rejected at the sorting facility and sent to landfill.

    Contamination occurs when you place items in your recycling bin that the recycling system cannot process, for example plastic bags or nappies. The fewer contaminants, the easier your recycling can be sorted, which saves time, energy, resources and money.

    In Tasmania these items can be accepted for recycling in standard domestic kerbside recycling collections:

    • Brown paper packaging – with the clear plastic ‘window’ removed
    • Clean paper and cardboard – includes office paper, domestic cardboard boxes and packaging, egg cartons, telephone books, newspaper, pizza boxes (clean), magazines, pamphlets and paper bags
    • Glass bottles and jars (empty & free of residue)
    • Metals – including aluminium cans, steel cans, tin-plated steel cans, aluminium foil, paint tins and aerosol cans (all empty)
    • Plastic containers and bottles (empty with lids off)

    Remember: do not place your recyclables into plastic bags or boxes – keep your recyclables loose in your recycling bin.


    “Making paper from recycled materials uses 99% less water and 50% less energy than if making paper from virgin materials.”

    In Tasmania these items are not accepted for recycling in standard kerbside recycling collections:

    • Computers and TVs (e-waste)
    • Gas bottles
    • Hazardous recyclables such as batteries (car or domestic) or compact fluorescent lamps
    • Nappies
    • Paint
    • Plastic bags including plastic bread bags and plastic barrier bags
    • Polystyrene such as foam packaging
    • Sharps and syringes

    Did You Know?

    You may have noticed that not all recyclable plastic containers display the PIC (Plastic Identification Code) triangle – the symbol most of us call the recycling triangle. This is because the triangle and corresponding number are used to indicate what plastic was used to make the container, not whether the container is recyclable. However, all plastic packaging containers can now be recycled as part of the normal kerbside recycling collection service offered by most Tasmanian councils. While soft plastic (including plastic bags and plastic film and wrap) are not accepted in any Tasmanian kerbside recycling collections, most major supermarkets now accept clean, flexible plastics, such as plastic bags, for recycling.

    For larger, non domestic items or items of a different nature than described here, check out our A-Z guide to recycling and waste (link below) or contact your local council for information about special collection services.

    Our Videos