Reducing Waste

What you can do to reduce waste going to landfill.

Take the Pledge

The City of Unley invites Unley residents to take the pledge to make a difference by recycling and composting more.

Recyclable items
Use your Yellow Recycling Bin and Organics Bin to its full capacity

Hundreds of Unley Council residents have taken the pledge to increase recycling and divert more food scraps and compostable paper to their organics bin. We’ve seen a 50% increase in food scraps and compostable paper in organic bins from households that have taken the pledge so far. Well done, this is one of the best results in the State! We’re also thrilled to see an increase in recyclables, and reduced contamination, in recycling bins!

If you haven’t yet joined, we encourage you to fill in our online form and  take the pledge to divert more recyclable and organic materials from landfill. 

Vist Recycling & Waste for a list of items that can and cannot go into your Yellow Lidded and Organics bins.

  • Take the Pledge Winners

    Our recent Take the Pledge competition has closed. Congratulations to the following winners who have received a $25 Mitre 10 Barrow & Bench – Malvern Store gift card: 

    • Emma from Black Forest
    • TS from Millswood
    • Valerie from Myrtle Bank
    • Graham from Fullarton
    • Noel from Myrtle Bank
    • Paul from Millswood
    • Kristie from Goodwood
    • Rina from Goodwood
    • Nicolas from Goodwood
    • Kathryn from Forestville
    • Ros, S.T., Kathryn and Bev from Highgate
    • Sue and Stephen from Fullarton
    • Lynette from Unley Park
    • Philippa from Hyde Park
    • Julienne, Kevin and James from Unley
    • Judie and Nic from Parkside
    • Joanne and Marni from Fullarton
    • Angela from Unley
    • John from Parkside
    • Helen from Fullarton
    • Lucian, Mellanie and Joy from Millswood
    • Kathleen and Rosi from Forestville
    • Jude, Jim and Diana from Goodwood
    • Sharon from Parkside
    • Pam from Fullarton
    • Matthew from Parkside
    • Amber and Diana from Malvern
    • Mario from Fullarton
    • Margaret from Highgate
    • Arnolda from Malvern
    • Naomi and Billie from Unley
    • Tim and Carol from Parkside
    • Shirley from Hide Park
    • Alicia from Forestville
    • Louise and Jenny from Black Forest
    • Dianne from MIllswood
    • Kay from Clarence Park
    • Sonia from Goodwood
    • Peter from Forestville
    • Tim and Marj from Unley
    • Jane, Carmel and Erin from Goodwood
    • Yvonne from Wayville
    • Jude from Goodwood
    • Eddie and Kim from Goodwood
    • Kerryn, Grant, Kelly and Nicole from Black Forest
    • Tim and Barb from Everard Park
    • Keren from Myrtle Bank
    • Steve, Gregory and Jan from Malvern
    • Andrew from Highgate
    • Katya from Fullarton
    • Rebecca from Malvern
    • Richard, Rob and Ken from Unley

Handy Tips

AVOID waste in the first place

  • Refuse junk mail if you don't want to read it
  • Share magazines and newspapers or access them free at the library
  • Store food in reusable containers

REDUCE what you throw away

  • Buy products in bulk with minimal packaging
  • Repair before replacing
  • Use both sides of paper
  • Minimise food waste and compost any scraps
  • Use reusable cloth nappies instead of disposable ones

REUSE materials in an innovative way

  • Reuse glass and plastic containers
  • Reuse gift wrapping paper and ribbon
  • Buy refillable containers where possible

RECYCLE products to save natural resources

  • Buy products made from recycled materials
  • Turn organics into compost
  • Recycle suitable containers
  • Buy products with packaging that can be recycled


Approximately 35% of the rubbish that each Unley household throws away in their wheelie bins is organic material that can be easily made into compost.
A Guide to Composting
How compost works in your garden
  • Composting at Home

    Composting is recycling too!

    Home composting is a natural and efficient way to recycle food scraps. It's easy, cheap and provides many benefits. Home compost systems include compost bins and worm farms.

    Composting is a very worthwhile pursuit because it produces useable compost, castings and liquid fertilisers which are very beneficial for our soil and plants. These products add nutrients, microbial diversity and increase the water holding capacity of your soil. You will start seeing food scraps and garden waste not as rubbish but as a resource to be recovered and used in your home compost systems.

    To help reduce the amount of organic matter that goes to landfill and cut the production of greenhouse gas emissions, we support our residents to participate in composting at home, where these materials are produced.

    Benefits of composting include:

    • improving garden health and soil structure by adding nutrients
    • reducing water use in the garden
    • saving money spent on fertilisers and mulch
    • reducing greenhouse gasses produced by rotting material in landfill (and saves landfill space)
    • reducing the cost of waste disposal to the community.
  • Coffee can Improve Your Garden

    Coffee is a great source of nitrogen - a much needed plant fertiliser. The nitrogen in coffee grounds is the kind that needs to break down in the soil before being released, so it ends up feeding a slow and steady drip of fertiliser to your plants.

    The nitrogen in coffee nicely balances the addition of "brown" materials (leaves, straw and cardboard) in a compost heap.

    In addition to nitrogen, coffee grounds also contain magnesium and copper in just the right amounts to be beneficial to your plants.

    Coffee grounds act as an effective repellent against slugs, snails, ants and cats when sprinkled around your garden.

    Earthworms and compost worms LOVE coffee grounds, so you can add coffee grounds to your worm farm as well!

  • Worm Farms

    Worm farms are an alternative to composting for people with small gardens. They can be kept in small areas such as on balconies or courtyards. Worm castings provide a rich soil-like substance that can be used for pot plants and growing seedlings.

    Most food scraps can be put in worm farms except:

    • citrus and acidic foods
    • foods from the onion family
    • meat products
    • dairy products.

    These can be put in your Organics bin.

  • Compost Bins
    Most kitchen scraps and other organic material can be put in your compost bin.

    Avoid meats and dairy products, these can be put in your organics bin.

    Find out more about composting – Guide to Composting

Kitchen Caddy System

kitchen caddy

Prevent your leftovers and food scraps becoming waste by using the kitchen caddy system.

Approximately 35 per cent of the rubbish Unley household’s throw in their waste bins is organic material that could easily be composted.

The kitchen caddy takes all kinds of food scraps, including bread, meat scraps and bones, egg and oyster shells, cheese, seafood and even tissues, paper towel and hair. The container is sealed to minimise smells or liquids and can sit on your bench top or under the sink. Once the kitchen caddy is full, both the compostable bag and contents can be placed directly into your green organics bin.

Kitchen caddies with 52 compostable liners can be purchased for $11 from the Unley Civic Centre, 181 Unley Road, during office hours. Additional rolls of 52, 75 and 100 compostable liners are also available from $4.50 per roll.


Local Nuisance & Litter Control Act

Introduction of the new Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016
Littering and activities that cause nuisance such as noise, smoke and dust impact on our enjoyment of local areas. The new Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 will help communities resolve local environmental complaints more efficiently through their local council.
Benefits of the Act
The legislation will result in improved amenity, particularly reduced littering and illegal dumping, for towns, regions and cities throughout the state.

Local government is better placed to respond quickly and effectively to local nuisance issues as they have a local presence, and community expectation of local government with regard to policing environment protection matters is very high.

The Act has been proclaimed to commence in two parts. The litter related elements of the Act will commence on 1 February 2017 and the local nuisance related elements will commence on 1 July 2017.

For more information and Fact Sheets on the new Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016, visit the Local Government Association website.

Dob in a Litterer App
A new public litter reporting App and website, developed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will give power to the people who see someone litter. The app is free and available for Android and Apple phones and tablets. For more information and Frequently Asked Questions visit the Dob in a Litterer website.

Cloth Nappies

Good for the environment, good for baby!

Cloth nappies have come a long way. Modern versions are more absorbent, less bulky, easy to wash and use.
Nappy facts 
  • Disposable nappies take approximately 150 years to break down, taking up valuable space in landfill
  • In Australia up to 2.1 billion disposable nappies are sent to landfill each year
  • It takes twice the amount of water to produce one disposable nappy than it takes to wash one cloth nappy for a year
For more information visit the Eco Bums Coth Nappy Service website.



Have leftover food in the fridge? Try the Recipe Finder.

This FoodWise Recipe Finder is your guide to making the most of common kitchen foods.  FoodWise helps you get the most out of every meal and ingredient in your kitchen. So, get online and check out this great tool.  It will save you time and money and reduce your household waste.