What to put in your 3 bins

The 3 Bin System

The City of Unley operates a three bin system to help residents and businesses divert materials for recycling and reduce landfill. Residents are provided one blue bin for general waste, one yellow bin for recycling one green (or grey) bin for organic waste.

Not sure what goes in what bin?

If you are unsure which bin to use, you can visit the Which bin website and enter your suburb and what you are wanting to dispose of or read more below.

Visit Which Bin

General Waste (blue bin)

The 140L blue bin is for general waste that cannot be recycled or composted and is collected weekly. All general waste is sent to landfill.

General waste tips

 Not sure what goes where?

Visit Which Bin

  • Any packaging and soft film plastics that do not hold their shape when scrunched cannot be recycled. However, they can be recycled when collected in large quantities, eg Coles Supermarkets - have collections for soft plastic such as plastic bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, food packaging and old 'reusable' shopping bags.
  • Mirrors, ceramics, windscreen and window glass have different melting temperatures or coatings and cannot be recycled with normal glass - wrap and place these in the blue waste bin
  • Videotapes, strapping, string and rope can get caught in machinery that sorts recyclables causing breakdowns so cannot be recycled.
  • Broken glass and dirty plant pots can be an occupational health and safety issue for recycling staff so must be placed in the blue waste bin.


  • Chip packets, lolly and chocolate wrappers
  • Disposable nappies
  • Fabric, linen and clothing (not reusable). Check charity stores first before disposal
  • Cleaning cloths and sponges
  • Broken crockery
  • Broken glass, mirrors, ceramics and window glass (wrapped)
  • String, rope, plastic strapping and netting
  • Video and audio tapes
  • Polystyrene foam (meat trays, takeaway containers and cups etc)
  • Soft plastics (cling film and bubble wrap). Can be taken to most Coles Supermarket for recycling.


  • Food scraps (put in green organics bin)
  • Garden materials
  • Recyclable materials
  • Hot ash (cold ash must be securely wrapped)
  • Soil and sand
  • Liquids (eg paints, oil, solvents and chemicals)
  • LPG gas bottles
  • Building materials (eg concrete, bricks and sawdust)
  • Large pieces of metal.


Recycling (yellow bin)

The 240L bin with a yellow lid is for recycling only and is collected fortnightly on the same day as the general waste bin. Recycling is sorted and reprocessed into new products.

How you manage your recycling is just as important as what you recycle. We need to recycle right as contaminants in recycling and green organics bins can result in the entire contents of the collection truck going to landfill - resulting in additional disposal costs and undoing your effort in separating the waste to begin with.

Recycling tips

  • Place all items loosely into the bin – do not contain items in plastic bags

  • Leave paper and cardboard loose and unbundled

  • Shredded or scraps of paper must be contained in an envelope/paper bag for recycling

  • Remove all lids from jars, bottles and plastic containers

  • Metal lids can be placed in a metal can - squash the can so the lids do not fall out

  • Plastic lids can be put in a plastic milk bottle and, once full, placed in the recycling bin

  • Empty and rinse recyclables (save water by using leftover dishwater)

  • Some meat containers are made of rigid plastics and can be rinsed and recycled

Organics (green or grey bin)

Your 240L organics bin (green or grey lid) is collected on the alternate week to your recycling bin.

The organics bin is suitable for all food scraps including citrus, dairy, meat, seafood shells and bones. Wrap food scraps in newspaper or paper towel to prevent spills before placing in the green organics bin. To prevent odours, drain food scraps prior to wrapping.

Organics go to Peats Soil & Garden, where it is recycled into mulch, compost, potting mix and top dressing soils.

Green organics tips

  • Place organic material in your bin loosely to avoid compaction

  • Only material that was once living can break down for compost and mulch

  • Plastic, glass and building materials etc are contaminants and a few contaminated bins can result in a whole truckload of organics being sent to landfill

  • Make your own compost for use on the garden (food scraps, small quantities of paper/cardboard and garden pruning can be used)

  • Worm farms turn kitchen scraps and garden materials into liquid fertiliser for the garden


If it grows…….it can go in the Organics Bin

  • All food scraps, including meat, dairy, shellfish, citrus, takeaway leftovers, soiled pizza boxes, tea leaves and bags, coffee grounds, cut flowers, compostable corn starch bags

  • Tissues and paper towels

  • Newsprint kitty litter (including their waste)

  • Hair

  • Lawn clippings, garden pruning, twigs, leaves and weeds

  • Small branches (max 15cm diameter x 60cm)

  • Sawdust


  • Plastic or glass (of any kind)

  • Gardening tools, hoses and empty plant pots and trays

  • Bricks or building materials

  • Painted or treated timber

  • Soil, rocks or stones

  • Ash (hot or cold)


Recycling glass & plastics

Want to find out more about recycling Glass and Plastics? Visit our recycling glass and plastic page. for more information.

How to recycle food waste

Results from a recent audit show Unley residents have increased the amount of organic material being composted through the green bin system.

We still have room for improvement though, currently over 37% of food waste in our blue bins could be going into our organics bins instead of going to landfill.

To reduce food waste, consider ways you can make the most of every meal and leftover foods. Try the Recipe Finder

Kitchen caddy

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

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 and compostable bin liners can be purchased from:

  • Unley Civic Centre
  • Clarence Park, Fullarton Park and Unley Community Centres
  • Unley and Goodwood Libraries.

At the following prices:

  • Kitchen caddy with 52 compostable liners - $11
  • Roll of 52 compostable liners - $4.50
  • Roll of 75 compostable liners - $6.50
  • Roll of 100 compostable liners - $8.50.

Bin entitlements and additional bins

Residential properties

All residential rateable properties are entitled to a domestic kerbside bin collection service compromising of household recycling, green organics and general waste to landfill.

  • 1 x 140L Blue Bin General Waste – collected weekly

  • 1 x 240L Yellow Bin Recycling – collected fortnightly

  • 1 x 240L Green Bin Organics – collected fortnightly*

*Exceptions may apply due to dwelling density, location or service availability.

If you would like an additional bin/s you will need to complete an application to Council. If the application is approved, the information will be forward to Council’s Waste Contractor who will follow up to arrange payment and subsequent delivery of the bins. The annual fee is set by Council and payable to the Contractor. Service fees are published under Council fees & schedule(PDF, 2MB)

Request for additional bin/s 

Business/commercial properties

All rateable commercial properties are also entitled to a domestic kerbside bin collection service compromising of household recycling and general waste to landfill.

  • 1 x 140L Blue Bin General Waste

  • 1 x 240L Yellow Bin Recycling

Green Organics Bins are only provided if there is substantial landscaping required of the property.

Commercial food waste collection should be sourced by a commercial waste contractor.

Additional bins are not available through Council to an individual business, industrial and commercial premises. It is expected that each business will access commercial waste and recycling collection suppliers for any needs to excess of kerbside collection services.

For further information regarding kerbside collection in relation to Business and Commercial properties please contact the Waste Management Officer on (08) 8372 5111.