Changes to waste

Landfill space is running out, and no new landfills are getting built. That's why we need to start looking at other ways to manage garbage, recycling, and food and green waste. To help us avoid and reduce waste so only true garbage is sent to landfill, Council is trialling new ways to create a more sustainable city.

Stonnington waste strategy 2022-25

We have recently completed our 2022-25 waste strategy, called Towards a Circular Economy. It outlines key steps to work with the Victorian Government's recycling plans. Our strategy will help build Stonnington's response to the climate emergency and make it easier to become a circular economy.

Read the full waste strategy.

Our top ten priorities

  • Standardise bin lid colours to follow state government guidelines.
  • More waste and recycling education.
  • Use technology to make waste processes more efficient.
  • Carry out the Container Deposit Scheme. This is where you get a 10c refund for every eligible bottle.
  • Put in place our Plastic Free Policy.
  • Expanding food and green waste collection for apartments.
  • Start the groundwork to upgrade our waste transfer station.
  • Explore other options for sending our rubbish to landfills.
  • Embed a circular economy across Council, community, and businesses.
  • Collaborate with the M9, other councils, communities and state government.

Bin lid changeover

You may now start to see a mix of bin colours on your street. Council will change residential bin lids to standard colours in line with Victorian state government guidelines.

We will tackle this large project over 2022 and 2023.

When all the bins in Victoria look the same, we're better able to help people put the right thing in the right bin and recycle more materials.

Food and green waste

Between August and October 2022, we started changing the food and green waste bins. They have now all been swapped from the old burgundy colour to a black bin with a lime green lid.

All the burgundy bins will be recycled into new bins made from 60 per cent recycled plastic.

Rubbish and recycling

From mid-2023, we will start changing only the lids of your rubbish and recycling bins. It will take us a few months to get to every property.

If you order a new, replacement or repaired bin, you may see the new colour even sooner.

What do I need to do?

Nothing at all. When your bin is out on the street for collection, we will swap the lid for a new one.

We will take the old lid away and recycle them. The new lids are made from 60 per cent recycled plastic.

Everything else about your bins will stay the same, including your collection day.

Waste service Current colours New colours
Garbage Dark green body and dark green lid Dark green body and red lid
Recycling Black body with blue lid Black body with yellow lid
food and green waste bin (opt in service) Burgundy body and burgundy lid Black body with lime green lid

Bin feedback program trial 2023

In 2023, we will trial a bin feedback program in Stonnington to help residents recycle right. Many councils across Melbourne have successfully introduced a similar program.

Why are we having a bin feedback program?

When people put recyclable items in the garbage bin, we 'lose' materials to landfill that we could recycle instead.

When people put the wrong items in the recycling bin, they 'contaminate' the recyclables. In some cases, an entire truckload must go to landfill instead of being recycled.

So, there are two main reasons for the trial.

  • Help people put the right item in the right bin. We want to recycle more and send less to landfill to help our environment.
  • Save the Council and our ratepayers' money. Right now, high landfill fees and penalties can cost an extra $590,000 each year.

What is a bin feedback program?

Households will be randomly selected to be a part of the 12-month trial. They will have their bins inspected at least three times throughout the trial.

An 'inspection' means a contractor selected by Council will open the lid of the bin when you put it at the kerbside for collection. They will do a visual check of the top layer of waste and note whether there is an item that doesn't belong in that bin. The contents of bins will not be emptied out or rummaged through.

If everything looks OK from the inspection, we’ll let you know with a thank you tag on your bin. We will also enter you into a monthly draw to win vouchers for local businesses.

How will I know if I’m part of the trial?

You will know if you're a part of the trial when you receive a tag on your bin letting you know we've looked at it.

What will happen if I put the wrong thing in the bin?

We have designed the bin feedback program to be educational. There will be no fines or penalties for not quite getting it right. We will always continue to collect your bins.

If we find the wrong things in your bins, you will get a tag on your bin letting you know what the problem was. You will also get a flyer in your letterbox that will help you understand how to recycle right.

If we find the wrong items again, we'll leave a letter with more information about recycling. You may also get a phone call where you can discuss the matter with a member of our waste team.

RFID tags on food and green waste bins

Council wants to find new ways to be more efficient and responsive with our waste collection service. Using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, we'll be able to automate some processes and manage bins better.

A trial will start from January 2023 for our green and waste bins only, and last three months.

You will need to opt in to receive a food and green waste bin.

What is RFID technology?

RFID is a wireless data collection technology. Lots of different industries use RFID around the world, as it’s used to identify and track specific items. You can find the technology in access cards, library books, linen in hotels, produce crates in supermarkets, and clothes in shops.

An RFID tag is a small piece of plastic, about the size of a 20-cent coin, that sends information about the item it's on via an antenna and microchip inside it. A tag works with an RFID reader and when it's scanned, the reader uses radio waves to pick up the data a tag holds. A tag isn't active and doesn’t send any data until a reader scans it.

What is the RFID waste trial?

RFID tags have been installed in the new food and green waste bins, as it’s cheaper to install them when the bin is being manufactured.

For the trial, one of our waste trucks will be fitted with an RFID reader. When the truck picks up the bin, it reads the tag and receives data about the bin.

The reader will be in the truck for three months. At the end of the trial, the reader will be removed.

What data will be collected?

The RFID tag itself does not collect any information. It is assigned to a bin and property address, which is read and logged when the truck picks up the bin.

Since we can confirm the location of a specific bin and when it was collected, the RFID bin program trial will collect information about:

  • where a bin is collected, because each bin is tied to a property address
  • when a bin is collected, with a time stamp
  • when a bin is missed and not collected
  • if there is an issue with a bin that our drivers note and lodge, such as if it needs repairs, was too heavy or collected at the wrong address.

Data will be stored on a secure Australian server in line with the Privacy Act. Only authorised Council staff will have access to it, and the information will only be used for reviewing and improving our waste services. When the trial ends, this access and the data itself will be removed from the server.

We will keep reports that are created during the trial period, which include information like how many bins were emptied and common issues that our drivers reported.

How will the trial benefit our community?

We currently have a paper-based system to manage waste collection and bin requests. The system is due for a digital update to make our services faster and more reliable both for our community and our staff.

This technology will allow us to make improvements across the waste service.

  • Monitor stolen, lost or misplaced bins better. The truck will see if a reported bin is scanned somewhere else.
  • Identify areas with consistent waste issues, like overflowing bins.
  • Provide more targeted community education and engagement in those areas.
  • Give real-time information to our Customer Service team to respond to reports and questions better.
  • Reduce the time it takes to respond to waste issues because our team will have accurate real-time data. You may even find an issue resolved before you need to report it!

How does the trial work?

  1. The waste truck empties a food and green waste bin with an RFID tag.
  2. The truck's system collects data about the bin, including its unique identifying number, location and when it gets emptied.
  3. If the truck driver sees any issues with the bin or the collection, they can report this from the truck on a tablet. Currently, they need to note it on paper and go back to the depot to action it.
  4. The report is tied to the property and sent to our Customer Service and waste teams in real time.
  5. Details about a reported issue with a bin are sent to the tablet in the truck for the driver to action instead of printed on paper.

Infographic showing the five steps of the RFID bin trial

What do I need to do?

Nothing, just use your bins as normal.

Public food and green waste bins

Our food and green waste bins will stay an opt-in service. Many residents, especially those in apartments, do not have the space for extra bins or compost. This affects lots of people since apartments make up 65 per cent of all Stonnington households.

Instead, Council is looking at other options, like a trial of public food waste drop-off locations. The results of the RFID trial will help us plan the future of the food and green waste service.

Glass bins

Stonnington will trial glass bins in 2025, with a Council-wide rollout beginning in 2026. We know that some households do not have enough space for extra bins, so the trials will help us understand how glass bins can work for these residents.

How Council is helping you sort rubbish better

Currently, there are no plans to change any bin collection frequency. Instead, we're helping make sure more people have options to dispose of their rubbish and green waste properly. We'll always get community feedback before changing any waste collection frequency.

When something is put in the wrong bin, like putting recycling in a plastic bag, it's called 'contamination'. It can mean a whole truckload of green waste or recycling needs to go to landfill. We know recycling can be confusing, so we're doing more to make it easier. This includes our: