Waste and recycling

Reducing waste and recycling useful materials is something everyone can do every day just by taking care with what we buy, reuse and throw away. The more we reuse and recycle – at home, at work, at school and in our businesses – the smaller our impact on the environment.

Reducing, reusing and recycling saves the resources, water and energy used to manufacture the products we use, significantly reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill, and can save you money. 

Reduce

  • Buying in bulk can save you money, reduce packaging and your transport costs.
  • Buy products with minimal packaging and recycle packaging where possible.
  • Avoid items with individual wrapping.
  • Use a basket, box or reusable shopping bag and refuse plastic bags when you don't need them.
  • Buy products that can be recycled or that contain recycled materials.

Reuse

  • Choose reusable, rather than disposable products.
  • Before throwing out old bags, containers, building materials and other unwanted items, consider whether you or someone else can use them again.
  • Repair household items instead of replacing them.
  • Buy or swap second-hand clothing.
  • Donate clean, unwanted household items and clothing in good condition to charities. 

Recycle

You've made your best efforts to reduce or reuse, now make the most out of recycling.

  • Make sure you put the right materials in your recycling bin. Putting the wrong materials in your recycling bin may lead to recyclable material having to be sent to landfill because it's too difficult to separate.
  • Put items into your bin loose and not in a plastic bag. Plastic bags can't go into your recycling bin as they tangle up the machinery used to sort the recyclable materials.
  • Check if your shopping centre collects and recycles the plastic shopping bags used by supermarkets and other retailers. 
  • Save water – you don't need to rinse out containers before you put them in the recycling bin.
  • Compost food scraps and other organic waste such as branches and grass clippings or get a worm farm. Your soil and garden will benefit and you will reduce the amount of methane produced in landfill when organic waste rots. Methane is a much more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. 
  • It's possible to recycle a range of items that can not be placed in your kerbside recycling bin, such as mobile phones, printer cartridges, computers, printers, televisions, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), whitegoods, batteries, metals, cooking oils and building materials. Check out this guide to who recycles what and information about your household waste and recycling services

Information about recycling in your business 

From a small office, up to a large business, our Actsmart Business program can set up easy recycling systems and help to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill from businesses and offices.

By getting more businesses in the ACT and Queanbeyan to actively recycle, this program aims to reduce large amounts of waste ending up in landfill (98,150 tonnes from the commercial sector in 2008-09) and to assist in making Canberra a more sustainable city.

More information

A range of information on your household garbage and recycling bins, waste and recycling centres and other useful information on waste management is available from the Territory and Municipal Services website.