Food and Green Waste

You can reduce waste going to landfill by ordering a food and green waste recycling bin for your household. You can use this bin for both food and garden waste.

Darebin residents can now recycle food waste alongside their garden waste.

The following NEW items can now be added to your food and green waste bin:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Citrus, onion and garlic
  • Meat, small bones and seafood
  • Coffee grounds and loose tea leaves
  • Egg shells
  • Dairy products (cheese)
  • Bread, pasta and cereal
  • Used paper towel and newspaper, used to wrap loose food 

These items cannot go into your food and green waste bin: NO plastic bags, NO items labelled as compostable or biodegradable, NO food packaging, NO dog poo, NO kitty litter, NO oil, NO liquid, NO nappies, NO fabric. See our A to Z waste and recycling guide for a detailed list of where items can go.

Follow these easy steps to recycle your food waste:

  1. Use a kitchen container when you are preparing food or cleaning out the fridge. Any old container will do, we encourage residents to upcycle old yoghurt tubs or food storage containers.
  2. Put your food waste straight into the kitchen container. If you would like to line your container, use a sheet of paper towel or newspaper. Do not use plastic bags (even if they are compostable) to line your container.
  3. Empty the contents of your kitchen container straight into your food and green waste bin. Layering food waste between your garden clippings works best.

Avoiding and reducing how much food you throw away should be your first option. Visit the Food Know How website to find out how to best avoid food waste. You can also download our handy food storage guide to extend the life of your food. 

Take the food waste pledge and go into the draw to win a $50 voucher.

Are you a food waste champion? By taking the food waste pledge and completing our quiz you can enter into the draw to win a $50 voucher for a local business. Click here to enter. Winners can choose from one of the following businesses:

Terms and conditions apply. The competition closes 9 December, winners will be notified shortly after.

What can I put in my food and green waste recycling bin?

The following items are accepted in food and green waste recycling bins:
  • Grass clippings
  • Weeds
  • Small sticks, twigs and prunings (up to 30cm length)
  • Flowers and leaves
  • Cut flowers
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Citrus, onion and garlic
  • Meat, small bones and seafood
  • Coffee grounds and loose tea leaves
  • Egg shells
  • Dairy products (cheese)
  • Bread, pasta and cereal
  • Used paper towel and newspaper, used to wrap loose food 

These items do not go in the food and green waste bin:

  • Plastic bags (including compostable or biodegradable)
  • Garden or food waste in plastic bags
  • Plastic and compostable packaging
  • Pet droppings and kitty litter
  • Nappies (including compostable)
  • Building material (e.g. concrete or bricks)
  • Soil, stumps and tree roots
  • Wire, cloth, material, plastic or nylon ties.
  • Recyclable material 
  • Household rubbish

Your bin will not be collected if it:

  • weighs more than 30kg
  • is overfilled, has anything on top of it or leaning against it
  • is put out too late
  • is too close to obstacles such as trees, poles, other bins or parked cars.

Disposing of additional green waste 

Additional green waste (e.g. lawn clippings, sticks, leaves, branches) can be disposed of at the Darebin Resource Recovery Centre. Charges apply. You can also compost your green waste for free at home using a compost bin.

What happens to my food and green waste?

The food and green waste collected through this service is turned into nutrient-rich mulch and compost, to be used on farms and in parks and gardens across Victoria. 

It is important to keep the wrong items out of the green waste bin. Incorrect items, like plastic bags, wire and nappies, don’t break down even if they are labelled compostable. 

When these items go into your food and green waste bin they affect the composting process. By making sure only the right items are going in the bin you are helping to produce high quality mulch and compost to be used on farms and in parks and gardens in Victoria. 

You can find out what happens to your green waste by visiting the Back to Earth initiative here.

Food and Green waste recycling bins are collected fortnightly, alternating with your recycling collection.

Download the 2019 recycling calendar for bin collection days.

You can also find your collection date by searching for your property address in the Darebin Guide.

Bins are not collected Good Friday, Christmas Day, New Year's Day or Anzac Day and will be collected the following day.

Green waste recycling bins are an optional service for residents.

Charges for this optional service are billed to the ratepayer through the rates notices. Only the ratepayer for the property can request an optional green waste recycling service. Discounts are available to pension card holders.

If you are a tenant in a rental property and would like this service you will need to contact the property owner or agent and request that they order the green waste service on your behalf.

Green waste recycling bin charges
Bin Size Annual Charge
 120L  $54.10
 120L (pensioner rate) $31.30
 240L  $102.50
 240L (pensioner rate)  $65.90

How to order a Green Waste Recycling Bin

1. Complete the Green Waste Recycling Bin Application Form
2. Return the completed form to a Customer Service Centre

Further Information
Customer Service
Phone 8470 8888
Email mailbox@darebin.vic.gov.au

Save money and the environment by reducing and resusing to cut food waste.

Food waste is costly both to the household and to Council, with the average household throwing away around $2,200 per year or approximately one in every five shopping bags of groceries that could otherwise have been avoided.

When food breaks down in landfill it produces methane, a greenhouse gas more toxic than carbon dioxide, making it a serious environmental concern. When we throw away food we’re not only contributing to landfill, we’re throwing away the energy, water and natural resources used to produce, transport and package the food.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) if the amount of food wasted globally in 2007 was listed as a country it would have been the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind only China and the USA.

How can I avoid food waste?

Firstly, try to avoid food waste wherever possible. Two key strategies to do this is meal planning and writing a shopping list as these help you to buy only what you need. Making sure you store your food correctly will also help you to make the most of the food you buy. 

For information on how to reduce your food waste, see our Food Waste Storage Sheet or visit the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Know more about your food

The Food Know How program is an initiative created by Yarra City Council that was delivered across a number of local councils, including Darebin. The aim of the program is to help people reduce food waste by educating and engaging households to avoid and recycling their food waste.

 It provided information and a range of workshops on topics like meal planning, smart shopping, storing food, cooking with leftovers and how to recycle your food waste for your garden. The program was made possible with funding from the Metropolitan Local Government Waste and Resource Recovery Fund.

To access all the tools and resources from the program including the weekly menu plan and shopping list and a household food waste diary go to Food Know How.

Compost bins, worm farms, and Bokashi buckets are great ways to recycle your food waste.

Join the Compost Revolution

Council has partnered with Compost Revolution, an award-winning program aimed to reduce the amount of food and garden waste going to landfill and to provide residents with a nutrient-rich compost to use on their gardens or indoor plants.

Darebin residents are eligible to receive a 70 per cent discount off the recommended retail prices of one of the following composting systems:

  • Compost bin - this bin can handle greater volumes but needs more garden space to be set up. They also require more manual labour
  • Bokashi bin (kitchen compost) - this is a good solution if you have limited space as it can be kept on your kitchen bench

 To access these discounted prices, all you have to do is:

  1. Visit the Compost Revolution website
  2. Complete an online tutorial
  3. Take the quiz
  4. Order your product (delivery fees apply)

Conditions of Eligibility
One discount is available per household. Residents that have already received a discount are ineligible. The discount is only available to residents (ratepayers and renters) of Darebin City Council. Delivery fees apply.

A limited number of products and discounts are available. This offer will be unavailable once these numbers are reached.

Compost Bins

Compost bins are a good choice for people with more space as they can handle greater volumes of organic waste. However, they do require maintenance. Material in compost bins should be turned regularly to maintain air flow. This will help the micro-organisms to break down material faster.

Compost requires a balance of inputs to ensure the organic matter breaks down. It needs a balance of:

  • Carbon  - dry leaves, straw, paper, sawdust, shredded branches, dry grass
  • Nitrogen - Food scraps, fresh grass, manures, blood and bone, seaweed, comfrey, lucerne
  • Oxygen - introduced by turning the heap once a week while the material is new
  • Water - to keep the heap moist and covered
  • Correct size of particles and heap (small particles, large heap)

Discounted compost bins are available from the Compost Revolution website. Visit Compost Revolution to find out more and to purchase your discounted compost bin. Compost bins are also available in a range of shapes and sizes from hardware stores.

Further information on composting:

Bokashi Bins

Bokashi bins are ideal for small apartments or units, as they can be kept inside. Bokashi bins can handle small volumes of kitchen waste, including food waste that generally can't go into a compost bin like meat and dairy. The system uses a process of fermentation, aided by the bokashi mix or enzyme, which is sprinkled over layers of kitchen scraps.

The end products are bokashi juice and solid bokashi waste. Bokashi juice can be diluted and added to your garden or indoor pot plants. The solid bokashi waste can be buried in your garden or added to a conventional compost heap where it will break down completely. If you don't have access to a garden, that's okay! Many community gardens are happy to accept this solid waste in their compost heaps. Check with your closest community garden by visiting the Darebin Food Harvest Network website for contact details.

Discounted Bokashi bins are available from the Compost Revolution website. Visit Compost Revolution to find out more and to purchase your discounted Bokashi bin. Bokashi bins are also available in a range of shapes and sizes from hardware stores.

Worm Farms

Worm farms are a great option for people with smaller yards or balconies. With your worm farm you can produce rich soil (castings) and liquid fertiliser (worm juice) in a small area. Worm farming uses selected worms (typically Tiger Worms, Red Wrigglers and Indian Blues) to break down kitchen and garden scraps.

Tips:

  • Choose a cool shaded spot for your worm farm. 
  • Add composting worms, such as Tigers, Reds and Blues to your worm farm as they live, work and breed well in the rich, moist, organic environment of your worm farm.
  • Keep your worm farm moist, warm and protected from the hot summer sun
  • If possible, shred kitchen and garden waste into smaller pieces
  • Cover the worms with a small black plastic sheet in cool weather. In hot weather a damped hessian, newspaper is more desirable.
  • Always replace the lid
  • Castings can be placed in the garden around plants, in pot plants, around fruit trees, native trees and vegetables. 

What you can put in your worm farm?

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps and peelings 
  • Plate scrapings (cooked vegetables, pasta, rice, cheese, stewed fruit, etc). 
  • Hair clippings 
  • Shredded, soaked newspaper and cardboard
  • Vacuum cleaner dust 
  • Sawdust 
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags 

Coffee grounds are a source of nitrogen and are a great addition to your compost as well. Add together with your kitchen scraps and make sure you layer with about one third carbon based materials such as dried leaves or clean wood shavings. Coffee grounds also make good worm food. Some people like to add coffee grounds directly to their garden as fertiliser. They can also be sprinkled around seedlings to deter slugs and snails.

Mulch

The purpose of mulch is to conserve water, improve the health and fertility of the soil and to reduce weeds.

  • Mulch adds organic matter and nutrients to the soil and reduces your watering needs
  • Mulch also helps keep your garden weed free by preventing weed seeds from contacting soil
  • Apply layers of mulch up to 8cm deep after winter rains to retain moisture in soil
  • It is environmentally preferable to use mulch containing coarse particles of wood, leaves or straw which have been recycled rather than pebbles
  • Keep mulch away from tree trunks and plant stems to prevent rot
  • Unless the mulch is rich in nitrogen (for example, Green Lucerne) it may be necessary to add some nitrogen such as blood and bone to your soil. Most mulch will take up nitrogen as it decomposes

Where can I purchase these products?

Discounted Compost and Bokashi bins are available from the Compost Revolution website. Visit Compost Revolution to find out more and to purchase your item. Home composting products are also widely available online and from select retailers like hardware, garden supply and sustainability stores.

A limited number of worm farms and compost aerators* are available from our Customer Service Centre in Preston. Please note, worms must be purchased separately and are available from hardware stores and online.

  • Worm farm small (colour) $65
  • Compost aerators $15

*Compost aerators can be used for your home compost bin. Please note, we no longer sell compost bins at our Customer Service Centres.

Book your free branch or Christmas tree collection

Darebin households are entitled to:

One free bundled branch collection per year (up to eight bundles of branches of no more than one metre long). Branches must be tied with string and must be easily handled by one person.

One natural or real Christmas tree collection per year per household. Christmas tree collections are available from 27 December to 1 February.

The Darebin Resource Recovery Centre (the Tip) offers a free drop-off service of standard sized Christmas trees for two weeks only from mid to late January.

Bookings are required for both these services. To book, call Customer Service on 8470 8888.