Where your waste goes from UNSW

Waste streams and processing destinations

 

Outdoor bins


Our new outdoor 3 bin system allows UNSW to recycle our waste more efficiently from the beginning, separating compostable products and drink bottles and cans from general waste. When you're disposing of waste on campus, remember to get it in the right bin and recycle better!

Three Bin System Infographic

Food & compostable packaging (burgundy bin)
This recycling stream includes all unwanted takeaway food and approved compostable food packaging purchased on campus including cutlery, drink and food containers, coffee cups and lids. This waste is then sent to a composting facility where it is turned into organic compost. If you are not sure if your packaging is compostable or not, put it in the red bin to help avoid contamination.

Drink bottles & cans (white bin)
Single-use glass and plastic drink bottles, cans and juice poppers (also known as  Return and Earn containers) can be deposited into these bins. You can earn a 10 cent refund for eligible containers at the Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) located beside Old Main building (refer to UNSW Sustainability campus map for location). These single use drink containers will be processed and recycled at an NSW EPA-licensed facility.
If you are not sure if your drink container is a CDS Return and Earn container, put it in the red bin to help avoid contamination.

General waste (red bin)
All other general waste including contaminated paper, plastics, non-compostable food packaging should be deposited into the red bins. General waste   is sent to a material recovery facility (MRF) in Fairfield East for processing, where it is mechanically sorted into streams that can be recycled, used as fuel for incineration with energy recovery, and a small residual component which goes to landfill. Here is a video about how its done.

 

Indoor bins

Paper and cardboard (blue bin)
Paper and cardboard is collected in the blue bins in office spaces and classroom areas. Paper and cardboard collected through this extensive program goes to a paper mill in Botany for recycling.

Mixed recycling (yellow bin)
Mixed recyclable items including Return and Earn containers, other plastic and metal containers are deposited into the yellow bins. These materials are sent to a facility for processing and recycling.

General waste (red bin)
All other general waste including contaminated paper, plastics, non-compostable food packaging should be deposited into the red bins. General waste is sent to a material recovery facility (MRF) in Fairfield East for processing, where it is mechanically sorted into streams that can be recycled, used as fuel for incineration with energy recovery, and a small residual component which goes to landfill.