Recycling and waste guide

What goes in which bin?

What goes in which bin? What can I recycle? How do I dispose of this unusual waste? Find the answers to these and more questions below.

What goes in my (red lid) rubbish bin?

  • Household waste, non-compostable food waste, (meat, fish, poultry, scraps and bones)
  • Nappies
  • Polystyrene or foam trays
  • Broken glassware and crockery
  • Broken mirrors, incandescent light bulbs and glass

What DOESN'T go in my (red lid) rubbish bin?

  • Garden clippings, lawn clippings or weeds
  • Syringes (please refer to safe disposal guidelines below)
  • Gas bottles
  • Paints (for drop off locations check out Paintback) or solvents
  • Bricks, rubble, timber or tiles
  • Pesticides or chemicals

What goes in my (yellow lid) recycle bin?

  • Steel cans including aerosol cans, aluminium cans and aluminium foil
  • Milk, juice and egg cartons (NOT long-life cartons such as Tetra Pak, UHT, aseptic packaging)
  • Cardboard and paper
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Rigid plastic containers and bottles like those in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry

Tip: Give your recyclables a quick scrape or rinse before they go in the bin, to remove excess food.

What DOESN'T go in the (yellow lid) recycle bin?

  • Plastic wrap, bags or packaging
  • Syringes (please refer to safe disposal guidelines below)
  • Food waste
  • Clothing and material
  • Polystyrene
  • Household waste
  • Green waste - garden or lawn clippings
  • Broken glass, mirror or ceramics
  • Light globes
  • Nappies
  • Long life cartons i.e. Tetra Pak, UHT, aseptic packaging
  • E-waste. That's any item with a plug, battery or power cord such as keyboards, laptops, or power tools
  • Gas bottles

Recyclables that can't go in your household bin

Some items that don't go in the recycling bin can be recycled at specialised locations:

  • E-waste: Castlemaine and Maldon Transfer Stations (fees apply)
  • Printer cartridges: For a list of drop-off locations visit Recycling Near You
  • Batteries: Castlemaine Transfer Station
  • Light bulbs: Council's Civic Centre, Mount Alexander Sustainability Group and Castlemaine Transfer Station
  • Whitegoods: Castlemaine Transfer Station (fees apply)
  • Gas bottles: Castlemaine Transfer Station (fees apply)
  • Plastic bags and soft plastics: For a list of locations visit Redcycle.

For a more detailed list, read our Guide to Residential Recycling and Waste Services(PDF, 5MB).

Recycle Mate is another useful tool designed to help you recycle right. Download the free app (available on Apple and Android devices), take a photo of your waste, and Recycle Mate will show you what to do.


Battery disposal

Batteries should never be put in your recycling or waste bin. They are hazardous and can produce sparks that can start a fire in waste trucks or the recycling facility. This includes batteries in laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cameras.

Fire incidents due to incorrect battery disposal has increased dramatically in the last few years.

You can take batteries to the Castlemaine or Maldon Transfer Stations. A small transfer station fee applies.

E-waste disposal

E-waste is discarded, obsolete or broken electronic or electrical equipment, and it can pose a significant risk to people and the environment if not dealt with appropriately.

E-waste is also a valuable resource that should be recycled. 

You can take e-waste to the Castlemaine or Maldon Transfer Stations. A small transfer station fee applies.


Disposing of syringes and sharps

Sharpsafe collection and disposal

The shire's two collection and disposal points are :

  • CHIRP Community Health, 13 Mostyn Street, Castlemaine.
  • Castlemaine Health, 142 Cornish Street, Castlemaine.

Learn more at the Department of Health's Needle and Syringe Program.

Syringe bin locations

We provide syringe bins in our public toilets.

Syringe collection

If you find a discarded syringe, call us on 5471 1700 or complete an online service request. We will arrange for safe collection and disposal. You will need to give a detailed description of the syringe's location.

Please note that syringes on private property are the owner's responsibility.

Safe disposal of needles and syringes


  • Tell children never to pick up needles and syringes.
  • Place used needles only in a suitable sharps container.
  • Store the container in areas that are child and animal proof.
  • Pick up the syringe by the blunt end with gloves or tongs.


  • Toss syringes loose in the bin.
  • Clip needles with scissors.
  • Dispose of syringes in the toilet.
  • Place syringes in aluminium cans or glass containers.
  • Place the sharps container in the bin. This puts our waste collections workers at risk.

For more call the Syringe Disposal Hotline on 1800 552 355 or our Public and Environmental Health Unit on 03 5471 1700.

Have you been stuck by a needle? See Better Health - Needlestick Injury.

Worm farms and composting

Did you know that every year Victorians throw away enough food to fill the MCG five times? Imagine how much less waste we’d be dumping in our landfills if we all started composting and worm farming. Composting and worm farming are fantastic for creating a healthy garden. 

What items can I use in a compost and worm farm?

  • Fresh plants material (but not weeds, diseased plants or rose prunings)
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grounds, tea leaves, tea bags
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Chicken and cow manure
  • Shredded paper and cardboard
  • Straw
  • Damp leaves and grass clippings

What items can't I use in a compost and worm farm?

  • Onions, chilli, garlic, meat, dairy, fats and bone
  • A large amount of citrus or acidic foods
  • Large branches
  • Pesticide-sprayed waste
  • Weeds and diseased plants
  • Rose prunings
  • Treated pine sawdust/shavings
  • Metal, plastic and glass
  • Toilet waste

Worm farming tips

Worm farming is a simple way to reduce the amount of waste you place in the bin. By putting your organic waste into a worm farm, you’ll end up with a rich fertiliser which your garden will love.

How to start and maintain your worm farm

  1. Pick a spot out of the direct sunlight for your worm farm to live. In the winter months, you can move them to a sunnier spot for warmth.
  2. There are three levels to the worm farm; the bottom, middle and top. Line the middle layer in newspaper and cardboard. Cut it to fit.
  3. Soak the bedding block that comes with your worm farm in water for 30 minutes and spread it over the newspaper/cardboard base. If you don’t have a bedding block you can use compost.
  4. Add your worms and cover them with a few sheets of damp newspaper and a hessian sack or t-shirt. Put the lid back on and you’re done!
  5. After your middle layer is full, you can start using the top layer. Place the food scraps in and cover it with the sack or a shirt.
  6. The worms will start feeding and living up the top.
  7. Turn over your soil using a garden fork to aerate your worm farm

Where can I buy a worm farm?

You can buy worm farms from your local hardware store. They generally come with bedding made from coconut fibre. Compost worms are usually sold separately.

How do I use the fertiliser from my worm farm?

Worms create two types of fertilizer: solid and liquid. Solid fertiliser, or “worm castings”, will develop in the middle and top layers and be ready for harvest every 4-6 months. Just scrape away the top level and harvest the castings – they look like rich, dark soil.

Liquid fertiliser is worm wee, and will accumulate at the bottom of the worm farm. Just turn the tap at the bottom and empty the liquid into a container. Dilute one part wee with seven parts water for a great fertiliser.

Handy worm farming tips

  • Worms will eat approximately their weight in food each day, so a few handfuls every few days should be more than enough.
  • If you cut the food up into smaller pieces the worms can eat it more easily.
  • Give your worms a balanced diet; take a few different items from the ‘Acceptable’ list above and mix it up for your worms.
  • If your worm farm smells, remove any rotten food. You’re probably over-feeding your worms and the food is not getting eaten.
  • Turn over your soil to aerate it.
  • When you squeeze the soil, a little bit of water should drip out. If it doesn’t, spray it with a bit of water.
  • If there are other insects in your farm, don’t worry about it. They also play a role in decomposition.
  • If you have ants, your worm farm is too dry
  • Don’t worry about going away, worms can live for 4 weeks without fresh food. Just put damp newspaper on top and put it in a damp location. Leave your worm juice tap open with a container underneath it.

Composting tips

What is composting?

Composting food scraps, newspaper and garden waste creates a nutrient-rich soil. This soil is perfect for your garden, adding important bacteria and nutrients.

How to compost?

  • Take your leaves, prunings, newspaper and cardboard and put them on the bottom of your compost bin.
  • Layer different types of waste, alternating between waste and soil. This way, it won’t attract flies or smell.
  • Once a week, turn over your compost mix with a garden fork. This will help speed up the break down process. After you turn it over, cover it with soil. Add some water if the compost material doesn’t feel damp.
  • Add a thin layer of damp, shredded paper or cardboard once a week. This will also speed up the process.

Handy composting tips

  • If you chop your food scraps up, you’ll speed up the decomposition process.
  • Keep the air circulating by turning it over.
  • Keep it covered.
  • If your compost smells, it’s probably too wet and you need to add some cardboard or newspaper.
  • If your compost is attracting animals, you may have some meat, dairy or oils in your compost.
  • If your compost contains ants it may be too dry – add some water.
  • If your compost is not breaking down, make sure you have an even balance of wet items and dry items

How to use compost in your garden

When your compost smells like soil and is crumbly, it’s ready to use in your garden. You can dig it into your garden beds, put it under trees, plants and bushes as mulch or use it as potting mix.


Download the full guide

Would you like more detail? We offer a printable pdf version of this guide. 

(PDF, 5MB)


You can also request and collect this guide from our Customer Service team