Improving Household Waste Management: 5 tips for everyday living

As the Festive Season comes to end, it’s now the time to put those new year’s resolutions in place and start improving your household waste management for 2018.  Each Festive Season, it is estimated that Australian household waste increases by up to 30% due to thousands of tons of wrapping paper, decorations, food and bottles being thrown out.[1]  January therefore becomes a key time to ensure we are managing our household waste and setting ourselves up for the year.

Container Deposit Systems (CDS) Executive Chairman Brett Duncanson, says: ‘whilst CDS is dedicated to improving technologies for operational practices in recycling facilities; we believe waste management starts from home. Our team at CDS has compiled a few simple suggestions for Australians to implement this year to reduce their household waste on a daily basis.’

5 simple ways to improve waste management in the household:

1.       Know your recyclables

Recycling bottles is second nature to many Australians. We all have a yellow lid recycling bin that is systematically filled and emptied on a fortnightly basis.  However, many of us are not clear on what can and can’t be recycled so CDSA has compiled a list below:

Do recycle list:

  • Glass; wine, beer and food jars (not broken glass)
  • Aluminium; food cans, beer cans, cleaned disposable BBQ trays
  • Cardboard and Paper; boxes, wrapping paper (with sticky tape is OK), drink cartons, food boxes, paper plates (make sure not too much grease!)
  • Plastic Containers; Drink containers, food containers, firm plastic glasses, firm moulded plastic
  • Real Christmas Trees (environmental waste bins)

Can’t recycle list:

  • Plastic plates and plastic cutlery; these are not designed to be ‘picked up’ by most recycling machines and therefore should not be recycled[2].
  • Plastic Christmas Trees, Tinsel and Fairy Lights; during your Christmas pack up, make sure you reuse your fake trees and decorations and don’t throw away each year.
  • Tissue paper and napkins; there is often too much grease and food to be recycled. As an alternative, you can use biodegradable napkins and throw the used napkins in your compost.
  • Champagne and wine corks; best kept for reuse in craft projects.

We recommend creating your own list to pin up next to your recycling bin so everyone in the family knows what can be recycled. 

2.       Refuse Plastic Bags

It is estimated that 91% of plastic is not recycled.[3] Plastic has such a negative impact on our environment and oceans that there are now numerous large islands of garbage; which are almost entirely made up of bits of plastic.  Plastic bags alone are a major issue as they cannot be recycled in traditional methods (recycling facilities) and therefore, they are sent to landfill and/or end up in our environment.  In Australia, both governments and major retailers are advocating for plastic bag bans.  In South Australia, there has been a ban on plastic bags since 2009. This year (2018) all states except for NSW and VIC will have bans on plastic bags at major retailers.  For more information on plastic bags, you can watch the War on Waste:

CDSA encourages all Australian’s to get on board and support reusable bags and refuse plastic bags when shopping.  Reusable bags are an easy, affordable and effortless way to contribute to the reduction of waste on a daily basis.

3.       Pre-plan for leftovers to reduce wastage

During the Festive Season, 35 percent of the $10 billion Australian’s spend on food will be wasted due to over-purchasing and lack of awareness about how easy it is to save uneaten food for another time.[4]

On average, Australians waste more than 100kg of food per person per year.[5] Therefore, it is no surprise that this amount increases dramatically during the summer season each year!  With the glorious weather, it is the time for BBQ’s, family gatherings and national celebrations.

While we can advise you to purchase less food for your social gatherings, this is often not a practical solution for many hosts as last-minute RSVP’s roll in (or out) on the day! A workable solution is to plan for leftovers. Work out before your event what foods will need to be used within the next few days and which items you can freeze/save for later.  You can then plan your next week of meals based on the leftovers in your fridge.  

Planning for leftovers is a great habit to form over the year to ensure you reduce food wastage.  Leftovers can be reinvented and frozen for future meals also. We found some great Leftover Recipes you can use:

4.       Know your States Container Deposit Scheme

If you are the lucky host a party this season, why not keep your empty containers and recycle at your local recycling facility. In South Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales, you can get up to 10cents per container.  Find out more about Container Deposit Schemes in Australia here.

Alternatively, many schools and community groups across these states run small fundraising schemes where you can drop your empties off to support your local community.  Check out your local council’s website to see where you can recycle your containers.

5.       Learn where you can deposit your e-waste

E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste categories and encompasses all old electrical appliances either in a state of disrepair or simply obsolete. This includes large items such as fridges and washing machines, through to small mobile phones and accessories.  Due to the rate of technology change and decreasing commodity prices, e-waste is growing 3 times faster than any other waste in Australia. [6]

To prevent it ending up in landfill, the Federal Government introduced the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) in 2011.[7] There are more than 1,800 collection points across the country where householders and small businesses can drop off unwanted televisions, computers and accessories for free.

Recycling your e-waste reduces the amount of waste in out landfills, increases the amount of reusable resources / materials for new products and supports the e-waste recycling industry. You can find your local e-waste recycling facility here:


There are many other ways Australian’s are improving their waste management. At CDS, we always welcome feedback on our blog and would be delighted to hear what you do in your households to reduce waste and improve household waste management.


About Container Deposit Systems (CDS)
CDS was formed with a vision to oversee the implementation of improved operational practices in recycling facilities. The company offers a range of services to recycling depot facilities to drive productivity improvements and transition traditional recycling facilities into modern technically advanced operators.

CDS achieve this through patented technologies which deliver manufacturing automation to auto-sort materials via a highly sensitive multi-sensor integration. Systems integrations enable facilities to further gain efficiencies through workflows, materials handling, logistic processes, facility layout and design, customer interaction and data acquisition and management.

CDS technologies are designed and manufactured in Australia with local partners Sage Automation and Macweld Engineering.

For more information, please contact us.