Your food waste collection questions answered

Putting scraps in a food waste collection bin

The following information will help answer many of your questions about how you can recycle food scraps in your food and garden waste bin.

What can I put in my food and garden waste (green) bin?

 All food scraps and cooked leftovers, including meat, seafood and bones (cooked and uncooked), can go in your green bin. You can also put in garden clippings, such as grass, leaves, flowers, weeds, plants, small branches and sticks, as well as some other organic material such as paper towel, shredded paper, human hair, animal hair and small amounts of newspaper and cardboard.

More information: What goes in your food and garden waste bin

Can I put compostable or biodegradable items in the food and garden waste bin?

Only certified compostable liners can go in your food and garden waste bin. All other items marked as compostable, degradable or biodegradable must go in your landfill bin.

Even if a company says their product is certified compostable, unless each individual product has the compostable certification logo, the composting facility will be unable to identify whether the product is compostable or not.

What is the difference between degradable, biodegradable and compostable?

  • Degradable means an item is made from plastic and contains chemicals that cause it to break down over time when exposed to sunlight and heat. Degradable items may break down quicker than a non-degradable item, but this isn’t a good thing. Degradable items break down into hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic (called microplastics) which are difficult to remove from the environment and can end up in waterways and food chains.
  • Biodegradable items are often made from plant-based materials and can break down when microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria, are present. But for biodegradable packaging to break down effectively, it needs to be exposed to UV light and be in an environment that reaches temperatures of 50°C.
  • Compostable items are made of natural plant starch and do not produce any toxic material. In order to be certified as compostable, they must meet the Australian Standard for compostability AS4736 or European Standard for compostability EN13432. 

Do I need to remove food from its packaging before it goes in my food and garden waste bin?

Yes. Only the food itself can go in your caddy and food and garden waste bin. All food packaging, including stickers, rubber bands, plastic containers, cardboard, tins, plastic bags or plastic wrapping cannot go in your food and garden waste bin.

What happens to the food and garden waste once it is collected?

Food and garden waste collected in Monash is taken to a commercial composting facility in Dandenong South that turns this material into compost.

The facility uses manual and machine sorting processes to remove contamination (items that don’t belong in the food and garden waste bin), and then shreds and sorts the food and garden waste into different sized material.

The smaller shredded material is composted through in-vessel pasteurising for about 2 weeks. This means the material is fully enclosed in an aerobic composting system where it is exposed to temperatures of 55C or more to reduce pathogen levels. The compost material is left to further breakdown through microbial activity and ‘mature’ in indoor windrows. The compost is turned regularly to keep it aerated and decrease moisture and temperature levels. This slows down the composting process and the composted material becomes suitable for use on land.

Different grades of compost and mulch products (made from the bigger-sized garden material) are produced. These products leave the composting facility and are transferred to market gardeners and soil companies that further refine and blend the compost and mulch to sell to farms or garden retailers.

The compost product can be used as a soil conditioner to feed plants and improve soil carbon, while the mulch product can be used on top of the ground to deter weeds and stop moisture loss. 

My kitchen caddy/food and garden waste bin smells - what can I do?

Odours and smells from food waste are common, particularly in warmer weather when the food may start to break down in your green bin. Here are some ways to help reduce smells when recycling food in your green bin:

  • Let hot food cool down before putting it in your kitchen caddy
  • Sprinkle bi-carb (baking soda) on top of food waste
  • Freeze meat, bones, seafood and other smelly food in an airtight container. The night before bin collection, empty the container straight into your green bin
  • Use certified compostable bin liners in your kitchen caddy (visit Lining Your Caddy for more information).
  • Keep your green bin in the shade with the lid closed at all times (except when in use)
  • Put your green bin out for collection every time, even if it isn’t full 

More information: Tips for reducing smells from caddy and green waste bin 

Can I line my kitchen caddy?

Yes. You could use old newspaper (1 or 2 sheets only), paper towel or even dry leaves to line your caddy. You can even place food waste loose in your caddy and in your food and garden waste bin.

If you would prefer to use compostable liners, you will need 8-litre liners that are certified compostable - look for this logo:

Australian Standard for compostability AS4736 logo

More information: Lining your caddy

I already compost or have a worm farm. Do I need to put food scraps in the food and garden waste bin instead?

You can continue composting your food scraps at home. Any food you do not currently compost (such as meat, seafood, bones, citrus, dairy products) can go in your food and garden waste bin, so you can further reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill.

Do I have to recycle my food waste?

Sending food waste to landfill harms the environment. When food breaks down in landfill, it releases methane gas and contributes to climate change. Putting food in your food and garden waste (green) bin is one of the best, and simplest, ways we can work together to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and lower the impact of climate change.

It is up to you whether you compost your food waste, put food scraps in your food and garden waste bin, or continue to put them in your landfill (red lid) bin.

If you aren’t sure about recycling food waste, you can start small by putting fruit and vegetable peelings, bread and eggshells in your food and garden waste bin. As you become more confident, you can then add meat, bones and cooked leftovers. 

I don’t have a food and garden waste bin - can I still recycle food waste?

You can recycle food waste at home by starting a compost bin or worm farm.

Find out more: Composting at home

If you don’t want to compost at home, you can request a food and garden waste bin. 

For more information, please see Request a new or additional bin

I have requested a food and garden waste bin - when will I get it?

When we receive your request for a food and garden waste bin, we will need to make sure you have adequate storage and collection access. Depending on your housing situation, we may also need to chat with your body corporate or landlord (where applicable).

If your request is approved, we will deliver a food and garden waste bin and kitchen caddy to you within 5 working days of approving your request.

Can I get an additional bin?

Yes, you can request a 240-litre food and garden waste bin. Please note: there are costs for extra bins.  

For more information, please see: Request a new or additional bin

Can I downsize my landfill (red lid) bin?

The smallest bin size available for landfill is 120L. If you have a 240L lanfill (red lid) bin and no longer need this size, contact 9518 3555 or

If your landfill bin isn’t full on bin night, you don’t need to put it out for collection. We recommend only putting your landfill bin out for collection when it is full, or if it contains smelly items (such as nappies or pet waste).

Can kindergartens or schools get a food and garden waste bin for food waste?

We hope to provide food waste recycling to schools, kindergartens and childcare centres soon. If you are interested in recycling food waste at your school or early childhood centre, please email

Can businesses request a food and garden waste bin for food waste?

Food waste recycling is currently only available to households. If you would like to discuss food waste recycling options at your business, please email

I have more questions

We’re here to help you recycle your food and garden waste. If you have more questions, contact us on 9518 3555 or at