Three Bin System

About the three bin system

The City of Cockburn is rolling out a garden waste bin program to all residential properties over 400m2 in the next few years. This will complement your existing yellow-lidded 240L recycling bin.

Your existing 240L general waste bin will have its lid changed from dark green to lime green and it will then become your garden waste bin. You will be supplied with a new 140L red-lidded bin for your general household waste.

This project is funded by the State Government through the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Account, and administered by the Waste Authority.

The video below explains more about how the three bin system works and why it is being introduced across the City. It is captioned but a transcript of the video is also available at the bottom of this page.

Three bin system FAQs

Why are we rolling out a three bin system?

"Source separation" is the most effective waste management tool for reducing waste processing costs and increasing recycling rates. A third bin will allow garden waste to be separated out from the general waste stream to be processed into high quality mulch. This strategy will result in significant economic benefits for the City.

How will a third bin reduce contamination?

Green waste is currently put into the dark green-lidded general waste bin, along with other general household waste. This is sent to the Regional Resource Recovery Centre where it is processed into low-quality compost. This has no commercial value; it cannot be sold as it is contaminated with plastic, glass, metal and other items.

By separating out green waste into a different bin, the City will be able to reduce contamination levels. The mulch produced from this green waste can then be used to create high quality compost.

Who will get a garden waste bin?
All residential properties over 400m2 will receive a new lime green-lidded garden waste bin as these properties are likely to have gardens with significant amounts of green waste. Rural, multi residential, commercial and industrial properties are excluded from the roll out.
When will I receive my garden waste bin?

The garden waste bin program is being rolled out over four years. Following on from the Hamilton Hill trial in 2015-16, the timeline for the three bin system roll-out across the City is as presented in the following table (subject to change for operational reasons):

2016 / 2017 2017 / 2018 2018 / 2019 2019 / 2020
Rest of Hamilton Hill
Atwell (part of)
Bibra Lake
Cockburn Central (part of)
Coolbellup (part of)
Munster (part of)
North Coogee
North Lake
South Lake (part of)
Spearwood (part of)
Success (part of)
Beeliar (part of)
Cockburn Central (part of)
Coogee (part of)
Coolbellup (part of)
Munster (part of)
South Lake (part of)
Spearwood (part of)
Yangebup (part of)
Aubin Grove
Beeliar (part of)
Coogee (part of)
Hammond Park
Success (part of)
Yangebup (part of)
Why is it taking so long to complete the roll-out?

It will take four years to roll-out the full program. This is because the City will be undertaking significant community engagement to ensure that all residents understand how to use their bins correctly to ensure that there is no contamination in the garden waste bins. An education program will be implemented in each suburb which will include letters, door knocking and bin tagging. Bin tagging involves inspecting bins and tagging the bin with a thank you note or advice on which products have contaminated the respective bins.

Will this initiative cost more?
Residents will incur no extra charges for the three bin system. The three bin system will result in significant economic benefits for the City.
When will my bins get emptied?

Your red-lidded general waste and yellow-lidded recycling bins will be emptied on a weekly basis on your normal bin collection day. Your new lime green-lidded garden waste bin will be emptied fortnightly on the same day as your other bins. Before the roll-out takes place in your area, you will receive a calendar advising you of the dates that your garden waste bin will be collected.

Will I still get a green waste verge collection?

Yes, green waste verge collections will continue for the foreseeable future. This will be reviewed as the new system rolls out.

Will I still get my trailer passes for Henderson Waste Recovery Park?

Yes, there are no plans to change the issuing of six annual trailer passes to Cockburn ratepayers.

Will residential properties less than 400m2 be allowed a garden waste bin?

Those residential properties less than 400m2 may, by exception, request a garden waste bin if the City agrees that there is a sufficient garden size to justify this service.

My red-topped general waste bin is too small. Can I get a bigger one?

Bin audits carried out before the trial program was implemented showed that 31 per cent of the dark green-lidded general waste bins were filled with garden waste. The smaller general waste bin should be adequate after the green waste has been removed.

If you are struggling to reduce your general waste, please contact the City's Waste Education Officer who would be happy to visit you to provide some handy tips on how to increase recycling and decrease overall waste production. You could also consider getting a compost bin, Bokashi bin or worm farm to reduce the amount of food waste you need to put in your red-lidded bin. The City provides subsidies on these items.

How will I know when I'm getting my new garden waste bin?

You will receive a letter during the year that the third bin program will be introduced in your suburb. This will provide information about when your third bin will be delivered. You'll also receive a calendar to let you know when your bins will be collected. Around this time, you will also receive a visit from two of the City's Waste Education Officers to explain a little more about the new bin system and to drop off a free recycling tub and magnets. If you compost at home, you’ll also be able to collect a compost caddy (complete with compostable bags) from the Administration Centre – this can be used to collect your food scraps in the kitchen, ready to be placed in your compost bin or worm farm.

How do I use the recycling tub that will be provided?

The recycling tub is used to collect cleaned recyclable items which will eventually be placed in your yellow lidded bin. The tub has been provided to assist you in recycling more.

I don't need a garden waste bin. Can I opt out?
No, the garden waste bin will be rolled out to all residents with properties over 400m2.

What can I put in each of the bins

What can I place in my new lime green-lidded garden waste bin?

The contents of this bin are sent to Henderson Waste Recovery Park to be mulched. All organic garden waste (anything that grew in your garden) can be placed in this bin, including:

  • Grass clippings 
  • Weeds (including noxious)
  • Twigs and sticks
  • Prunings, cuttings and trimmings
  • Palm fronds
  • Tree nuts.
What can I place in my red-lidded food/general household waste bin?

The contents of this bin are sent to the Waste Composting Facility at the Regional Resource Recovery Centre where it is converted to compost. The following items can be disposed of in the red-lidded bin:

  • Food scraps
  • Items contaminated with food, such as paper towels, serviettes, tissues, paper plates, pizza boxes and fish and chip paper
  • Pet excrement 
  • Pet hair & fur
  • Nappies
  • Band-Aids
  • Soiled items
  • Shredded paper
  • Sanitary items
  • Cotton wool and cotton wool buds
  • Clothing that cannot be sent to charity.
What can I place in my yellow-lidded recycling bin?

The contents of this bin are sent to a Materials Recovery Facility where they are separated, baled and sent to be recycled. The following items can be placed in the yellow-lidded bin:

  • All plastics including cling wrap and plastic bags
  • All glass
  • Plastic bottles (empty with lids off)
  • Steel and aluminium cans
  • Aerosols (empty)
  • Cardboard, paper, newspapers, magazines
  • Pizza boxes with food scraps scraped off (if heavily contaminated with oil or food scraps, place in your general waste bin)
  • Chip, lolly and pie wrappers
  • Aluminium foil.

Please rinse and empty containers. Do not place items in bags, place them directly in the bin. Remove lids from all containers, bottles and jars before putting them in the bin.

What items do not belong in any of the bins?

Some items should not be placed into any of your bins, including:

  • Batteries, mobile phones, printer cartridges and light bulbs which must be dropped off at recycling points at our three libraries
  • Spray paint and chemicals need to be taken to the Henderson Waste Recovery Park
  • Good quality clothes that can be taken to charity shops, otherwise use the red topped bin.

More information and contact

Please contact the City’s Waste Education Officer for more information on the three bin system on 08 9411 3444 or at

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Related Documents

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Three Bin Video Transcript PDF document



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