Where your waste goes

Have you ever wondered what happens to your waste and recycling?


After collection, the garbage trucks deliver their loads to the Clyde Transfer Terminal, where the waste is compacted and loaded into rail containers. Each container can fit approximately 10 garbage truck loads of waste inside.

The containers of waste are then transported by rail to Veolia's Eco Precinct at Woodlawn (near Goulburn). 

Not all our general waste is going directly to landfill though. Some of Ku-ring-gai's waste is now sent for further processing to separate metals and organics.

It takes approximately 3-4 months of treatment to turn the organic waste from the waste bin into a basic compost. This material is being used to remediate parts of the Woodlawn mine site. This process is called mechanical biological treatment of waste (MBT).

To assist in this process it is important make sure that any item you place in your waste bin is under 1m in length. Long stringy items get tangled in the machinery which can hinder the process. Items that are problematic include hoses, ropes and textiles.

The remaining inorganic or residual waste following the waste processing is then sent to the bioreactor landfill. A bioreactor landfill speeds up the decomposition process of buried waste and captures the landfill gases. The gases are then converted into green electricity which is fed back into the power grid.

Waste processing information graphic(PDF, 2MB)

More on MBT waste processing


After collection the paper and mixed containers are delivered to Visy Recycling at Smithfield. At the Visy MRF (materials recycling facility) the recyclables are sorted into material types as they move along a conveyor belt. The sorting is done by hand and machines. Visy Recycling also manufactures new products using recycled materials here in Australia.

Ku-ring-gai Council partners with Visy to ensure your recycling is being recycled. Your recycling is part of this bigger picture Visy Recycling fact sheet NSW May 2023(PDF, 396KB).

More information Visy Recycling.


Strong jets of air are used to separate plastics from the other mixed containers before being sorted further into three categories PET (eg. drink bottles); HDPE (eg. milk bottles); and 'plastics other' (eg. ice cream cartons, margarine tubs). The PET & HDPE sorted plastics are then compressed, shredded and washed before being melted, cooled and chopped into small granules which can be spun into fibres to make new plastics. The 'other' plastics are baled and sold as mixed plastics.


Glass is sorted by hand or using optical sorters. Optical sorters can sort pieces of glass as small as a fingernail into colour type. There are three main colour types - green, brown and clear. Blue glass is recycled with green glass. After initial sorting, the glass is then crushed and cleaned to form a product called ‘cullet’. The cullet is crushed again and melted in a furnace at 1500°C. The molten glass is then poured into moulds to become new jars and bottles.

Steel & Aluminium

Cans are sorted using a giant magnet. They are then squashed into blocks and taken to a smelter, where they are shredded, removed of any paint and heated to 700°C in a furnace to form a liquid. The liquid is poured into moulds and solidified into blocks, which are sent to rolling mills where they can be flattened and turned into new cans.


Paper is sorted into three categories: newsprint, cardboard and mixed paper. It is then compressed into a bale for transporting. Once it arrives at the paper mill it is then mixed with water to form pulp. Air is passed through the pulp to produce a foam which removes ink, or chemicals are used to separate the ink, which is then washed away. The pulp is poured onto a wire screen to drain and form a sheet, which is sent through heavy rollers which dry and straighten the paper. The paper is finally turned into rolls, ready to become new paper products.

Green Waste

Greenwaste is delivered to Cleanaway Belrose transfer station. From Belrose the green waste is transported to Eastern Creek or Lucas Heights where it is shredded and composted.

The end products are mulch and soil conditioners. This process takes approximately 20 weeks.

Food waste is not permitted in green waste bins. Please home compost/worm farm all food waste or alternatively place in the general waste bin.