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Green bin efforts in Lake Mac not going to waste

Aerial view of the REMONDIS food organics garden organics facility at Awaba

Lake Mac residents have emerged as some of the best food and green waste recyclers in Australia, saving the equivalent of 1,100 humpback whales’ worth of scraps and cuttings from landfill over the past financial year.


New Lake Macquarie City Council data shows crews collected 44,000 tonnes of food and garden organics from over 85,000 households’ green bins in 2021-22, delivering it to a processing facility at Awaba.

With the average humpback whale weighing in at 40 tonnes, the annual total of recycled organics equated to 1,100 of the marine mammals.

Waste Strategy Coordinator Hal Dobbins said all of it was converted into compost for landscaping and agricultural use.

“We estimate residents are diverting almost 60 per cent of all domestic food waste through the green bin,” he said.

“That of course means there’s still 40 per cent going to landfill, so there is definitely room for improvement, but we’re actually one of the best-performing cities in NSW.”

By comparison, only 30 per cent of the 43 NSW councils with the same green bin service recover more than half of their domestic food waste.

Lake Mac residents also punch above their weight when it comes to placing the right items in the green bin, with a significantly lower rate of contamination than the NSW average.

Treated timber, rocks, rubble, garbage, plastic bags and kitty litter were the items most commonly disposed of incorrectly in the green bin.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser congratulated residents on the positive result.

“I think it shows that the vast majority of residents have embraced our three-bin system and want to do what they can to stop waste unnecessarily going to landfill,” she said.

“Getting even more food waste out of the red bin and into the green bin continues to be a focus area for Council, and we’ll continue to work towards this goal.”

Go to for more information about what can and can’t go in the green bin.

Hal Dobbins inspects the compost stockpile at Awaba


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