The reuse, recycling, treatment and disposal options for waste depend on the waste type and its characteristics.
This section provides information on what can be done with specific waste types, including specific collection programs that are offered to deal with waste
South Australia is a national leader in resource recovery. For more information on South Australia’s current and past resource recovery activity, see South Australia’s Recycling Activity reports.
Solid waste includes 3 main categories based on where it originates from:
- Municipal solid waste (eg council kerbside collected waste).
- Commercial and industrial waste (eg waste from businesses, offices, restaurants, etc)
- Construction and demolition waste (eg waste from construction or demolition of buildings and infrastructure)
Within each of these broad categories there are varying waste types. Each waste type poses different risks and opportunities and requires different management.
Hazardous solid waste
Some solid waste (such as chemicals, asbestos and e-waste) presents risks to the environment and human health. Such wastes are categorised as hazardous waste and are not suitable for collection through regular solid waste collection services.
More information on hazardous waste further on this page.
Organic wastes, such as garden waste, are a valuable reusable resource. These can be placed in green kerbside bins and used to create mulch or compost.
Other organic wastes, such as food scraps, paper and animal poo, can also be placed in green kerbside bins in certain council areas for composting. Please see the WhichBin website, or check with your council for further information.
Household metal waste such as empty food, drink, aerosol, oil and paint containers can be placed in kerbside recycling bins.
Operators receiving more than 100 tonnes of scrap metal annually may be subject to licensing under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
A licence is also required for commercial operators who treat scrap metal in any type of fuel-burning equipment or electrically heated furnaces, or disintegration by mechanical means for recovery of metal.
Soil and fill
The recovery and reuse of soil and fill materials is a major component of resource recovery activities in South Australia.
The EPA has developed the Standard for the production and use of Waste Derived Fill under the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010 in order to ensure that waste soil and fill materials produced for waste (referred to as waste derived fill) are safe and do not present a risk to human health or the environment.
Key components of the standard are that:
- the use be for a beneficial purpose (rather than a means of disposal),
- the risk of harm to the environment or human health is prevented or minimised, and
- the materials meet a defined specification that is suitable for the proposed use.
It is important that the requirements of the standard are followed when reusing waste soil or fill materials produced from waste, otherwise the material may be considered to be waste and any use of that material may constitute unlawful disposal (eg illegal dumping).
Whole tyres are banned from disposal to landfill in South Australia. This is because the tyres do not compact and can flex back to the surface after burial. For more information on drop-off locations for used tyres, please see the WhichBin website.
Waste tyres stored in large quantities can present a fire hazard and harbour disease vectors such as mosquitoes and vermin. The storage or processing of tyres may require licensing under the Environment Protection Act 1993 depending on their scale or the operation.
The EPA encourages the reuse and recycling of waste tyres in preference to disposal where sound beneficial options exist.
For more information regarding recycling options for used tyres and regulatory requirements, please refer to the Waste tyres guideline.
Liquid waste is defined based on the assessment process set out in the guideline Liquid waste classification test.
EPA approval may be required for liquid wastes to be used in a sustainable manner for irrigation or other beneficial purposes. Liquids not suitable for this reuse must go to sewer (with SA Water approval) or taken to a liquid waste treatment facility.
Septic tank wastes may be disposed/reused in accordance with the Septage management guideline.
Liquid wastes are banned from disposal to landfill under the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010.
For advice regarding the handling and disposal of chemicals, please look up Hazardous waste.
If you have commercial quantities of waste oil to be disposed, contact an appropriate company in the Yellow Pages under 'Waste oil'.
Householders can bring their waste oil to the free dropoff depots in metro Adelaide.
For more information about recycling waste oil and a list of depots, visit Which Bin.
Septage is the product of periodic desludging of a septic tank. The EPA’s preference is for septage to be taken to a facility that is authorised to receive that material (such as a wastewater treatment plant with a biosolids depot). However, where it is not reasonably practicable to take septage to such a facility, septage can be applied to land as a beneficial soil additive.
The Septage management guideline aids operators in minimising the risk of adverse impacts on the land, water and air when applying septage to land and assists industry in meeting their general environmental duty under the Environment Protection Act 1993. The environmental obligations of waste transporters and landowners are clarified by clearly defining mandatory obligations (musts in the guideline).
The EPA reminds persons seeking to undertake this activity to first confirm whether any other approvals from the local planning authority, council, or other authority are required.
Effective wastewater management is an important consideration for many businesses, industries and communities.
Wastewater management includes the segregation, collection, treatment, storage, reuse and disposal of wastewater.
Improper wastewater management (eg overflows, poor infrastructure maintenance, insufficient treatment, over-irrigation and inadequate lagoon lining) can lead to surface and groundwater pollution. The lack of adequate treatment prior to storage or irrigation could also lead to odour generation.
The Environment Protection Water Quality Policy 2015 imposes an obligation on certain activities to incorporate an effective wastewater management system.
Hazardous wastes can be harmful to the environment or human health if stored, used or disposed of improperly.
Most hazardous wastes are banned from disposal to landfill under the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010. Specific advice on certain types of hazardous waste is provided below.
Paint, varnish, sealants and adhesives which have solidified can be disposed of in normal rubbish.
Many hazardous wastes can be brought to the Household Chemicals and Paint Drop-off Centres.
For more information on what types of household hazardous waste can be accepted, check out the Which Bin website.
Hazardous wastes include…
Paints, pesticides, waste oils, cleaners, solvents, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, degreasers and other car care products, batteries and polishes.
Schedule 1 of the Environment Protection Act 1993 defines hazardous chemicals which are considered to be ‘listed wastes’. Many activities producing listed waste are required to be licensed by the EPA.
Activities producing listed waste which are not required to be licensed (including listed waste from domestic activities) must still comply with specific requirements under the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010. These requirements are that:
- if the listed waste is removed by a waste transporter, you must ensure that the transporter is authorised to transport that kind of waste.
- you must take reasonable steps to ensure that the waste is transported to an appropriate licensed or approved depot.
Check out Asbestos SA for information on finding and identifying asbestos, what to do with it, how to remove it and where to put it for residential settings and workplaces.
The EPA is primarily responsible for the regulation of asbestos transport and disposal. Check out the Asbestos disposal fact sheet for further information.
Safe asbestos handling and disposal are also managed by agencies such as SafeWork SA, SA Health, Local Government Association and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.
Further information is available in the guideline Wastes containing asbestos – removal, transport and disposal.
Advice for households
If you're thinking of renovating an old property, you should seek advice from councils and other building advisory organisations before commencing any work to determine the potential risk of the materials on the property.
For health and safety reasons, removal of friable asbestos-containing material should only be undertaken by a licensed asbestos removalist.
Households removing and transporting non-friable asbestos for disposal must follow the guideline Wastes containing asbestos – removal, transport and disposal.
Households can dispose of asbestos at specific metropolitan and country transfer stations or waste depots. It is recommended that you contact your local transfer station or waste depot for advice on disposal requirements.
Asbestos can be taken to landfills but it must be wrapped in manageable-sized packages in thick (200-micron) plastic, and taped at the seams. Large hardware stores or building suppliers should sell this type of plastic.
Pieces of asbestos material and some fibres remaining in the ash may present a risk if disturbed during the clean up after a fire. Advice is available to handle fire-damaged asbestos.
Waste transfer depots
Metropolitan residents should contact the following transfer stations or waste depots about any asbestos they wish to dispose of.
|D & V Services||Cheviot Road, Salisbury South||(08) 8283 2700|
|Southern Waste Depot (also accepts friable asbestos)||Main South Road, Maslins Beach||(08) 8386 2212|
|Metro Waste Services Transfer Station||Murray Street, Thebarton||(08) 8443 8827|
|Newton Transfer Station||Virginia Road, Newton||1300 362 362|
|Onkaparinga Waste & Recycling||Harrison Road, Woodside||(08) 8389 7561|
|Heathfield Waste Transfer Station||Scott Creek Road, Heathfield||(08) 8339 4323|
|Integrated Waste Services Transfer Station||Cnr Hines and Wingfield Road, Wingfield||(08) 8243 2644|
Country residents should contact the following waste depots.
|Adelaide Hills Recycling||Callington Road, Strathalbyn||(08) 8536 3600|
|Alexandrina Council||Victor Harbor-Goolwa Road, Goolwa||(08) 8555 7000|
|Ceduna, DC of||Ten Chain Road, Ceduna||(08) 8625 3407|
|Coober Pedy, DC of||Oodnadatta Road, Coober Pedy||(08) 8672 5298|
|Flinders Ranges Council||Kingswood Bore Road, Quorn||(08) 8648 6031|
|Gambier Earthmovers||Telfords Quarry Bay Road, Mount Gambier||(08) 8725 4093|
|Inkerman Cleanaway (not open to public; for commercial loads only)||Primes Road, Inkerman||(08) 8867 1355|
|Kangaroo Island Council||North Coast Road, Kingscote||(08) 8553 4534|
|Loxton−Waikerie, DC of||Mackey Road, Loxton||(08) 8584 7221|
|Mid Murray Council||Gerschwitz Road, Cambrai||(08) 8564 6020|
|Mount Gambier, City of||Eucalypt Drive, Mount Gambier||(08) 8271 2555|
|Naracoorte and Lucindale, DC of||Blackwell Road, Naracoorte||(08) 8760 1100|
|Peterborough, DC of||Yatina Road, Peterborough||(08) 8651 3566|
|Port Augusta, DC of||Western Plains Road, Port Augusta||(08) 8641 9100|
|Port Lincoln, City of||Hassell Road, Port Lincoln||(08) 8682 3033|
|Port Pirie Regional Council||Three Chain Road, Port Pirie||(08) 8633 9777|
|Streaky Bay, DC of||Flinders Highway, Streaky Bay||(08) 8626 1001|
|Whyalla, City of||Iron Knob Road, Whyalla||(08) 8640 3444|
|Yorke Peninsula, DC of||Dump Road, Ramsay||(08) 8832 0000|
Chemicals are generally considered to be hazardous waste and are prohibited from disposal to landfill.
The SA Government operates a number of free drop-off depots in metro Adelaide for household chemical waste.
For more information and a list of depots, visit the Which Bin website.
The ChemClear Program, is a national chemical collection and disposal service for agricultural and veterinary chemicals that have become unwanted or surplus to requirements.
Hobby farmers and primary producers should utilise this service to ensure good farm management practices and cleaner, safer land use practices.
DrumMuster is a national program for the collection and recycling of eligible, cleaned non-returnable crop production and on-farm animal health chemical containers.
Persons wishing to safely dispose of such containers should ensure these are empty, triple rinsed and delivered to the nearest collection centre.
The EPA provides advice on bushfire-affected and burnt chemicals.
E-waste can contain hazardous materials including heavy metals and glass which if broken or damaged pose an unacceptable environmental hazard.
E-waste can be readily recycled (including 90% of what is used to make televisions and computers), saving valuable, finite resources.
Since September 2013, e-waste has been banned from direct landfill disposal across all of South Australia under the under the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010.
Banned from landfill
|Televisions, computers and accessories – monitors, laptops, mice, keyboards, remote controls
|Whitegoods – fridges, washing machines, driers, dish washers
|Mercury containing lighting – compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), high intensity discharge bulbs (HID), neon/argon lamps
|Large household appliances – electric radiators, air conditioners, electric fans|
|Small household appliances – vacuum cleaners, carpet sweepers, irons, electric knives, electric shavers|
|IT and telecommunications equipment – mainframes, copying equipment, telephones|
|Consumer equipment – radios, video cameras, DVD/VCR/CD players and recorders, speakers|
|Electrical and electronic tools – sewing machines, drills, saws, welding tools, electric mowers and tools for other gardening activities|
|Toys, leisure and sports equipment – electric trains or car racing sets, hand-held video game consoles, sports equipment with electric or electronic components|
|Automatic dispensers – for drinks or food|
Fluorescent lighting is banned from direct disposal to landfill and must not be placed in any household bin.
Householders can recycle fluorescent lighting (eg CFLs). Refer to Which Bin to help find your local recycling points.
Medical waste is a listed waste under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
Hospitals with more than 40 beds and pathology laboratories are required to be licensed.
Persons transporting medical waste for fee or reward are required to be licensed as waste transporters.
Doctors, dentists, veterinarians and nursing homes do not require licensing. However, the production and handling of medical waste is regulated the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010. Medical waste must be:
- stored in appropriate containers and clearly labelled
- disposed of as soon as possible
- disposed of by incineration (or another method approved by the EPA)
- collected for disposal by a council or licensed waste transport authorised to collect and transport medical waste.
Medical waste is prohibited from disposal to landfill.
Medical, quarantine and pharmaceutical wastes generally require incineration to ensure the safest and least harmful disposal possible. Currently there is only one commercial operator providing this service. For more information, please contact us at (08) 8204 2004 or email.
Household medical waste
Household medical wastes such as band-aids, bandages, contact lens and cotton buds can be disposed on in the household general waste bin.
Other medical waste, such as expired medicines can be taken to your local chemist for disposal.
The disposal of medical sharps is banned from kerbside waste bins due to the hazard this present to waste management employees. Members of the public can contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service for details of their nearest sharps disposal outlet.
The most common type of smoke alarm uses a small amount of radioactive material americium-241 as the method for detection of smoke and other combustion products.
The small amount of americium used, its radiation properties, and chemical and physical form, ensure that its use in smoke alarms does not constitute a hazard to people or the environment.
Domestic smoke alarms
All states and territories of Australia now permit the public to dispose of smoke alarms in domestic waste. Up to 2 smoke alarms cab be disposed during any period of 7 days.
Commercial smoke alarms
Some smoke alarms used in commercial or industrial applications contain a different type or greater amount of radioactive material than domestic smoke alarms, and may not be suitable for disposal in domestic waste. Advice on the disposal of commercial or industrial smoke alarms should be sought from the Radiation Protection Branch.