Dealing with Bulky Waste: Strategies for Disposing of Large Items in Residential Areas

Dealing with bulky waste requires more than just tossing it in a bin. While Sydney’s rubbish removal services have recognised this need for a long time, residents need to implement responsible disposal practices within the home as well. This means understanding the differences between specific types of bulky waste and choosing the proper disposal method. 

The New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency identifies several pollution streams from improper landfill disposal. Fortunately, with a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” approach and growing environmental awareness, we can mitigate these issues and contribute positively to Australia’s natural world. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Bulky Waste

Correctly disposing of bulky waste is one of the trickiest parts of proper waste management. Although some companies do rubbish removal in Sydney, few are willing to tackle the difficulties posed by bulky waste. 

Bulky waste is “items too large to be taken by regular waste management facilitators.” Many larger household items – including certain hazardous items – fall under the “bulky waste” category of waste disposal. 

  •   Furniture
  •   Appliances
  •   Construction Materials (wood, concrete, siding, plasterboard, etc.)
  •   Batteries (car, household)
  •   Electronics (computers, laptops, televisions, stereo systems, etc.) 

Unfortunately, living in an urbanised, residential neighbourhood sometimes means that Sydney’s council rubbish removal services aren’t available when you need them. Or, the collection times are limited by the municipality, so you can end up stuck storing bulky waste items in your garage, taking up much-needed space. 

This can also lead to the unfortunate scourge of illegal dumping – where individuals dump their bulky waste and other hazardous materials outside of the confines of a landfill, causing further damage to the environment. Be aware that the Government of New South Wales hands out hefty fines for anyone caught illegally dumping hazardous or bulky waste.

Responsible Disposal Strategies 

To combat the illegal disposal of household waste, and combat the mounting problems of over-flowing landfills, you need to adopt a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” methodology concerning waste disposal. Here are some strategies to implement when encountering bulky waste you’re unsure how to dispose of. 

The first question you should ask is whether the material can be used, recycled, or donated. For example, clothing can be donated to a local shelter or charity. Or, large furniture items in good condition can be donated to a family in need or sold for cheap. 

Other recyclables can include small household batteries (taken to a proper facility) and certain plastics. Contact your nearest recycling or Sydney rubbish removal service, like Cheapest Load of Rubbish, to see how best to dispose of whatever plastics you have. 

Certain construction materials, such as wood, could be donated to a local woodworking artist or reconfigured/cut down to make something new for your home. Scroll through Pinterest for ideas! Similarly, if you’re disposing of certain plain, undamaged metals, see if a local metalsmith might be interested in purchasing your waste metals. 

Unfortunately, not everything is salvageable and some things do need to be disposed of properly as bulky waste, either by your local municipality, or a waste management company that does rubbish removal in Sydney. These items are typically large appliances like fridges, freezers, ovens, washing machines. Construction materials like plasterboard, screws or nails, vehicles, and vehicle parts also fall under “bulk waste”.

Council Collection Services

No matter where you live in Australia, your local council will offer collection services for bulky waste. Below is a guide (by state) to collection services offered. 

  •   New South Wales operates a free bulky waste collection once per year, although these do not include commercial waste or construction-based waste. This does not include hazardous materials, such as chemicals or paints. 
  •   The Government of Queensland has different regulations concerning the removal of general household waste, including recycling programs and disposal of chemical waste products. 
  •   The Government of Victoria has leaned into the Circular Economy theory of waste disposal and has crafted legislation surrounding that theory, providing four new streams of recycling methods, in a bid to reduce landfill waste. This includes providing $34.9M over three years for an improved recycling infrastructure. 
  •   South Australia provides collections of regular household waste and provides refunds of 10-cents per unit for recyclable bottles and cans, as well as other types of recyclable containers. They also have drop-off depots for paints and hazardous waste. Local councils in South Australia have different regulations. Check your local area before disposing! 
  •   Similarly, Western Australia provides landfill levies for individuals seeking to get rid of their household waste – $85.00/tonne. However, they also provide construction and demolition goods collection, recycling, and food and garden organics kerbside collection services. This is a part of their Waste Avoidance and Recovery 2030 plan. 
  •   The Tasmanian Government has also implemented Circular Economy protocols in their waste management and encourages residents to recycle wherever possible. The Tasmanian Government has also constructed a Waste & Resource Management Strategy. 
  •   The Northern Territory and City of Darwin offer residential bin collections for household waste and recycling. Shoal Bay Transfer Station is a service provided by the NT Government, via a contractor, for hazardous waste management and disposal in the City of Darwin.


Recycling & Repurposing Opportunities 

Many recycling and repurposing opportunities exist for specific bulky items, such as mattresses, electronics and certain construction materials. 

Residents in the ACT, WA and NSW can drop off their mattress at a mattress recycling facility, for a fee. Similarly, electronics can be recycled on your doorstep, or taken to an e-waste facility

To avoid paying waste levies, residents of New South Wales can recycle many of the materials from their household renovation and deconstruction! To learn more, view this information booklet by the Government of New South Wales.

Disposal Regulations & Legal Considerations 

Wherever you live in New South Wales, you’ll have to abide by the disposal regulations of your council. Three acts under the Law govern Sydney residents. 

Potential penalties for violations of federal, state or local by-laws vary, but for residents of New South Wales, the fines imposed are: 

  •   $7500 on-the-spot fine for an individual for illegal dumping if issued by the EPA.
  •   $4000 on-the-spot fine for an individual for illegal dumping if issued by NSW Police.
  •   $1,000,000 fine and/or a 7-year prison sentence for individuals for willful disposal of waste causing actual or likely harm to the environment.
  •   $500,000 fine and/or a 4-year prison sentence for individuals for negligent disposal of waste causing actual or likely harm to the environment. 

It is really not worth dumping illegally when plenty of alternative waste disposal methods are easily available.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives 

As our awareness of climate change and its effects on our lives become more evident, Governments regionally and nationally are pushing for citizens to be more mindful of their waste management practices. When it comes to bulky item disposal, rather than throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water, think about how you might reuse, repurpose or upcycle your bulky waste items. 

For example: let your kids create castles of their dreams with those leftover cardboard boxes! Use your leftover bricks from your home renovation as micro-green planters. Use that old pallet wood to create pallet wood furniture. 

Of course, for those goods you simply cannot upcycle, contact your nearest Sydney rubbish removal experts to help you safely dispose of that waste.

Community Resources & Events 

Know what your resources are around you! Research your local recycling centres. Be sure to take a tour if they offer them – bring the kids along to promote environmental consciousness in them! Participate in beach clean-ups. 

As the saying goes: “It takes a village.” And as this is our planet and our country, we all are responsible for its long-term environmental health and well-being.

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