Kerbside Recycling

Kerbside recycling is one of our primary services across the South Coast. Recycling is vital, and it all begins with you.

Collected across the region, your plastic, glass, cardboard, paper, and more are brought to the recycling factory in Bomaderry. There, the items are sorted and divided efficiently by a smart system of magnets, trommels, and other tools. Quality control is assured by highly trained staff members who oversee the process. Once fully sorted into usable product categories, they are compressed and then sent towards waiting manufacturers or others who will use the materials to create items of all kinds.

What Can Be Recycled?

  • Cardboard & paper
  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles and jars (no lids)
  • Detergent and shampoo bottles with a recycling symbol on the bottom
  • Plastic soda bottles composed with PET
  • Steel cans
  • Aerosol cans

 Do NOT Recycle:

  • Windows, mirrors, or broken glass
  • Paper contaminated by food products
  • Plastic bags
  • Ceramics or crockery/cookware
  • Light globes or tubes
  • Scrap metal
  • Building materials
  • Waxed paper or waxed cardboard
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic coated paper
  • Gummed labels
  • Syringes/needles
  • Food scraps
  • Clothing (instead, donate to charity shops)
  • Carbon paper or thermal fax paper
  • Gummed labels
  • Scrap metal
  • Fuel or oil

For more information on what can be recycled, please call our Council’s Waste and Recycling Hotline 4429 3374.

Commercial pickup is also available for businesses and organisations needing responsible disposal of their specific wastes. Contact Shoalhaven Recycling for further details.

Kerbside Recycling

Kerbside Recycling Process

Kerbside Recycling in the Shoalhaven – how does it work?

Shoalhaven City Council collects over 12 million kg of recyclable material annually via the yellow lid kerbside recycling service.

The bins are emptied by a contractor, SUEZ, who transports the materials to a recycling centre or Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Bomaderry. The MRF is owned by a company called Shoalhaven Recycling.

The materials are sorted and baled, then on-sold to several different recycling plants, depending on market conditions. These outlets are located both in Australia eg Australian Recycled Plastics in western NSW, and overseas eg Hong Kong and Malaysia. From here, the plastics are processed to create “Flake” and “Pellets” which is the form acceptable by manufacturers to make into new plastic products.

Sending material offshore

The process for Shoalhaven Recycling to send baled, recyclable product overseas is complex.  Australia has a highly regulated Customs Service maintaining rigorous controls to minimise risks and many international markets are also subject to similar rigorous controls.

Shoalhaven Recycling is required to take photos of: 1) the empty container, 2) the container partially filled, 3) the container fully loaded, 4) the load with one container door closed with the container information displayed, and 5) the shipping seal with the doors closed.  Details of product type, number of bales loaded, point of departure and final destination must also be supplied. Random inspections are carried out at the point of destination.


At the sorting facility in Bomaderry, staff have to sort through the incorrect material that is placed in the recycling bin eg nappies, garden waste, soft plastics (plastic film and plastic bags) and a myriad of other items of garbage. This incorrect material (or “contamination” as it is known in the industry) accounts for 8% of incoming loads and is sent to landfill, at a cost to Shoalhaven Recycling who pay the same landfill rates as the rest of the community.

Contamination in recycling degrades the recyclable product, lowering its value. It is contamination globally, not just from Australia, that enacted the “China Sword” policy.

When China flagged to the rest of the world that it would be closing its doors to recycling from other countries, Councils and the recycling industry as a whole, urged both State and Federal Governments to fund innovation, infrastructure and plastics recycling initiatives on our home shores utilising the waste levy money collected from Councils. To date, no significant investment has been made into long-term local solutions to the recycling crisis.

In summary

  • no recyclables collected in the Shoalhaven are sent to landfill.  There is no incentive to landfill due to landfill costs
  • Residents should continue to separate their waste and use the yellow lid recycling bin. We still rely on a clean and high quality recyclable product in the yellow bin to market to recyclers.
  • The decision by China to no longer accept recycling materials from foreign countries has created an opportunity for the Australian government to invest in building domestic recycling and reprocessing capacity as well as building market demand for recycled product.
  • A strong domestic manufacturing and re-processing industry means more jobs for Australians
  • Manufacturers need to be incentivised to use recycled content and the government needs to provide the impetus for this to happen as well as work directly with those manufacturers seeking to develop solutions to single-use packaging
  • Waste management, recycling and resource recovery in all its formats, is a shared responsibility among manufacturers, industry, governments, and community.
  • We still need community to think about their choices, avoid purchasing waste in the first place, particularly single use plastic and be encouraged to purchase goods made of recycled content.

More information

Shoalhaven City Council urges residents to keep recycling properly to reduce pressure on our natural, finite resources. If you are confused about what can/cannot go in the bin, check out this handy reference guide. More information about your yellow lid kerbside recycling bin in the Shoalhaven is available on the Council website here.

More information about the Recycling industry response to the China Sword and demand for re-investment can be found here

Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) is the national peak body for the waste and resource recovery. Their response to the recent 60 Minutes program on recycling can be found here


Incorrect materials placed in the yellow recycling bin

Export recyclables

Images required to export product overseas

Contact Shoalhaven Recycling Today

Have a few questions about our services or want to learn more?