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Recycling & reducing waste

There are many ways to reduce the waste delivered to City of Gold Coast landfills each day. Don't look at your waste as rubbish, but as a resource instead.

Changes are coming – we’re making plans for the future to reduce as much waste going to landfill as possible and help you maximise recycling. This will also save residents potential costs associated with the application of future State Government Waste Disposal Levy. 

Over the next three years the City will progressively roll out new bin sets and service collections – but don’t worry, change won’t start for some time yet and residents will be given plenty of time to adjust. While we make plans for the future, please continue to practice good waste and recycling separation – our future depends on it.

We have some useful tips on how you can easily reduce the waste you produce at home, work and play.

Man and woman discussing recycling waste options

We have a recycling business directory which can help you find the local businesses that recycle many unwanted materials either free or for a fee. Planet Ark also has two national recycling directories - Recycling near you (domestic recycling) and Business Recycling (commercial recycling). The directories have great information about materials you can recycle and reuse.

In an effort to make waste management charges simpler and easier to understand the City has changed the way we charge for commercial waste collection services. Please see the Commercial waste management page for more information on our waste management services.

State Government initiatives

See the sections below for more information about State Government waste and recycling initiatives.

Containers for Change program

The State Government Containers for Change program launched on 1 November 2018.

The introduction of the State-wide scheme provides our community with an opportunity to collect and return approved containers for recycling in exchange for a refund.

This will encourage:

  • a reduction in the amount of littered drink containers
  • increased recycling rates in Queensland.

Like other councils in Queensland, the City is supportive of this State Government initiative; however, collection depots will (generally) be run by private organisations who were awarded a contract via a tender-style process.

The program will also provide benefits to social enterprises, communities, and regional and remote areas by creating new job, recycling and fundraising opportunities.

Residents can continue to recycle bottles, cans and cartons in their yellow top recycle bins should they choose not to redeem a refund on eligible containers.

As part of our ongoing commitment to divert waste from landfill, we contract recyclers such as the Endeavour Foundation to recover re-saleable goods from our landfills and recycling drop-offs.

For more details or frequently asked questions, please visit the Containers for Change website.

Waste Disposal Levy

The Queensland State Government introduced a Waste Disposal Levy (Waste Levy) on 1 July 2019.

The introduction of the Waste Levy underpins a new waste management and resource recovery strategy being developed by the Queensland Government. The strategy minimises waste being sent to landfills and diverts recoverable items for recycling.

The Waste Levy will apply to all types of waste, with some exemptions, and will consist of a $75 per tonne increase in waste disposal costs.

The Waste Levy will apply to all businesses, organisations and commercial operators who generate waste and dispose of waste in Queensland, either directly or through service providers.

The Queensland Government has committed to ensuring the levy has no direct impact on households. To deliver this, councils will receive annual payments to offset the costs of the Waste Levy on Municipal Solid Waste.

Not-for-profit groups are encouraged to apply for a Waste Levy exemption through the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO).

There are many Queensland households who have commercial waste collection services which are not covered by this arrangement. Some examples may include caravan parks, manufactured home parks, retirement villages, boarding houses, crisis accommodation, gated communities and rural residents with commercial bulk-waste arrangements. To ensure all households are not directly impacted by the levy, the department has developed a Household Waste Payment Scheme to offset the cost of the levy for residents in these types of accommodation. Proprietors are required to apply on behalf of eligible households under their proprietorship.

Click here for further information, or to make an application to the Household Waste Payment Scheme.

Explore all avenues to ensure you are ‘Waste Levy ready’. You may be eligible for:

  • a commercial food waste recycling service
  • an appropriate size recycling bin to recycle as much as possible
  • amending your service requirements – reduce your financial impact by ensuring you are not being over-serviced
  • search our recycling business directory to help you find local waste recycling facilities and businesses that can accept or collect your unwanted items for recycling
  • contact ecoBiz - a free program which helps businesses to reduce their energy, water and waste costs.

For more information, please see the frequently asked questions below or visit the Queensland State Government’s website.

The waste to landfill levy contribution made by commercial entities is calculated by the City as:

  • Waste Levy contribution (annual cost) = Average weight in tonnes x Number of weekly collections x Levy x 52 weeks

Example: A customer’s bin capacity is 240 litres; the average weight of 240 litre bins is just over 15kg (0.01502 tonne). The bin is collected 3 times a week and the levy is $75 per tonne. The calculation is:

  • Waste Levy contribution (annual cost) = (240 /1000 x 0.0626) x 3 x $75 x 52 = $175.78

It is essential for businesses to review and amend their service requirements to avoid unnecessary costs associated with the Waste Levy. For assistance, please contact our Waste Collections team on 07 5582 9399 or email

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