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Wollongong City Council

Problem Waste

Some types of waste are difficult to get rid of responsibly, like chemicals, asbestos and medical waste.

Below are some tips on how to deal with common types of problem waste.

If your house was built before 1990, there’s a good chance it contains asbestos somewhere. Common places you might find asbestos include walls, roofs and eaves, vinyl tiling, drains and oven or heating flues.

Visit the Asbestos Awareness website to learn more and get tips on how to protect yourself.

Handling and disposing of asbestos

Strict rules apply to handling and disposing of asbestos. If you’re removing more than 10 square meters of asbestos, you must use a licensed asbestos removalist.

See the NSW EPA website for more information about dealing with asbestos waste.

It is illegal to put asbestos in a household garbage bin or to dump it.

You cannot take asbestos to our waste disposal depot.

Companies that accept asbestos waste

The local companies below can accept asbestos waste. You should check with these companies to confirm pricing and other details.

You can find other facilities in New South Wales that accept household asbestos on the EPA website.

Batteries contain toxic liquids and metals. They should not go in your bin!

There are several ways to safety dispose or your batteries:

  • Household and car batteries can be dropped off for free at our Community Recycling Centre
  • Most Aldi stores have battery recycling bins for small household batteries - ask at your local store if you need help
  • Most battery stores accept used batteries for recycling. Find a location on the Recycling Near You website.

There are many chemicals around your house that should be kept out of your bin and our landfill. This can include cleaning products, poisons, acids, pool chemicals and more.

Many common household chemicals can be taken to our Community Recycling Centre (CRC).

We also work with the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hold a couple of free Household Chemical Cleanout Events each year. Details of what can be included in these cleanouts can be found on the EPA website.

Upcoming cleanout events are shown at the bottom of this page.

When you’re dropping off items at the CRC or a cleanout event, make sure you handle and transport chemicals carefully. Each item must be no larger than 20kg or 20 litres.

Please note, asbestos cannot be included in chemical cleanouts.

E-waste (electronic waste) is one of the fastest-growing types of waste in our community.

Here are some options to consider instead of sending e-waste to landfill:

E-waste What to do
Computers and televisions Book a household cleanup or drop off up to 15 items per visit for free at our Community Recycling Centre.
Gaming devices These can be valuable! Try selling them online, or find a store that deals in second hand games and gear.
DVD players, stereos, cameras, iPods and toys Recycle your unwanted electronics through your nearest Storage King store.

For a small cost you can buy an e-waste collection box. Fill it with your old devices (you can even leave the batteries inside) and return it to Storage King. They'll recycle it through the ECOACTIV Product Recovery Program.

Find out more on the ECOACTIV website.
Mobile phones Drop off up to 15 old phones per visit at our Community Recycling Centre. You can also use the Mobile Muster program - all of our library branches have Mobile Muster drop off points.

Many stores that sell phones will also take old phones for recycling.
Apple products Apple Giveback lets you trade in old devices to get an Apple store gift card.

If your old Apple doesn't qualify for a trade-in, Apple will still recycle it for free.

Conditions apply. See Apple's website for details.

Transport for NSW has a program to help boaters dispose of expired flares.

Visit the Transport for NSW website for details.

Lightbulbs should be handled carefully as they can contain dangerous gases. Read more on the Recycling Near You website.

You can take fluorescent globes and tubes to our Community Recycling Centre.

IKEA stores also accept most kinds of light globes for recycling, even if you didn’t buy them there.

Lead can be found in many parts of your home - especially in older homes.

Some of the places you might find lead include:

  • old interior and exterior paint
  • in dust found in ceiling cavities, carpets or furniture
  • soil around your home
  • fumes from tools like heat guns or soldering irons that have come into contact with lead surfaces
  • water pipes
  • leadlight windows
  • PVC products
  • lead sheeting.

You can read more about lead and how to protect your health on the NSW EPA website.

You can also buy lead test kits from most hardware stores.

Vegesafe soil testing program

Macquarie University has a free Vegesafe program tests soil for metals. If you’d like to know more or take part, visit Macquarie University’s website.

You can also read the university’s guide to soil that might be lead-contaminated.

If you need to get rid of a mattress, don't dump it - try these options:

  1. Book a free on-call household cleanup. Mattresses can be included in this collection, and will be recycled.
  2. Contact Soft Landing. This service by Mission Australia recycles mattresses. You can take mattresses to their Bellambi depot, or book to get your mattress picked up. Fees apply.
  3. Take your mattress to our waste depot for a fee.

Old medicine

Old medicines can be dangerous to you and your family, and bad for the environment.

Get rid of old or unwanted medicines at your local pharmacy through the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) program.

Syringes

Search the SafeSharps website to find places where you can drop off syringes and sharps. You must use a suitable rigid container, such as a Medispose container, when dropping off syringes. Loose needles will not be accepted.

If you find needles or syringes on public or private land, call the Needle Exchange on (02) 4275 1529. They operate between 8 am and 5.30 pm Monday to Friday, and can quickly arrange collection by a qualified person in most cases during these hours.

If you feel ok about handling the discarded needle or syringe safely, follow these steps:

  • Place the needle in a strong puncture-proof container with a lid. Don't use a glass container as it can break.
  • Carry the container to the needle, place the needle inside the container and make sure the lid is on tightly.
  • Call the Needle Exchange to arrange for pick up or take it to a drop off location.

Kidney dialysis patients

Patients on peritoneal kidney dialysis can apply for a special exemption to get a 240 litre red-top garbage bin at the price of a 120 litre bin. The application form is available on the Wollongong Waste website.

Disposable nappies have a big impact on our environment. They can take over 400 years to start breaking down in landfill.

Using cloth nappies is an environmentally friendly alternative, and it doesn't have to be hard. Find our more on our Nappies page.

  • Our Community Recycling Centre accepts up to 20 litres  of household paint per visit.
  • Paintback is a free program that accepts to 100 litres per visit (in containers of 20 litres or less) from  residents and trade painters.

Polystyrene cannot be recycled at our waste depot. Do not put polystyrene in your yellow bin.

You need to put it in your red bin, or take it to our waste depot.

Fees apply for taking polystyrene to landfill. Please note there is minimum charge for loads up to 100kg.

You can include up to six car or motorbike tyres in the free On-Call Household Cleanup.