Garden organics

Your garden organics bin has a lime green lid and is emptied fortnightly on the alternate week to your recycling bin.

The garden organics service is contracted to Solo Resource Recovery and Australian Native Landscapes. The material collected in your garden organics bin is processed at Tea Gardens, where it's made into a high quality compost for use by home gardeners and farmers.

Find my next organics collection date

You can purchase an additional 240 litre garden organics bin by contacting our Customer Relations team on 02 4993 4100.

What to put in your organics bin

DO put these items in your garden organics bin

  • Grass clippings
  • Prunings
  • All weeds
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Plants
  • Bark
  • Sticks and small branches (max. diameter 10cm)
  • Roots (max. diameter 10cm)
  • Palm fronds

DON'T put these items in your garden organics bin

  • Plastic bags or bin liners
  • Garbage
  • Food waste or vegetable peelings
  • Recyclables
  • Oils or chemicals
  • Pots
  • Soil and rocks
  • Bricks and building materials
  • Treated or painted timber
  • Composite wood products i.e. chipboard, melamine, MDF

How to ensure your organics bin is collected

  • Place materials loosely in your bin – don’t squash your garden organics down
  • Put sticks or dry leaves in the bottom of the bin before lawn clippings to prevent sticking
  • The maximum weight is 80kg
  • Place bins out regularly rather than wait for them to be full and possibly too heavy
  • Try to mow your lawn when it's dry or leave the lid ajar to reduce excess moisture
  • You can drop off large items that don’t fit into your garden organics bin at Cessnock Waste Management Centre for a small fee

What if my bin is missed or damaged? 

Please contact Solo Resource Recovery to report any issues with your bin or service:


Contamination in your bin can be a serious problem for the wellbeing of our staff, impact on the efficiency of the service, and the quality of the final organic compost produced. 

Solo collection vehicles are equipped with cameras which allow the driver to monitor the contents of bins as they are being emptied. A photographic record is kept of any contamination and the address details.

Households with severe or repeated contamination will be contacted by letter with information about how to use the service correctly to avoid future problems and bins will be inspected prior to collection.

Ongoing or severe incidents may result in the service being suspended until an agreement has been provided by the householder to use it correctly.

Compost giveaways

Complimentary bags of garden organics compost are available for residents of Cessnock at Council's Compost Giveaway events throughout the year. Upon supplying proof of residency, you can receive up to two free 25 litre bags of premium compost made from 100% locally produced and processed garden organics waste.

Compost giveaway events are advertised via our Events Calendar and on Council's Facebook page

Food and garden organics collection

The addition of food waste to our Garden Organics kerbside collection service will be introduced from March 2024.

At that time, whilst the number of bins collected from households each week will remain the same, it will see a change to the way bins are collected, with lime green lid organic bins being collected weekly and red lid waste bins being collected fortnightly. Yellow lid recycling bins will continue to be collected fortnightly.

There are 34 regional councils currently running this same kerbside collection service. Maitland and Singleton councils will transition at the same time as us.

These changes are to help Cessnock reach the required NSW EPA waste reduction targets, including:

  • Reducing total waste generated by 10% per person by 2030
  • Having an 80% average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030
  • Halving the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030

Cessnock is currently achieving 39% diversion from landfill in the kerbside collection service. Recent waste bin audits have shown that food waste makes up 26% of bin contents (measured by weight). This is an average of 3.4kg per bin, per week. After one year, this amounts to an estimated 4,100 tonnes of food going to landfill.

In the run up to the introduction of these changes, there will be a multitude of engagement and communication activities to educate and assist our community. These will include working through solutions to problem waste, such as nappies and medical waste, based on the experience of other local government areas who have already introduced the service. 

Frequently asked questions

When will there be changes to what we can put in bins and pickups?

Council is scheduled to begin the change in March 2024. There will be no changes to current bin pickups or what residents can place in their bins until the launch of the program.

What will go in my lime green lid bin?

All food waste, including raw and cooked food, bread, meat, bones, poultry and seafood (excluding oyster, scallop and crab shells) can be placed in the organics bin.

Where will I put dirty nappies or medical waste?

These will continue to be placed in the red lid bin.

What about the smell?

In the lead up to this change, Council will engage with and educate the community about this service to understand their concerns and find solutions based on the experience of other local government areas that have already introduced the service.

Will there be a change in the size of my bins?

All bins will remain the current 240 litre size. Recycling bins can already be upgraded to 360 litres at an additional cost.

What if I still want my red bin collected each week?

Other councils have introduced this option for an additional fixed annual fee. A similar option would be considered for Cessnock residents.

What if I still want my red bin collected each week but can't afford to pay for it?

For those who meet the relevant criteria, Council assists with fees and charges under our Hardship Policy.

What is the expected change in the Domestic Waste Management Charge applied to rates for the additional green waste collection from 2024?

Modelling estimates a net zero impact of these changes on the annual Domestic Waste Management Charge.