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 filling out this form.

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
  • Pet (dog, cat, etc.) poo and poo bags
  • 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 on Council's Facebook page and on the Your Organics Bin website.

Food and garden organics collection

The addition of food waste to our Garden Organics kerbside collection service will begin in June 2025.

There will be no changes to waste bin sizes. The only change will be 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.

34 other NSW councils currently provide this same collection service. Maitland and Singleton councils will transition at the same time as us. The NSW EPA have pledged that all NSW households will have this service by 2030.

Cessnock is currently achieving 39% diversion of waste from landfill in the kerbside collection service. 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. In one year, this amounts to an estimated 4,100 tonnes of food going to landfill.

Before the introduction of these changes, there will be many engagement and communication activities to assist our community adapt. 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 does food and garden organics start?

Food and garden organics will start in June 2025. The NSW EPA has mandated that all Councils transition to a food and garden organics collection by 2030.

What will go in my food and garden organics 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. Residents will be given a kitchen top bin (caddy) and compostable liners to help move food waste from the kitchen to the food and garden organics bin.

What can’t go in the food and garden organics bin

  • Pet poo and poo bags
  • Fibre- based materials such as bamboo, timber, cardboard packing and cutlery, paper towels and serviettes
  • Compostable or biodegradable plastic products or bags (other than kitchen caddy liners that comply with Australian Standard AS 4736-2006)
  • Vacuum cleaner dust, washing machine and dryer lint

Who else is doing food and garden organics?

Currently 34 NSW Councils have transitioned to a food and garden organics collection, including our neighbour Lake Macquarie. This enables us to access data and learn from programs implemented by other Councils.

Maitland and Singleton Council will be transitioning to food and garden organics at the same time as us.

Will the size of my red lid waste bin change?

No, your red lid waste bin remains the same size. However, it will be collected fortnightly instead of weekly. 

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

Other Councils with this service provide residents with options for an additional fortnightly waste bin or access to weekly waste collection for an extra fee. Council is developing these options for Cessnock residents.

What if I need 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.

Won't these changes cause odours?

To help minimise odours from disposal nappies, incontinence and hygiene products, you should;  

  • Dispose of as much of the contents as you can into the toilet
  • Wrap the item tightly into itself and use any tabs to secure. Put the wrapped item into a bag, removing air, and tie the bag tightly closed
  • Store your garbage bin in the shade
  • Make sure the red bin lid can close properly and the bin has no cracks nor splits (damaged bins are replaced free of charge at any time)
  • Using scented waste bags and odour neutralisers, such as bi-carb soda in your bin can also help minimise smells.

You may wish to consider if reusable products could be an option for you. Even a partial switch could help make a significant difference.

Many other Councils have already implemented these changes and combatted these issues. In future, Council will engage with our community about this service to understand their concerns and to find solutions for issues such as odour.

What will these changes cost?

There is no extra cost for this service, it will all be contained within your existing annual domestic waste charge.

Why is Council making these changes?

These changes will help Cessnock reach the NSW EPA waste reduction targets, including halving the amount of organic waste sent to the landfill by 2030. Along with reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill, these changes will reduce Council’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Can I get an additional green organics bin?

You can arrange an extra 240 litre organics service by filling out the form found here.