Recycling in a Body Corporate

How do you manage recycling in a strata property with a body corporate?

Every apartment in strata property generates waste, materials, and debris resulting is a huge pile of waste that requires good planning to properly manage.

No singular owner should bear the responsibility of proper waster management and recycling. Ideally, it should be a collective effort coordinated by the strata committee.

Each body corporate should have clear and concise rules and guidelines for dealing with waste and recycling.

These rules and guidelines should aim to:

  • Implement the best waste and recycling practices.
  • Make sure every waste goes to its rightful stream.
  • Educate all owners or occupiers on said practices.
  • Ensure no one leaves waste on common property.

Can you recycle this? Can’t you recycle that?

No strata waste management strategy is complete without considering recycling.

Benefits of recycling include:

  • Reduce waste that goes into landfill,
  • Reduce pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Increased general cleanliness of the property

First things first, strata must provide its occupants with recycling guidelines so that they know what to and what not to recycle. Educate them with your available resources. Take note that you should communicate with your local council and find out what you can and cannot recycle. Rules maybe different depending on where you are located.

Top Tips for Recycling

Provide residents with guidelines on waste disposal including on how to recycle properly

Make sure that residents know how to dispose of their recyclable waste properly according to your strata scheme’s waste disposal system.

Ensure there are best practice guidelines available in the form of notices and signs and issued to new owners, share on the community’s online group, or on the common property notice board and waste area.

Encourage recycling

Encourage residents to recycle as much as possible. Educate them on ways to recycle, upcycle items. For example, donate things in good working order to charities, or sell or give them away on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.

Reminders, Updates and New Residents

Make sure that your committee re-issues rules and regulations on a regular basis. This is especially helpful for new and incoming occupants. Additionally, regularly review what is working and what is not and update when needed.

Review access for garbage disposal in your strata property

If there are accessibility issues to your garbage, it can result in improper waste management and impact recycling efforts. Ensure any waste management areas have enough bins and the correct balance of general and recycling waste options.

There may also be potential to add separate green waste disposal facilities. Strata properties with limited communal bin space, can organise separate private green waste removal to ensure general waste bins are not filled prematurely.

Ordering Green Bins

Unit owners can also order a green waste recycling bin by contacting their local Council. Council will contact the owner to confirm where the bin will be placed and who will present the bin for collection.

The body corporate must provide approval before the unit owner orders the bin.

Order Bigger or More Recycling Bins

By recycling cardboard, glass, firm plastics and metal, it can be easy to have a full recycling bin each fortnight. You can swap to a larger recycling bin to make recycling easier.

Apartment blocks can request a larger bin or bulk recycling bins. Approval is subject to a Council site inspection based on:

  • availability of storage
  • kerb presentation space
  • accessibility for service vehicles, if required.

You can use the bin as soon as it is delivered. Once ordered, leave your 240-litre recycling bin out as if for collection and it will be swapped with your new larger recycling bin.

This must be approved by the body corporate.

Organic Waste

If you’re interested in creating a community garden in your building, you might also like to consider creating a compost heap for organic waste; perhaps even add a worm farm. Either option is a great way to reduce waste and enrich the soil for gardens around the building.

Local Council Bulky Goods Collection

Ensure your residents are aware of their rights to use the bulky good collections that many local councils offer. This is generally a free service, and depending on what local government area, you could be entitled to up to two collections per year. Any items collected by Council at your Bulky Goods Clean Up will be compacted, crushed and sent to landfill so the collection should be a last resort.

Tricky Items

You may have a full-proof system for cardboard and plastic bottles but what about those trickier items like batteries, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, printer cartridges and chemicals like paint and oil?

Most Councils also have recovery programs for these types of items, which can’t go in with your general household recycling.

Talk to your body corporate manager (and your local Council) about what opportunities there may be to create recovery points in your building or complex.

Consider Other Recycling Options

Even if an item can’t be collected through the council’s kerbside recycling collections this doesn’t mean that they can’t be recycled.

There are also other recycling methods such as Resource Recovery Centres, battery recycling at Battery World, soft plastics to supermarkets, and recycling e-waste at appliance stores.

Schedule an Annual Waste Skip Bin Collection

If excessive rubbish in your scheme is a regular problem, you may want to schedule an annual waste skip bin to encourage owners and residents to do an annual declutter.

Donation Partnerships

Many charity organisations offer great alternatives to standard recycling options.

For example, Clothing Away supplies free textile collection and recycling bins on site in apartment waste rooms for the convenient collection of clothing and household textiles.

Discarded Items on Common Property 

QLD Strata Law prohibits owners or occupiers from depositing or throwing garbage, dirt, dust or other discarded items on common property.

If an owner or occupier has a legitimate reason to leave garbage on common property, they must first receive approval in advance from the body corporate.

If the waste includes perishable goods, the body corporate does not need to provide notice to remove them. For any other items, the body corporate can remove the goods after issuing a disposal notice which includes a description of the goods, the date and time the notice was issued, the date and time the goods will be moved from the common property, and contact details of a member of the strata committee.

The body corporate is permitted to move the items somewhere else, throw the items away, or sell them with the proceeds of the sale going into the administrative fund.


Waste collection, recycling and treatment is a collective responsibility. Strata waste for apartments and townhouses account for a significant volume of Australia’s total waste and this is only growing. Its effective management demands for proper planning with well-laid enforceable policies.

If you’d like to find out more on how to deal with garbage disposal and other common strata problems for your strata property get in contact with Stratacare today.

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