Learn More About Recycling

Let's manage our waste for a greener future

City of Darwin is committed to helping the community dispose of waste items in the most planet-friendly way and there are many options for recycling in Darwin.

The Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility offers services for recycling a wide range of items, and the kerbside yellow topped bins make it easy for you to recycle many of your everyday household items.

Does recycling take place in Darwin?

Everything collected from the yellow topped bins is taken to the Materials Recovery Facility near Darwin, where items are sorted by hand and put through specialised machinery into recyclable types. The separated plastics, metals, paper and cardboard are then baled up for recycling into different products at other locations.


This 15 minute film goes behind the scenes to show what happens to contents of the yellow topped bins, and provides information on the recycling options at the Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility. If you would like a copy of this DVD, please visit your local library or phone Council on 8930 0300.

What can be recycled in the yellow topped bins?

This 30 second ad shows what can and can't be recycled in your yellow topped bin:

Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility

This 30 second ad shows what you can do to manage your waste at Shoal Bay.


It is important to make sure that only recyclable materials are placed in the yellow topped bins so the hand sorting process is as efficient as possible. This graphic below shows what can be recycled in the yellow topped bins.

Please place only the items shown in this image into your bins. If non-recyclable items are found in the kerb side collections, contamination occurs, and whole truck loads of recyclable items may need to be sent to landfill.

The most common items found in the yellow topped bins which cause contamination are plastic bags, food scraps, green waste, liquids, ceramics and nappies.

Can plastic bags be recycled?

Plastic bags should not be placed into your yellow topped bin as they can cause jams in the machinery used to sort out recyclables at ther Materials Recovery Facility. Recyclables placed in plastic bags are thrown away due to Work Safe issues.

Plastic bags can be recycled at the Recycle Shop located at the Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility, not in your kerb side collection.

What can be made from recycled materials?

This factsheet provides more detail on all of the main types of recyclable materials, which can be recycled including all seven different types of plastic. It also shows what can be made from recycled materials.

What are the recycling options at Shoal Bay?

At the Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility, you can recycle all your household recyclables as well as larger items such as white goods, scrap metal, furniture, electronic waste (computers, TVs, video and DVD players and so on). Fluorescent lightbulbs may also be recycled using the facilities provided at the Recycling Shop at Shoal Bay.

Items in good condition, such as books, suitcases, toys, bikes, white goods, kitchen crockery, glassware and cutlery as well as clothing can all be dropped off at the Recycling Shop.

You can also drop off all your domestic palm fronds and green waste at Shoal Bay Mulch.

You can take up to 10 litres of waste engine oil, vegetable oil, paints and chemicals to dispose at the transfer station. Please label all chemicals prior to disposing at the chemical drop off point. All oils, paints and chemicals are treated and recycled where possible. Please note: liquid waste generated by a business, including a home based business, cannot be disposed at the facility. To find out how to dispose commercial liquid wastes visit the Commercial waste section of this website.

Before you visit Shoal Bay, make sure you sort your load out so that you can first drop off all recyclables at the Recycling Shop, then drop off your green waste at Shoal Bay Mulch (just over the weighbridge) and then anything left over can be put in the large skip bins at the transfer station.


Tips for better recycling

You can help improve the efficiency of recycling in Darwin. Make sure you:

  • Empty all items from plastic bags and place them into the yellow topped bins loose
  • Remove all lids from containers before you place them into the bin as lids are often made from a different material or plastic type to their containers. Please the lids into one plastic container and then put into your yellow topped bin.
  • Rinse out food containers before placing into the recycling bin to maintain bin hygiene
  • Break cardboard boxes down to maximise the space in your yellow topped bin
  • Remember to recycle from every room in the house, not just the kitchen! You can recycle shampoo bottles and even empty spray-paint cans
  • Avoid contaminating the recycling – no green waste or food scraps, no liquids, nappies or plastic bags

What are the other options for recycling?

Childcare centres and primary schools can make use of many items for craft. Bottle tops, egg cartons, small cardboard boxes and tubes, CDs and many other household items become treasure for creative young kids!

Unwanted clothes, books, crockery, glassware, cutlery, toys and other reusable items should be donated to Op Shops in and around Darwin, or taken to the Recycling Shop at Shoal Bay.

There are many other options for recycling in Darwin. In this helpful A-Z guide, you will be able to find out your options for disposing of most of your household waste in the most planet-friendly way.

What should I do with my garden waste?

Green waste can be re-used around the home for composting and mulch on the garden. If you have no use for it at home, small amounts of garden waste can also be placed into your general waste bin (red topped), but please do not place garden waste or soil in your yellow topped recycling bin.

The best way to dispose of your larger garden waste is by dropping it off at Shoal Bay Mulch (located at the Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility). Just make sure there are no metal pieces or other waste in your load that may cause problems with the mulching machinery.

Please contact Council on 8930 0300 to discuss other options for green and organic waste management.


School and Community Education Services

City of Darwin funds a Community Education Officer to carry out waste and recycling education activities in the Darwin municipality. The Community Education Officer is based at Transpacific Cleanaway and offers free lessons to all pre-schools and schools located in the Darwin Municipality. Topics covered in the lessons include:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • What can and can not go into the yellow recycle bin
  • Waste minimisation

To register your school’s interest, please contact Transpacific Cleanaway on 08 8935 1111 or email Darwin.operations@transpac.com.au



Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility School Group Tours

City of Darwin in partnership with its onsite contractors, LMS Energy Pty Ltd, NT Recycling Solutions and Shoal Bay Mulch offers free school group tours of the Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility. The tour takes about an hour and gives students of all ages an opportunity to experience and learn about resource recovery and best practice waste management at an operational site. Topics covered in the tour include:

  • Reduce, reuse and recycling
  • What can be recycled
  • Kerbside collection and recycling
  • Products made from recycled material
  • Greenwaste processing and mulch
  • Best practice landfill management
  • Day to day operations of the landfill
  • Darwin renewable energy (waste to energy) facility

For more information contact City of Darwin on 8930 0408 or email darwin@darwin.nt.gov.au