Throughout Melbourne and in Australia overall we see a variety of colours and styles of waste and recycling bins. However, since the introduction of the Australian Standard for mobile bin colours in 2006 (AS4123.7-2006) we have hopefully seen more consistencies across the board. It’s great to have standard colours that can be followed to avoid confusion and contamination.

Thinking about what we have in place in Australia, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to research what happens in other countries regarding waste and recycling colours…

Refer to the table below to view a quick comparison between Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and USA.

Australia – waste and recycling colours

Australia introduced standard colours for mobile waste and recycling bins in 2006 which are common place in the market now. KS Environmental offers bins and equipment colour coded to the Standards Australia colours.  These are:

  • General Waste – Dark Green or Black body with Red lid
  • Mixed (Commingled) recycling (glass, plastic, metal and paper combined) – Dark Green or Black body with Yellow lid
  • Green Waste/Organics – Dark Green or Black body with Lime Green lid
  • Food Waste – Dark Green or Black body with Burgundy lid
  • Paper and cardboard recycling – Dark Green or Black body with Blue lid

New Zealand – waste and recycling colours

NZ for quite some time had no formal standards in place with relation to waste and recycling colours. In 2015, WasteMINZ in conjunction with the Glass Packaging Forum and councils around NZ agreed upon a standardised set of colours for waste and recycling bins. As councils roll out recycling schemes the new colours come into play. Companies are also encouraged to utilise these colours for commercial waste and recycling.

Colours are very similar to the Australian Standards with some exceptions (notably paper/cardboard):

  • General Waste – Dark Green or Black body with Red lid
  • Mixed (Commingled) recycling (glass, plastic, metal and paper combined) – Dark Green or Black body with Yellow lid
  • Food waste and food waste /garden waste combined – Dark Green or Black body with Lime Green lid
  • Garden waste – Dark Green or Black body with Dark Green lid
  • Paper and cardboard recycling – Dark Green or Black body with Grey lid
  • Glass collections (white, brown, green glass combined) – Dark Green or Black body with Light Blue lid

United Kingdom – waste and recycling colours

From what I can see the United Kingdom does not have any formal standards relating to waste and recycling colours. Although browsing through quite a few different Council’s throughout the UK it seems as though while there are no national standards there are definite similarities.

Each Council offers different types of containers and bins – these include sacks (usually for garden waste and plastics), bins and boxes. Most Councils that I looked at offer a kitchen/food waste collection which is fantastic.

As mentioned colours do differ from borough to borough but many are as follows:

  • General Waste – Black or Grey
  • Mixed (Commingled) – Blue
  • Kitchen/garden waste – Brown

USA – waste and recycling colours

Throughout the US there are no uniform standards for waste and recycling colours and collections can differ greatly by state/province and also town/city. This in itself would be a great challenge!

In saying that though it looks like an informal standardisation of colours is increasingly being adopted. This is the 3-stream collection established in San Francisco:

  • General Waste – Black
  • Mixed (Commingled) (includes paper) – Blue
  • Kitchen/garden waste – Green

waste and recycling colours table

Sources: Sustainability Victoria – Away from Home Waste Signage Guidelines, wasteminz.co.nz, various other web research

Interested in colour coded bins?

For information on colour coded waste and recycling equipment we can offer your business please contact us.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *