Recycling and Proper Waste Management during the Holidays

Since community living is a shared responsibility, in a strata property, one person’s trash becomes everyone’s problem. As apartment and strata living becomes more common, waste disposal has become more of an issue!

Also, in Sydney alone, local households will create and throw out close to 400 tonnes of extra waste at Christmas.

Nearly every unit in strata generates waste, materials, and debris. The result is a huge pile of waste that demands good planning to manage. While the waste from each unit may vary, the total waste collected may be greater and complex for community handling.

Through good waste management plans, the strata manager and the councils can:

  • Minimise time wastage during collection and dumping
  • Integrate efficient waste management decisions
  • Work hand-in-hand with responsible stakeholders’ such as recycling plants and disposal facilities
  • Boost the tenants’resilience
  • Minimise the rates of detraction among the tenants

The burden of waste collection heavily depends on the efforts of the whole building, and as a result, there is confusion about the most effective way of managing strata waste.

Strata waste does not only come in large quantity but also different types. Due to factors such as urbanisation and population increases.

Here are some tips and tricks to ensure environmental stewardship remains a priority this festive season!

Gift wrapping

A huge contributor to waste at Christmas is gift wrapping. Instead of single-use wrapping paper or gift bags, Megan recommends wrapping gifts with recyclable, compostable or reusable items.

Be creative with what’s around you. Try your hand at furoshiki, the Japanese tradition of fabric wrapping for a special touch. Wrap gifts in reusable cloth bags, tea towels or a pretty scarf. Or reuse a cardboard box, newspaper or brown paper bag decorated with flowers or leaves.

If you receive a gift in wrapping paper, unwrap it gently. You can save the paper and reuse it for future Christmas or birthday gifts.

Wrapping made from 100% paper can go in your yellow lid bin, even if it has sticky tape attached. Plastic cellophane can be recycled in a REDcycle soft plastics bin at your local supermarket.

Consider using these over metallic wrapping or paper with glitter or foil detail. These can’t be recycled and will end up in landfill.

Real Christmas trees

If your tree is small, break it up into pieces and put it in your green lid bin along with your garden organics. If you don’t have a green lid bin, and regularly have garden waste, you can order a free bin and have it collected each fortnight.

We mulch trees placed in the green lid bins.

For trees too big to fit in the green lid bin, book a free pick-up.

However, you dispose of your tree, don’t wrap it in plastic and remove all decorations.

Plastic Christmas trees

They may be reusable, but plastic Christmas trees are often made of materials that can’t be recycled. Old or broken trees are likely to end up in landfill and won’t decompose.

If your unwanted plastic Christmas tree is in good condition, you might like to try Facebook Marketplace or groups, Gumtree, Trading Post, eBay, OzRecycle or Freecycle.

Fairy lights, LEDs and other electronics

E-waste can contain toxic materials and doesn’t belong in the bin. If you’ve scored some new gadgets and need to get rid of your old ones, you have a few options.

If the old gadgets are working, donate or sell them. If not, City of Sydney residents can book a free pick-up or take them to a Recycle It Saturday drop-off event. Or book a power pick-up with RecycleSmart.

By recycling your e-waste, you help keep hazardous materials out of landfill. We recycle around 95% of the raw materials we recover.


Sales of batteries spike during the festive season. But once you’re done with them, batteries can be a huge environmental hazard.

Always try to use rechargeable batteries, but even these need to be disposed of carefully. Batteries must never go in any of your household bins. They can be dangerous when compacted in collection trucks and can even cause truck fires.

Best to drop off your batteries for recycling at our customer service centres and libraries. Or book a power pick-up with RecycleSmart.

Aluminium disposable food and baking trays

Aluminium foil trays can be recycled in your yellow lid bin – just make sure they’re scrunched into a ball shape, like regular foil.

White Christmas Packaging or Styrofoam

It may have a recycling symbol on it, but polystyrene or styrofoam can’t be recycled in your yellow lid bin.

If you’ve received lots of polystyrene with your presents, you can book a power pick-up with RecycleSmart

Foil and plastic chocolate and lolly wrappers

Chocolate wrappers and confectionery bags made from soft plastic can be recycled in the RedCycle bin at your local supermarket.

You can also bring soft plastics to your next Recycle It Saturday event. Or stay at home and book a power pick-up with RecycleSmart

Unwanted gifts

Donate, sell, or re-gift. Sometimes you just don’t want, or need, what’s been given to you. If you’re re-gifting, just remember who gave you the present. You don’t want to be caught returning it to them – now that could be awkward.

The importance of recycling

The big issue for recyclers is the high level of contamination in recyclable bins, which greatly diminishes the recyclable value of the materials and increases the amount of processing required.

If anything, which is not recyclable is spotted or sorted, the rubbish is charged out as general waste, which is an increased cost to owners.

Owners and occupants alike should become increasingly wary of what they put in their recycling bins to avoid increased costs and practice more sustainable waste management.

Owners corporations should 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.