Managing waste wisely

Bin tagging

Bin tagging

Bin tagging education program

The Western Metropolitan Regional Council works with our Member Councils and the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) to provide bin tagging education to randomly selected households.

The bin tagging program has been running since 2015.  It involves a quick look inside kerbside waste, recycling and green waste bins (green waste bags in the City of Subiaco) and then attaching a tag to bin handles to provide on-the-spot feedback for the householder.

The two-month long program will be run by the WMRC on behalf of its Member Councils, beginning on 25 February. Residents may spot Community Waste Education staff, wearing high-vis vests and carrying appropriate ID, at their kerbside on bin day.

The Cities of Cockburn, Joondalup, Wanneroo, Melville, Kwinana and the Towns of Cambridge, Cottesloe and Mosman Park amongst others have previously run the program. The program is proven to substantially improve household recycling and waste management performance.  Checks a year later showed improved disposal behaviour continues, highlighting the effectiveness of giving individual feedback to households.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bin tagging? 

  • Bin tagging is a State Government-funded education program delivered by Local Government on a regular basis. The program has been running since 2015. This 2020 round of bin tagging is part of the biggest exercise ever undertaken by participating councils across WA.
  • Bin tagging is an education tool to provide residents with direct individualised feedback on the contents of their bin – to help them reduce their waste and recycle right. Information on what should go in which bin is also available here.
  • Educators lift the lid of your bin while it is on the kerbside waiting to be collected and assess the immediately visible contents to see whether there is any contamination
  • Bins are given ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ face tags based on the presence of visible contamination in the bins. The tags include what is and isn’t accepted in the bin, with room for written feedback.
  • Bin tagging is just a quick look in the bin, Community Waste Educators visit around 100 bins per hour, and only look at what is immediately visible.  They do not rummage or tip out the contents.

Which bins are being tagged?

  • Bins in selected areas within Subiaco, Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Claremont are being tagged in this round: a total of around 1,000 of the 23,000 properties.  Similar programs are running in many other councils.

When will the program run?

  • The program will run weekdays from 6am – 8:30am approximately for 6 weeks from late February.

What happens if there is contamination in my bin?

  • When the wrong items are in the bins, educators leave a sad face tag with written comments on what should be changed. Only when there is repeated severe contamination in a bin are bins taped shut and residents are asked to remove the contamination before the bin can be emptied.

What information is on the tags? (see images below for further information)

  • The bin tags have been tested and standardised in order to promote consistent waste education messages across councils.
  • There are different tags for each bin type, and they detail what is and isn’t accepted in the bin, with room for written feedback.

Why is the program being undertaken?

  • There is much confusion about what goes in which bin, bin tagging clarifies any misconceptions or confusion residents may have about the bin system, while also offering positive reinforcement to households who are sorting their waste correctly.
  • Experience shows that contamination decreases on repeat visits and only a handful of properties have bins that are severely contaminated. Reducing contamination in bins reduces waste service costs.

Why is recycling contamination an issue?

  • It can mean that the recyclables may go to landfill as they are no longer of good quality.
  • Recycling collected from the kerbside bin is sorted by a combination of people and machinery which cannot remove all contaminants.
  • Recycling processors have increasingly stringent standards for acceptance of material. Decreasing contamination in the bin decreases the cost to residents of their waste services.

Is bin tagging an invasion of privacy? 

  • No, once your bin is on the verge, it is Local Government property. The Council has authorised the educators to look in the bin.  If you have concerns about specific things, put them in bags/envelopes or rip them up.
  • Educators tag approximately 100 bins per hour to gain a general overview of how the household is sorting their waste.
  • If you are still concerned, contact your council and your property can be taken off the list.


How do I know who the educators are?

  • WMRC Community Waste Educators are staff members and will be wearing a high-visibility vest and wearing a WMRC hat.

Will there be any fines?

  • No, this program is purely for educational purposes.


Will anyone be named and shamed?

  • No. The educators will not have access to the names of residents and data will only be reported at a Council level.

What if I don’t have a Garden Organics bin?

  • If the household hasn’t been allocated a Garden Organics (GO) bin, they will receive a smiley tag when their garden organics are in their general waste bin.
  • For City of Subiaco residents who use City of Subiaco green waste bags you will receive a smiley tag when garden organics are in your green waste bags. If the household has not put out green waste bags, they will receive a smiley tag when their garden organics are in the general waste bin.

Why can’t I put food organics in my Garden Organics bin?

  • Garden organics alone are processed differently from mixed food and garden organics.

Why can’t I bag my recyclables?

  • Recyclables that are put in plastic bags in the recycling bin don’t get recycled – the recycling sorting facilities don’t open or empty the bags – instead they get sent to landfill.

What are soft plastics and why can’t they be put in my recycling bin?

  • Soft plastics are scrunchable plastics often used for packaging foods.
  • As of 2018, soft plastics are no longer accepted in kerbside recycling bins. To recycle soft plastics, they can be taken to REDcycle bins out the front of Coles or Woolworths stores.

I still have questions who do I contact?