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Sydney’s Council Clean-ups Guide

17 June 2023
Sydneys Council Clean Ups Guide
Rules for how much you can dispose of at council clean ups

When it comes to stocking up on pre-loved furniture and household items for free, few occasions provide a better opportunity than a drive through Sydney’s ritziest suburbs on council clean-up week.

This bi-yearly (for some suburbs at least) free-for-all presents an opportunity to purge your garage or spare room with reckless abandon. Catch yourself on a leisurely drive through Dover Heights or Double Bay on council clean up week and you may be tempted to camp out until a tow truck arrives to pick up your newly discovered loot.

But, as many locals will find out at council clean-up time, there are rules to what you can and cannot dispose of. Sure, each suburb or LGA will provide a brief summary of what that means, but they also leave a lot of grey area that seems to catch a lot of people out.

Sadly, many people learn this the hard way when they are forced to drag those items (often now wet or mouldy) back to their garage or spare room.

In this article, we’ll provide an outline of what you can (and cannot) throw away at your local government clean-up in Sydney, New South Wales. Of course, it’s important to remember that each LGA will have slightly different rules. So, when in doubt, it’s always best to double-check.

When do council clean-ups occur?

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at when local clean-ups occur and make sure you’ve got those all-important dates marked in your diary.



Inner West Council

2nd Saturday of each month

Sydney City Council

1st Saturday of each month

Bayside Council

4th Saturday of each month

Woollahra Municipal Council

4 times per year

Georges River Council

2nd Saturday of each month

Blacktown City Council

12 times per year (monthly)

Burwood Council

4 times per year

Cumberland Council

4 times per year

Fairfield City Council

4 times per year

Hornsby Shire Council

4 times per year

Liverpool City Council

4 times per year

Parramatta City Council

4 times per year

Randwick City Council

6 times per year

Willoughby City Council

4 times per year

Rules for what you can dispose of at council clean ups

What you can dispose of at local government clean-ups

Contrary to popular belief, council clean-ups are not an unregulated free-for-all where you can dump to your heart's content. In fact, a large portion of what we do at Ridly is getting rid of those large, bulky, or sensitive items that cannot be thrown away at Sydney’s council clean-ups.

To provide some light of what you can and cannot dispose of, we have prepared an outline below. Again, it is essential that you consult with your local government ahead of your clean-up to ensure that you are operating by their stringent guidelines.

Household items you can dispose of at your council clean-up

When it comes to your local government clean-up, household items are a big one that many try to shift. Whether it’s because their market value has dropped below what is worth your time on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, or you simply can’t be bothered waiting around for someone to haggle with you on the weekend – many use this opportunity to get rid of items such as:

  • Small furniture
  • Unused timber (treated)
  • Used timber flooring (treated)
  • Used timber covering (treated)
  • Cot frames that have been dismantled
  • Carpet and Rugs
  • Books and Magazines
  • Toys and utensils

E-waste you can dispose of at your council clean-up

E-waste, or electronic waste, is one of the biggest categories when it comes to rubbish disposal in Sydney and Australia. In fact, according to the latest data from COS, every year, 88 percent of the 4 million computers and 3 million televisions that are purchased in Australia will end up in landfill. These items are responsible for contributing to over 140,000 tonnes of electronic waste and are a big cause for concern. Some of the most common items that fall into the electronic waste category include:

  • Printers and Scanners
  • Stereos and Radios
  • Electric fans and heaters
  • Kitchen appliances like blenders, toasters, and microwaves
  • Power tools
  • Batteries

Household chemicals you can dispose of at your council clean-up

When it comes to council clean-ups in Sydney, disposing of chemicals is perhaps the biggest grey area and contributing factor in items that are lugged back inside when they are refused by collection agents. Some of the items that you may (check with your LGA for confirmation on this) be able to dispose of include:

  • Paint and paint thinners
  • Motor oil and other automotive fluids
  • Pesticides and fertilizers
  • Pool chemicals
  • Cleaning products like bleach and drain cleaner
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent light bulbs and other items containing mercury
  • Pharmaceuticals and expired medications

Garden waste you can dispose of at your council clean-up

Whether it doesn't fit in your green bin, or you've just taken down a tree in anticipation of the local government collection, some of the most common items that you can dispose of when it comes to green waste include:

  • Branches bundled together
  • Christmas trees
  • Pot plants
  • Old garden tools and furniture

Bulky items you can dispose of at your council clean-up

Here’s where things get tricky (and particularly grey). Bulky items can be collected, but it will depend on their size, weight, and a myriad of other factors that will be specific to your local council’s rules and regulations. By way of an example, the Inner West Council limits all collections to 2 cubic meters and charges an additional fee that must be paid in advance.

What you cannot dispose of at local government clean-ups

Household Items you cannot dispose of at your council clean-up

  • Car parts
  • Household garbage
  • Items that cannot be lifted by two persons
  • Timber off cuts, untreated and painted
  • Paint, oils, gas cylinders

E-Waste you cannot dispose of at your council clean-up

  • TVs, computers, and peripherals
  • Mobile phones
  • Smoke alarms
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent lamps/tubes

Garden Waste you cannot dispose of at your council clean-up

  • Tree stumps
  • Dirt
  • Leaves in plastic bags
  • Rocks
  • Building rubble
  • Garden hoses
  • General household garbage

Bulky Items you cannot dispose of at your council clean-up

  • Building materials such as bricks, concrete, soil, sand, asbestos
  • Sofa beds
  • Metal bed frames
  • Timber bed frames
  • Air mattresses

How much waste can I dispose of at council clean-ups?

Again, you must refer to your local councils’ guidelines on this one. However, a good rule of thumb to follow is that they must be no greater than 2 cubic meters in size. Anything beyond this and you may be looking at additional collection charges or the council may flat out refuse to take your items.

What happens if the council won’t take my items?

We never thought you would ask!

That’s where we come in. At Ridly, we started with a very simple mission: to make rubbish removal affordable and ethical for residential and commercial customers across Sydney. Whether it be green waste removal, household waste collection, electronic waste disposal, or furniture pick-ups, we provide fair, upfront pricing and a same-day service that creates new standards in rubbish removal around Sydney.

For those large, bulky, and unwanted items that your local council refuses to take or if you’ve simply missed your local council’s clean-up and don’t want to wait another three months – that’s where we come in. Find out how affordable and environmentally friendly your next spring clean could be with a free, no-obligation quote from our friendly team!

Let Ridly give you a hand

Call us on 0488 846 336, or request a quote:

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