Tricky waste

Do you need to dispose of waste that doesn’t belong in your blue, yellow or green bin? Find out how to get rid of tricky waste (like batteries, paint, unwanted clothes and furniture, x-rays and mattresses) carefully and sustainably.

What is tricky waste?

Tricky waste is the waste that doesn’t go in your blue, yellow or green bins, like batteries, building materials, clothing, shoes, mattresses, light bulbs, gas bottles, paint and oil.

Making sure you dispose of tricky waste in the correct way can help prevent items going to landfill unnecessarily. Download our Waste and Recycling Guide or visit Which Bin SA to learn more about what materials you can place in your yellow, green and blue bins, and what items you need to dispose of separately.

You might also find our other waste services helpful:

  • Hard waste
  • Food waste
  • Green waste
  • Tricky waste
  • Illegal dumping

Tricky waste items and where to dispose of them

Below is a list of examples of tricky waste items. If there is an item you want to dispose of that you can’t find below, check out Which Bin SA for more information on how to dispose of your waste safely.

Asbestos was used in the past predominantly in building materials (such as asbestos cement) but also in cars (for example, in brake pads). Asbestos can’t be disposed of in household waste bins or through the hard waste service. Use Which Bin SA to search for nearby locations to dispose of asbestos, and visit Asbestos Awareness SA for more information.

Many batteries contain heavy metals and harmful elements such as nickel, cadmium, lead and mercury.

The number of fires in waste vehicles and facilities is increasing, and many of these fires are caused by batteries that people have put into their kerbside bins. Batteries contain toxic chemicals that can easily catch fire when sparks are created during the crushing of garbage on trucks and in waste facilities. One spark is all it takes to place truck drivers and infrastructure in extreme danger, so please do not place batteries of any shape or size in your bins.

Instead, please dispose of batteries safely at an approved eWaste drop-off location.

Alternatively, you can take household batteries to any City of PAE library or the Civic Centre during opening hours and place them in the battery recycling tubes. For your car, boat, motorbike or other batteries, visit Which Bin SA to find your nearest location.

There are now four locations where you can dispose of unwanted chemicals and paints. Choose whichever location suits you best – you don’t have to live in that council area.

Items accepted

  • Acids and alkalis
  • Brake fluid and coolant
  • Batteries
  • Cleaning products
  • Fluorescent light globes
  • Fumigants
  • Gas cylinders
  • Liquid paints, oil or water based (maximum 100L)
  • Motor oil
  • Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Poisons
  • Pool chemicals
  • Solvents, varnishes and stains
  • Other household chemicals

Good-quality clothes can be sold or given away. Consider a garage sale or online marketplace, or donate them to op shops and charities. Otherwise, use Which Bin SA to search for nearby locations to recycle old clothes. As a last resort, place the clothes in your blue general waste bin.

Electronic waste (eWaste) is anything that needs a plug or battery to work. This includes everything from computers, TVs, printers and DVD players to hairdryers, electric mixers and some toys.

Some eWaste items will be accepted free of charge, while for other items, fees may apply. Items can be disposed of at unplug n’ drop cages. Alternatively, visit our hard waste page to book a hard waste collection.

Good-quality furniture can be sold or given away. Consider a garage sale or online marketplace, or donate to op shops and charities. Otherwise, use Which Bin SA to search for nearby locations to recycle unwanted furniture or visit our hard waste page to book a hard waste collection.

Take light globes (including fluorescent lamps and tubes, halogen lamps, tubes, bulbs and incandescent globes, but excluding commercial quantities) to any of the following locations for recycling:

  • Mitre 10
  • Delights (a small charge may apply if you are not making a purchase at the point of disposal)
  • IKEA

We provide a hard waste service to help residents and community groups dispose of waste items that don’t fit in regular bins, including mattresses. Visit our hard waste page to book a hard waste collection.

Take any unwanted medicines to a pharmacy for safe disposal. All chemists accept old medication and pills. Never put unwanted medicines in the waste bin (blue lid) or down the drain.

It's easy to recycle your mobile phone. Simply take it into any mobile phone shop and ask for it to be recycled. Alternatively, you can place it in the mobile muster collection unit in the foyer of the Civic Centre.

Use Which Bin SA to search for nearby locations to recycle oil. Remember to take the oil there in a clean plastic container with a lid on (the original container is ideal). Avoid using paint cans or non-plastic containers.

Residents and painters can dispose of paint for free at Paintback. You can dispose of 100L per visit, stored in 20L containers.

What’s accepted:

  • Deck coating
  • Floor paint
  • Interior and exterior architectural paint (water and solvent based)
  • Primers, undercoats and sealers
  • Stains and shellacs
  • Varnishes and urethanes (single component)
  • Wood coatings (containing no pesticides)

Dry paint can go in the blue general waste bin. To dry the paint, leave the lid off the container or use a paint hardener (available from hardware stores). Then put the dry paint into the general waste bin and recycle the empty tin in the yellow lid bin.

Printer cartridges can be recycled via collection boxes located at the Civic Centre, 163 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide. Other options include Officeworks and JB HiFi stores, and participating Australia Post, Harvey Norman, Good Guys and Office National outlets.

Residents can dispose of up to two domestic smoke alarms in your blue general waste bin per week. Businesses will need to contact the EPA Radiation Protection Branch on 8204 2004.

For information on sharps and syringes, please visit the health services page.

Try the places listed below:

Note that there’s usually a fee to dispose of unwanted tyres.

Some tyre retailers may also accept unwanted tyres.

X-rays can be taken to the following places:

  • Some local radiology centres (but call to check first)
  • Ecocycle, 1A Portsmouth Court, Gillman (drop your x-rays off or post them)
  • The Port Environment Centre, 27 North Parade, Port Adelaide