Before you apply

What you need to consider when designing waste storage.


A well-designed waste storage area: 

  • is easily accessible for occupants and collection vehicles  
  • reduces safety risks  
  • encourages waste minimisation and maximises the collection of recyclables and organic waste
  • reduces noise and odour 
  • can be kept clean and hygienic 
  • is screened from public view 
  • is free from vermin  
  • avoids damage to property when moving bins  
  • may add value to your property.

View an example of a typical waste room layout (54KB PDF). You may find this useful in designing your storage area.

Design considerations


Individual units

If no communal waste storage area is proposed, please allow approximately 1.4m2 of allocated bin storage area per unit.

Communal waste storage area

The storage area should have enough space to hold the amount of waste produced by the occupants of the MUD and allow for appropriate separation of waste streams such as recycling, rubbish, glass, and food scraps.  

To estimate the amount of waste likely to be generated and the size of the storage area you’ll need, you can download a copy of our calculator tool.

Food scraps

In light of climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions from food scraps in landfills, it is likely that food scraps will need to be separated from general rubbish and collected separately. The storage area calculator has an in-built allowance for this.  


It is important that waste storage areas are accessible for both occupants and collectors. It is recommended the waste storage area be on the ground or basement floor. It should be fully contained within the site of the development. 

So everyone can access the waste storage area, the following should be considered:  

Occupant access

  • An occupant should not need to take waste more than 30 metres to reach the storage area  
  • Passageways and doors should be kept free of obstacles such as parked vehicles and be at least 1.5m wide to allow for the manoeuvring of bins  
  • The clearance height should be free of any air conditioning ducts, sprinklers, or other potential obstructions 
  • All bins can be easily accessed i.e. not placed behind another 
  • If bins need to be moved, use appropriate hard surfacing materials such as concrete rather than gravel or grass. 

Collector access

  • Access should allow collection vehicles to enter and leave the site without reversing 
  • The access points and collection area should be free from obstacles and an appropriate gradient 
  • If on-site collection is not possible, then consideration needs to be given to how collections will occur, such as kerb design to allow bins to be taken onto the road, time of day of collection, nearest loading zone and safety for pedestrians and road users 
  • The relevant heavy vehicle standards should be incorporated into the development design of roads and accessways. 

View an example of a waste room layout with vehicle access (38KB PDF) or with no vehicle access (31KB PDF).


Lighting is needed to ensure safety for residents and collectors. Light switches should be easily accessible or on motion sensors. 


The main sources of noise associated with waste management include the emptying of recycling (particularly glass) into bins, and vehicle noise, especially reversing alarms. These sounds can be a significant nuisance for residents and neighbours.  

Below is a list of considerations for reducing noise:  

  • Locate waste and recycling storage areas and collection points as far away as possible from residents and neighbours 
  • Eliminate the need for collection vehicles to reverse 
  • Consider how waste and recycling material will be transferred into bins in the storage area  
  • Ensure the waste storage area is designed to minimise noise  
  • If bins need to be moved, use appropriate hard surfacing materials that will help minimise noise.  


Waste storage areas should be designed and managed to minimise odour.  

Below is a list of considerations for reducing odour:  

  • Ventilation openings in enclosed waste storage areas should be as near the ceiling and/or floor as possible, and away from the windows of nearby units 
  • Ventilation openings in enclosed waste storage areas should be protected against flies and vermin 
  • If a forced ventilation system is used (for enclosed storage areas), it should not be connected to the same ventilation system supplying air to the units 
  • External waste storage areas should not be close to private or communal outdoor living areas or windows. 


Internal communal waste storage areas need to be easy to clean, with access to water (a tap and a hose) and drainage into the wastewater, not stormwater system.  


Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) principles should be applied to the design of communal waste storage areas. The four CPTED principles are:  

  • Surveillance: Allow people to see what others are doing by ensuring visibility into the waste storage area and providing adequate lighting.  
  • Access control: Establish physical and symbolic barriers to restrict the movement of people.  
  • Territorial reinforcement: Create a sense of community ownership to promote use and discourage antisocial behaviours.  
  • Space management: Manage and maintain spaces to ensure that space is appropriately utilised and well cared for, ie. repair or removal of vandalism and graffiti, replacement of burnt-out lighting and removal of litter.  


Any waste storage area should be screened from public view to protect amenity values, and bins in any outdoor waste storage areas will need to be attractive or hidden from the street view. 

Collection frequency

How often waste is collected will make a difference to what size the waste storage area needs to be. Generally, waste from suburban MUDs should be collected weekly. This frequency can be increased for a good reason. For example, if the MUD has a large number of units, it may make sense for collections to be twice a week or more. 

In the CBD, collections often increase to multiple times a week due to the higher number of units and the small areas available for waste storage.  

Contact us

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