Inspiring StoryL Warilla Bowls Club

Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club at Shellharbour, just south of Wollongong, is one of the largest bowling clubs in Australia and has a membership of over 20,000. 

With support from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Bin Trim Program, Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club has dramatically reduced the amount of waste it sends to landfill, boosted recycling levels and reaped substantial financial savings.

Recycling & Green Initiatives


As well as investing in the club’s future through the renovation, managers and members also wanted to invest in sustainable practices across the organisation. The staff in particular, championed the idea of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Planning & Implementation

A team of staff worked with a Bin Trim waste assessor to evaluate the club’s waste processes and find solutions to problems. The Bin Trim assessment identified a number of waste processes needing improvement, such as glass, cardboard and green-waste recycling, and recycling within the holiday cabins. However, food waste was the key challenge.

Food waste is a common problem for businesses like Warrilla Bowls and Recreation Club, with food often ending up in landfill and producing methane, a greenhouse gas around 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. As well as being a serious environmental problem, food waste costs money and wastes precious resources.

One of the common problems with managing food waste is limited space in busy kitchens that are not necessarily designed for multiple recycling bins.

Following recommendations by the Bin Trim assessor, the club hired a food- processing machine that converts food into a pulp slurry for external recycling. Using a Bin Trim rebate, the club purchased slim-line bins for separating and collecting food waste. The new bins are colour-coded and clearly signed so separating the waste is a quick and easy task for kitchen staff.

In addition to sorting the food waste problem, the club purchased mixed recycling bins for the holiday cabins and adopted improved cardboard and bottle recycling processes across the organisation.


 "Engage your staff – they are the ones that have to drive the change and reduce your food waste. This cuts your waste bill and helps the environment. It’s win-win for everyone.’ Dan Morris, Operations Manager, Warrilla Bowls and Recreation Club

Results and Benefits

Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club has been able to implement an all-encompassing recycling system, yielding outstanding and ongoing results:

  • Less waste going to landfill: The club’s new recycling system has reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by a vast 130 tonnes each year and increased the club’s recycling by 158%.
  • Lower waste removal costs: This has, in turn, boosted the club’s profits by saving $34,500 a year on waste disposal fees, a 42% reduction in waste expenses.
  • Improved productivity: Work time is used more efficiently and occupational health and safety has improved, as staff no longer need to spend time carrying heavy bags of food waste to external bins.
  • Higher staf morale: Staff enjoy using the system and take an active role in recycling. Effective staff training and engagement across the organisation has been a key factor in the successful implementation of the new waste system.
  • Industry recognition: Through these achievements, Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club won the 2016 South Coast Tourism Award for Sustainable Tourism.

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