Waste and recycling facilities

Transfer Stations

Transfer stations are not a landfill or dump. They are designed to receive local residents' domestic self-hauled waste and recycling that can be separated into various waste streams for transfer and disposal to recycling facilities.

Items taken to the transfer station include: oils, paints (spray paint cans), gas bottles, fire extinguishers, tyres, medical waste, batteries, smoke detectors, green waste, general household waste and unused household furnishings. Items that are non-recyclable are taken to the Advanced Resource Recovery Facility (ARRF) or to landfill.

Please note that you can take household recyclable items such as paper, cardboard, steel, aluminium, plastic and glass to your local transfer station FREE of charge, excluding Bramston Beach Waste Disposal Site.

Accepted items, fees and charges

View the list of accepted items for disposal at our transfer stations and their associated costs. Eftpos accepted.

Alternatively, you can contact any of the transfer stations through Council's customer service line, 1300 69 22 47.

Locations and operating hours

Location Operating Hours Closed
Portsmith Transfer Station, 37 -51 Lyons Street, Portsmith 8:30am-5:15pm seven days Christmas Day
Smithfield Transfer Station, Lot 1 Dunne Road, Smithfield 7:00am-5:15pm Monday to Saturday, 9:00am-5:15pm Sunday Christmas Day and annual Ironman event.
Gordonvale Transfer Station, Lot 1 Bruce Highway, 
8:30am-5:15pm seven days Christmas Day
Babinda Transfer Station, Lot 1 Kruckow Road, Babinda 8:30am-4:45pm (five days) Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Christmas Day
Bramston Beach Transfer Station, Lot 1 Evans Road, Bramston Beach 9:00am-3:30pm (two days) Saturdays and Tuesdays
* This is a single bin Waste Disposal Site and accepts household municipal solid waste only. Please note: no recycling, green waste, hazardous waste or commercial waste is accepted
Christmas Day

Financial Assistance for Not for Profit Organisations

Eligible not-for-profit (NFP) organisations may be able to access relief either in full or part waiver of listed fees relating to venues, licences & approvals, plumbing applications, waste disposal and development assessment. For more information and eligibility criteria, download the Financial Assistance for NFP Organisations Fact Sheet ( PDF, 0.19 MB ).

Commercial waste disposal accounts

Commercial waste accounts are available at the Portsmith Transfer Station for disposing green waste. Transactions are saved against their account and monthly invoices are issued for the waste that has been disposed.

Applications for a commercial waste disposal account will be subject to a credit check. Complete and submit the application for credit account for Council waste disposal facility form ( PDF, 0.42 MB ).  Once approved, the account will be added to the requested transfer station and the company will be advised of the approval of their application.

Our Facilities

Buy Back Shop

Council's Buy Back Shop is popular with residents and processes more than 600 tonnes of material each year. Attracting around 580 visitors per week, many satisfied customers leave with a "unique little something" from their shopping experience. Often these products undertake a transformation and become valuable, new and usable products.

The Buy Back Shop, located at the Portsmith Transfer Station, is open 9am – 4pm, Wednesday - Sunday.  Direct visitors to the Buy Back Shop no longer have to access it via the Portsmith Transfer Station gate.

Materials Recovery Facility

When you place your yellow-lid recycling bin on the kerb for collection the contents are taken to the Materials Recovery Facility in Cairns. Items are then sorted and separated into plastics, paper, steel and aluminium and baled. All of these items are transported to Brisbane for recycling processes.The glass is separated and crushed to be used in Council water and waste operations.

Advanced Resource Recovery Facility (ARRF)

All general waste from kerbside collections is taken to the Advanced Resource Recovery Facility, operated under contract by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery, Portsmith. General waste is processed into compost. Any residual waste (non-organic waste that cannot be processed) is transported to landfill on the Atherton Tablelands.

For further information please visit SUEZ.

Community initiatives

Free Green Waste Disposal

Green waste from the garden can be taken to Council's Transfer Stations year round (fees apply).

Council has now doubled its free green waste disposal periods, but discontinued its shredded green waste giveaway program.

It was identified that the free shredded green waste may have contained a range of restricted matter, such as invasive plants and animals, which could have posed a significant biosecurity risk to the environment in the Cairns Regional Council area.

The termination of free shredded green waste has removed the potential biosecurity risks associated.

In order to maintain current service levels, the two annual shredded green waste giveaways have been replaced with additional free green waste periods.

Free green waste periods will be staged quarterly each year, for a length of nine days each, covering two weekends each.

The disposed green waste will be collected by contractors, who will turn it into a mulch product.

Dates and locations are advertised on the CRC What's On page, Facebook, My Cairns app, and in "Council In Action" in The Cairns Post and Innisfail Advocate prior to each free disposal period.

Last updated: 06 October 2020