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Garbage management plan

A garbage management plan is an effective way to reduce garbage generated on board and ensure its effective disposal, to protect our marine environment. Under Australian maritime legislation it is mandatory for certain vessels to carry a garbage management plan.

Your vessel or fixed or floating platform may be subject to inspection by state, territory, or Commonwealth officials to check that you have a garbage management plan on board and are implementing the plan.

Garbage management plans are mandatory for:

  • vessels of 100 gross tonnage and above
  • vessels certified to carry 15 or more people
  • fixed or floating platforms.

A garbage management plan is a written procedure detailing how garbage generated on your vessel will be minimised, collected, stored, processed and disposed.  

Before creating your garbage management plan

Before you write your garbage management plan, consider cost-effective and sustainable measures to reduce and manage generated garbage:

  • reusing and recycling where possible
  • on board processing options
  • use of shore-based facilities for disposal.

Think about how you can minimise domestic garbage through provisioning practices:

  • while bulk-packaged consumable items may create less garbage, consider the shelf-life once a container has been opened to avoid creating garbage.
  • avoid the use of single-use plastics.
  • reusable or recyclable packaging and containers can reduce waste.
  • where possible, use washable items such as crockery and avoid disposable cups, utensils, plates, towels, rags and other convenience items.

How to create your garbage management plan

When preparing your garbage management plan, follow the IMO Guidelines for the development of garbage management plans to make sure your plan will pass inspection.

The information in your plan must be suited to your vessel and take into account its size, equipment on board and the number of persons on board. You must include all sections listed below in your plan.

Your plan doesn’t need AMSA’s approval but when your vessel is surveyed or inspected, your garbage management plan will be checked.  

Required components of your garbage management plan

A. Designated person or persons in charge of carrying out the plan

The person in charge of carrying out the garbage management plan should be assisted by the ship’s crew to ensure that the minimisation, collection, separation and processing of garbage is appropriate and efficient in all areas of the ship. For small vessels with minimal crew members, it will be the responsibility of the owner/operator to determine who will be in charge of the plan and who will be implementing its procedures.

B. Procedures for collecting garbage

This section should identify suitable containers/bins for collection and separation of garbage, and the location of these facilities onboard the ship.  

Include a description of how garbage is to be handled between primary collection and separation stations and other handling methods related to:

  • requirements of reception facilities, taking into account possible local recycling arrangements
  • onboard processing and potential reuse of garbage aboard the ship
  • storage
  • discharge into the sea in those limited situations where it is permitted.  

This section should also describe any training or education programmes used for the collection of garbage and sorting of reusable or recyclable material.

Example text:

Bins will be placed on vessel for both recyclable items and for general waste.

Each bin will be clearly labelled and will be lined with bin liners for ease of disposal and to ensure that liquids are contained.

Bins will also be securely fastened to ensure that they do not move or open and release while at sea.

Food waste that is likely to decompose (such as meat, prawn tails etc) will be double bagged and frozen, ready to be disposed of at shore garbage facilities.

Bins will be on wheels so that garbage can be wheeled off the vessel at port. In instances where only small amounts of garbage are collected, bags will be tied up and carried off vessel.

No garbage will be disposed of at sea, and will be discharged to port waste reception facilities.


C. Procedures for processing garbage

For vessels fitted with equipment to process garbage, this section should identify:

  • available processing equipment and their capabilities
  • location of processing equipment
  • categories of garbage to be processed in each processing equipment
  • personnel responsible for operating the processing equipment  
  • standard operating procedures for the operation and maintenance of processing equipment.

This section should also describe:

  • how recyclable and/or reusable materials will be handled between primary processing locations and the storage or disposal locations
  • processing procedures used, including the procedure used for disposal at sea in those limited situations where it is permitted
  • training or education programs to facilitate the processing of garbage and reuse or recycling of material

If your vessel is not fitted with garbage processing equipment, insert N/A in this section.

Example text 1 

The galley is provided with a comminuter for food wastes and the Chief Cook is responsible for its operation. The comminuter will be operated and maintained as per manufacturer instructions and the comminuter residue will be discharged to the sea when the vessel is en route and more than 3 nautical miles from nearest land or, if in a special area, when the vessel is en route and more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.  

Example text 2

No processing equipment carried on vessel.

All garbage will be disposed of using shore based facilities.

D. Procedures for storing garbage

This section should:

  • identify the location, the intended use, and the capacity of available storage points for each category of garbage
  • describe how garbage will be stored e.g. food – frozen, cans – compacted and stacked
  • explain how bins are fastened to make sure they do not move or open and release while at sea.

This section should also describe training or education programmes used to facilitate the storage of garbage and options for reusing and recycling components.

Example text

Bins will be placed at each end of vessel when transporting passengers.

Bins will also be securely fastened to make sure they do not move or open and release while at sea.

Depending on size and weight of the garbage, bins will either be wheeled or carried off the vessel making sure the bin liner is replaced as soon as the empty bin is returned to the vessel.

Food waste will be disposed of on a daily basis.

All crew members are familiar with garbage management procedures and these are included in induction for new staff members.

E. Procedures for disposing of garbage

Describe the vessel’s procedures to ensure and demonstrate compliance with the requirements of Annex V of MARPOL for disposal of garbage, e.g. shore-based facilities.

Example text

All garbage will be disposed of using shore based facilities.

If shore based facilities are not available, adequate on board storage space will be allocated to make sure that garbage is appropriately managed until suitable shore based facilities are available. 


Garbage management plan example

You can download and edit an example of a Garbage management plan DOCX126.26 KB.

Last updated: 13 August 2020