Sustainability

Seven top tips to reduce your waste

A person standing at a fresh fruit and vegetable market stall.

We are urging Melburnians to follow seven simple steps to avoid creating waste, and help create a cleaner, greener future.

Reducing the impact of waste is central to our commitment to take action on climate change, plan for a growing city and provide a safe clean city where our community can thrive.

We are working hard to find long-term, sustainable solutions, develop smarter waste management tools, and introduce initiatives that will reduce the volume of waste going to landfill. But innovation can only go so far.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the developed world, we need to get smarter about waste. The days of sending large volumes of waste overseas or to landfill have to end.

Before you buy a product, it’s important to ask yourself if you really need it, or if it will just end up in landfill.

There are so many items we use for only a few minutes that can linger in the environment for thousands of years. The most powerful thing we can do is stop creating so much waste in the first place.

By following these simple steps, you can not only avoid creating waste, but save money, eat more healthily, and support sustainable local businesses.

1. Say no to single-use plastics and packaging
Enjoy your takeaway food and drink in reusable containers and cups, drink tap water instead of bottled drinks, buy unwrapped fresh fruit and vegetables instead of packaged foods, and switch to certified compostable bin-liners.

2. Take your recycling to the Dynon Road recycling centre
Our waste and recycling centre at 437 Dynon Road in West Melbourne is accepting drop off recycling. You can take kerbside recycling items like plastics, cardboard and separated glass to the centre.

3. Compost your food scraps and organic waste
Get a worm farm, composting bin or bokashi composting system. To find neighbourhood composting locations, contact your local communal garden or climate-action group, or try the ShareWaste app.

Did you know you can access discounted worm farms and composting systems through our partnership with Compost Revolution? The products contain 100 per cent recycled materials and are 100 per cent Australian made.

4. Keep recycling and avoid contamination
Continue to separate your recyclables and dispose of your waste mindfully, even during the recycling crisis. This will maintain good habits for the future, and recycling collection will continue as normal.

5. Recycle your e-waste
Deposit your e-waste (anything with a battery or power cable) at one of the collection points we’ve established around the city. To find the locations, visit Waste.

6. Support sustainable businesses
Seek out sustainable retailers and eateries, and spread the word about Earth-conscious startups like Returnr and Unpackaged Eco, which have created smart ways to reduce single-use packaging.

7. Share your waste hacks
Talk about the simple things you are doing to reduce your waste with your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. We are stronger when we work together.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Council is fast-tracking part of its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy to bring forward investment in infrastructure and new technology.

This work will include exploring international best practice for waste disposal in inner city laneways, such as mini-compactor bins, specialised vehicles, and separate collection of different materials.

‘We want to stop recyclables going to landfill as soon as possible and deliver long-term improvements for our residents and businesses,’ the Lord Mayor said.

‘Ultimately we need to work towards the model used by many European countries where recycling streams are collected and processed separately.

‘This is not a process that can be tackled by individual municipalities so we will be working with other councils, the Victorian Government and the community to achieve long-term change.’

To be inspired by a zero-waste living expert, read our interview with Erin Rhoads.

For more information, visit Waste.

Fast facts

  • We collect 30,000 tonnes of residential waste, 11,000 tonnes of recycling, and 6000 mattresses each year.
  • We empty 2000 street and solar compactor bins each day and sweep 312 kilometres of roads each week.
  • We spend $24 million on residential and commercial waste services each year.
  • If Melburnians don’t start consuming less, we will spend $44 million a year on waste collection and disposal by 2030.

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