Six Easy Steps to Reduce Waste
Refuse → Reduce → Reuse → Repurpose → Recycle → Dispose
We all generate waste, but you can help reduce the impact of what you buy and consume, by following some simple steps.
Read on to find out more about each step and to get some useful tips to manage your own waste.
- If you don’t need it, don’t buy it
- Say NO to single-use items (such as plastic bags, takeaway bottles, disposable coffee cups and straws) and overly packaged goods
- Buy unpackaged foods in your own clean container where appropriate, i.e. at a bulk food shop, market or deli
- Cancel the delivery of phone books, if you have no need for them
- Buy items with less packaging
- Consider reusable produce bags (instead of disposable ones) for fruit and vegetables you can’t buy loose – Search online for options
- Buy groceries you consume often in bulk
- Put a ‘no advertising’ sign on your letter box
- Choose reusable/refillable items over disposable items (e.g. reusable drink bottles, coffee cups, bags, menstrual pads/cups and nappies)
- Repair rather than replace so that you can reuse more
- Donate, sell or give away your unwanted household goods or clothes so others can reuse them (e.g. to family / friends, a charity shop or online through Buy Swap Sell, Ebay, Gumtree or Ziilch)
- Buy pre-loved items (e.g. from the Treasure Chest Shop at the Frankston Regional Recycling and Recovery Centre, from charity shops, at garage sales or online)
- Make unwanted used or broken items into new things
- Gift cards and wrapping paper can be used to make new gift cards and in art and craft activities
- Old sheets beyond repair can be cut up and used as rags or dish cloths
- Recycling items into new products typically uses less energy and fewer resources than manufacturing equivalent products from raw materials
- These recyclable items can go in your yellow-lidded recycling bin
- Food scraps can go in a home compost bin, worm farm or bokashi bin to create nourishment for your garden Alternatively, they can go in your lime-green lidded food and garden waste bin (optional service through Council)
- Visit the A - Z Waste and Recycling Directory to find out how to dispose of many items, including those that are not accepted in your household bins
- Choose products made from recycled materials where possible, such as copy paper and toilet paper
- Disposal to landfill is the last resort
- Most things that can’t be recycled can go in your garbage bin, however there are some exceptions – See our Bin Information page
Waste Free Food and Beverages
Some cafes, restaurants, butchers, fishmongers and poulterers allow customers to purchase food and beverages in their own clean cup or container. In fact, in some cases this is even encouraged with a discount!
Food safety regulations in Victoria do not prohibit a registered food business from serving food or drink in a cup or container provided by a customer.
It is up to the business to decide whether or not to allow/ encourage their customers to bring their own cup/ container.
It is reasonable for a business to assess the cleanliness and condition of the container before putting food/ beverages in it.
Some cafes will serve beverages in a customer’s cup using a contact-free method – See Responsible Cafes.
To find local cafes, restaurants, butchers, delicatessens, fishmongers and poulterers which are happy for customers to bring their own clean container, visit:
Businesses can also register to be listed on the above websites.
For more information, please contact our Environmental Health Team on 1300 322 322
Reducing Waste at Events
Keep waste to a minimum at your next party:
- Use real plates, cups and cutlery; rather than disposable plastics. If you don’t have enough, friends and family are often happy to also bring some along
- Replace paper napkins with reusable cloth napkins
- Avoid disposable straws, as well as balloons
For other tips, view out Waste Wise Events Guide (under Related Information).
Other Waste Saving Initiatives
Choose Tap App
Carry a reusable water bottle and download the free Choose Tap app to help you find your nearest water refill station.
The Last Straw
Plastic straws can’t be recycled and are a common source of litter. Next time you order a drink in a café or bar, just say ‘no straw thanks’. It’s one of the easiest ways to reduce waste.
Food Waste Avoidance
Did you know?
- Almost half of what we throw into the garbage bin is food and garden waste!
The average Victorian household throws out $42 worth of food each week, that’s $2,136 a year! (Sustainability Victoria, 2020)
The Victorian Government’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign provides some handy planning, shopping, storage and cooking tips to help households avoid food waste. To find out more and for delicious recipe ideas for using up leftovers, visit:
Recipe suggestions for leftover ingredients can also be found using the Do Something! Foodwise recipe finder.
Reduce food waste going to landfill to the benefit of your garden and/or pot plants, by composting, worm farming or using a bokashi bucket.
Composting is a natural process where food and garden waste is broken down into rich organic material and soil conditioners, using aerobic decomposition.
Composting is easy. You can compost a large range of food waste and other material types. Compost bins can handle much greater volumes than worm farms and are particularly suited to larger households with gardens.
- Compost can improve soil structure and add nutrients
- Compost and mulch help retain moisture in the soil, saving you water
- Composting can reduce greenhouse gas (including methane) emissions produced by rotting food waste in landfills
- Composting saves landfill space
- Composting reduces the cost of waste disposal to the community
Some things to consider
- You need to turn the materials regularly in your compost (e.g. weekly)
- You need to have somewhere to use your compost
- You need to have space on bare earth to put the compost bin
Worm farming is the use of specialised compost worms to break down food waste into rich solid and liquid matter (worm castings and “juice”) that is great for your garden soil. Worm farming is easy and works by the worms and other micro-organisms eating the food scraps you put in the worm farm.
- Worm juice and castings from your worm farm can add nutrients to your garden and/or pot plants
- Worm farming helps keep food waste out of landfill, reducing methane emissions
- Worm farming reduces the cost of waste disposal to the community
- You don’t have to use any garden materials (just food waste is fine)
- You don’t need access to any bare earth
- You can keep your worm farm in a garage, courtyard, on a balcony or even inside (great for small areas)
Some things to consider
- Worm farms need to be kept out of the sun, as they can die if they overheat too much
- Worms don’t typically like citrus very much, so this usually needs to be kept out of your worm farm
- If you go away for longer than 2 weeks, you will need to get someone to look after them for you
- You don’t get as much solid material to use on your garden (compared with composting)
Small worm farms may not be sufficient for large families, who may wish to consider a high capacity worm farm or compost instead
Bokashi buckets are a great way to create nutrient rich soil conditioner from food waste. They break down food waste anaerobically via a fermentation process. They can take a variety of food waste types, including meat and dairy, which are typically not suitable for compost bins or worm farms. Bokashi buckets are also suitable for smaller homes and apartments, where composting is not an option.
Where do I Purchase a Compost Bin, Worm Farm or Bokashi Bucket?
To purchase a compost bin or worm farm locally, search for suppliers online or contact your local garden centre, plant nursery or hardware store.
Learn More and Stay Informed
Council runs a free Greening our Future environmental events program with sessions for our community, including on composting and worm farming. To stay informed about these events and receive waste and recycling tips and news, you can sign up to Council’s Halve Our Waste e-newsletter. Approximately 3-4 editions are sent out each year.