5 easy steps to reduce waste

We all generate waste, but you can help reduce the impact of what you buy and consume with these 5 easy steps.

1. Refuse

  • 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, straws and overly packaged goods.
  • Say NO to plastic straws. Plastic straws can't be recycled. Visit The Last Straw for more information.
  • Buy unpackaged foods in your own clean container where appropriate. Visit our waste free food and beverages page to find local providers.
  • Cancel the delivery of phone books, if you have no need for them.

2. Reduce

  • Buy items with less packaging.
  • Consider reusable produce bags (instead of disposable ones) for fruit and vegetables you can’t buy loose.
  • Put a ‘no advertising’ sign on your letter box.
  • Reduce plastic-use at your next event. Use real plates, cups and cutlery rather than disposable items. If you don't have enough, ask friends and family to bring some along. You can also buy items from a local op shop, and re-donate when your event is over. Avoid balloons and plastic straws, and replace paper napkins with reusable cloth napkins.
  • Reduce food waste by only buying what you need and planning ahead. The Victorian Government's Love Food Hate Waste website has helpful tips on meal planning, shopping and putting your leftovers to good use. 
  • The Do Something! Foodwise recipe finder also has tips on turning your leftovers into yummy meals.
  • Visit the Sustainability Victoria website for more information on food waste in Victoria.

3. Reuse

  • Choose reusable or refillable items over disposable items such as drink bottles, coffee cups, bags, nappies and menstrual pads or cups.
  • Download the Choose Tap app for tips on using reusable drink bottles and to find your local water refill station.
  • Repair damaged items rather than replacing them.
  • Donate, sell or give away your unwanted household goods or clothes so others can reuse them. Give to family or friends, donate to a local op shop, hold a garage sale or sell online through websites such as Buy Swap Sell, eBay, Gumtree or Ziilch.
  • Buy pre-loved items to give them a second lease on life!

4. Repurpose

5. Recycle

  • Recycling items into new products typically uses less energy and fewer resources than manufacturing equivalent products from raw materials.
  • Make sure you know what items can go in your yellow lid recycling bin. Visit our what goes in my bins? page for more information.
  • Add a compost bin, worm farm or Bokashi bucket to your household to turn food scraps into nourishing compost for your garden.
  • Add food scraps and waste to your lime-green lidded food and garden waste bin (optional service through Council).
  • Visit the 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.

View our Waste and Recycling Directory for tips on where to recycle or dispose of items that can't go in your household bins.

To learn more or get involved, subscribe to our Halve Our Waste e-Newsletter for tips and information on upcoming community events.