Workshop Wins

During April and May we delivered a series of nine workshops targeting apartment dwellers within Port Phillip.

They were part of our Behaviour Change Campaign outlined in our Sustainable City Community Action Plan. The Plan aims to support community to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste.

Having been told by community that apartments dwellers, which make up 52% of Port Phillip residents, feel restricted from living a sustainable lifestyle, these workshops aimed to highlight that that doesn't have to be the case. 

A big thanks to the 448 people who registered for the workshops. We were delighted to learn that 81% of attendees suggested they would change their behaviour following the session. It was great to meet so many of you and it confirmed what we already knew - that we have a community that cares.

The workshop series covered topics including energy efficiency, zero waste living, vegan cooking, creating beeswax wrap, waste free meal planning and a speed date a sustainability expert event. Sustainability experts and bloggers were engaged to deliver the workshops at South Melbourne Market, Gasworks, Port Melbourne Town Hall and Council Chamber.

Congrats to our competition winners too, who took home South Melbourne Market vouchers and energy efficient socket switches.

If anyone has changed their behaviour as a result of attending one of the workshops and would like to share their story please do get in touch here

 

What I know about sustainability - Verity McLucas

Today we're sitting down with Seedlings Program Manager, Verity, to ask about her work, her passions and her insights. I have the pleasure of being in the same team as Verity and her passion for working with children and educators is inspiring.   

What is the Seedlings Program?

It’s a holistic sustainability approach, which is guided by principles of 'Education for Sustainability'. The aim is to embed sustainability principles and actions into the curriculum and operations of Early Childhood Education and Care Services to the point that they become 'business as usual'. Seedlings runs in the partner municipalities of Port Phillip, Melbourne, Knox, Yarra Ranges and Alpine Shires - and we have plans for great expansion!

What’s your role?

I manage the Seedlings program's design, delivery, evaluation and budget. I love this role because I absolutely love children and all the positive thought and energy they have to offer the world. I believe their education is one of the most crucial elements in creating resilient and creative communities that understand the systems we all rely on. It is this understanding that will achieve prosperity, health and peace in our changing natural, social and economic environments.

I am also passionate about working with educators - in my opinion, they have the most important job in the world. Through Seedlings, they receive free professional development throughout the year, plus book and online resources. All their training is designed to be predominantly hands-on so they can take the learnings directly back to their service and work to embed the knowledge and practice. I spend a big chunk of my time out at Seedlings services working with educators to develop goals and actions to enrich their curriculum and decrease their service's impact on the environment. 

What sort of things would I see at an outstanding Seedlings service? 

It's very apparent when you walk into a service that is really invested in Seedlings. You'll see sustainability principles and actions are embedded in daily practices, activities, routines and conversations. Sustainability practices will have the full support and commitment from the director of the service. The majority of educators will have an understanding of 'Education for Sustainability' and the positive impact it has on children's education and the wider community.

All staff will know the key sustainability goals the service is striving toward and the actions required to reach them. Staff will take responsibility for their building, understand the impact of its operations on the environment (and the bottom line) and genuinely want to reduce this impact. Finally educators are supported to attend Seedlings professional development workshops and integrate what they learn in to their education program.

Why is it so important that Early Childhood Education and Care Services adopt a sustainable approach to their work? 

The quality of a child's earliest environments and experiences at different stages of development are critical in determining the brain's architecture. Embedding sustainability not only enriches a service’s pedagogy, but it helps to develop in young children an understanding about how their world works, how it supports them, and strategies and skills to create and advocate for a sustainable future.

A natural transference of these learnings and attitudes to the families connected to the service also takes place; and to the broader community when the service's activities reach beyond its front doors. Some Seedlings services have embedded excursions/outdoor learning programs which see the children visit community gardens, the beach, aged-care facilities, local shopping areas, Albert Park Lake, the Botanical Gardens, to name but a few.

Can you tell us about something you saw or heard when visiting a Seedlings service that highlighted the importance of the program?

Visiting a service I am always looking and listening out for signs that sustainability is or is becoming embedded.

I was walking through a service just this week and noticed children finishing their morning tea then going over and emptying the remaining water in their cups on to the garden. They then told me about the food they were growing in their garden and how they love to pick and eat it and make lunch with it. Then, they said, if there are any food scraps left over, they collect it, chop it up, and feed their worms with it. They then told me how the worms make ‘wizz’ that they collect and put back in to the garden to help grow more food. This information came direct from the children with no interjection from the educators.

At another service, even the cook is intensely involved in the education program. Every day, she involves the children in the preparation and cooking of the food. The children pick food from the garden, which she then incorporates in to the meals with the children watching her. She asks them to look in the fridge and they discuss ways they can use food that is starting to wilt, soften or over-ripen - rather than throwing it out.

Another Seedlings services has set a goal to become Port Phillip's first carbon neutral service by 2018. All the children and staff are on board with this goal and sustainability is a part of every educators practice, every day. For them, sustainability is not 'extra work', it is simply a part of their everyday operation and a central component of their overall wellbeing goals.

These are just three examples of the many small, yet vital initiatives that our Seedlings services are doing to lead enriched education for children.

Where would you like to see the program in 2 years time?

I would love to see all 43 ECECS in Port Phillip participating in the program. We are about half way there! I have also been working behind the scenes with our partner councils to 'lift and shift' the program into the public realm and make it freely accessible. At present, to access the Seedlings program, a council needs to invest in it and deliver it to their community. We are working to change that so the program is freely available for any ECECS to utilise. Port Phillip Council will be delivering the Seedlings program into the future with the added view to use elements of the program to enhance the sustainability of other community services.

Why should unregistered services participate in the program?

The Seedlings program makes so much sense. Embedding sustainability links strongly to the Quality areas of the National Quality Standards, so it's an efficient way to enhance a service's Education and Care delivery. Embedding sustainability also makes economic sense. A significant part of the program is developing an understanding of how your building works, taking responsibility for your building's impact on the environment, and setting goals to reduce consumption of water, electricity and gas and output of waste. Some of our Seedlings services have made significant, even drastic, reductions in their consumption. For example, one service, over 12 months, reduced their water use by 60%, their gas use by 60% and their electricity use by 24%.  

Say Not To Single Use

More than 40 percent of plastics generated globally are used just once. Together we can reduce single-use plastics, there are simple things you can do today to make a lasting impact. Here are 4 single use plastic problems and some simple fixes we can all employ. 

The problem - A trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

What you can do - Always bring a reusable bag when you shop.

 

The problem - Nearly a million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute.

What you can do - Go refillable! Carry your own reusable bottle.

 

The problem - 500 million plastic straws are thrown away every day, and that's just in America. 

What you can do - Skip the straw, you don’t need it. Tell your server, “no straw, please” when you order a drink.

 

The problem - 9 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year.

What you can do - End littering. Properly dispose of your own trash and pick up litter when you can.

Five Stars for St Kilda Primary School

St Kilda Primary School are celebrating the news that they have just been awarded a 5 Star school rating from Sustainability Victoria. They are the first school in Port Phillip to achieve the honour and only the 50th in the whole of Australia.  

They started the ResourceSmart Schools program in 2012 and it has taken a lot of commitment from the entire school community to get to this point. Two key decisions in achieving the outcome, was to embed sustainability into their curriculum and employ a dedicated Sustainability Co-ordinator, Anabel Herr. 

Anabel said, "We're all very proud of the achievement, it's been a long journey and a great team effort and we all feel very proud that we've got this far. I would like to specifically thank our Principal, Sue Higgins and Vice Principal, Jo O'Malley . To achieve a result like this you need the backing of the leadership team and that's exactly what's happened here". 

As a result of their work on the program, the school has reduced their operating costs by over $100,000, improved their environmental outcomes and created life-long learners in the process.

Learn more about their approach to sustainability here. The future is certainly bright with schools like them around!

 

 

Where to Compost in Port Phillip

One question that keeps popping up from our community is - "where can I compost my food scraps in Port Phillip? Around half of our household garbage is made up of food & garden waste. Composting keeps these materials out of landfill where they can break down into greenhouse gases. It's encouraging that so many community members are keen to do the right thing and divert from landfill. 

Here are the composting sites in Port Phillip that will accept your organic food waste. They are all sites run by volunteers so make sure you stop, think and chop. If you aren't sure of the composting code of conduct, read our Composting Made Easy fact sheet to better understand the do's and do not's.

Port Phillip Eco Centre, St Kilda

The Port Phillip EcoCentre is a place where environmental solutions are hatched and nurtured.  The EcoCentre is a not-for-profit, community-managed, environment group, providing a base for affiliate groups involved in activities that promote biodiversity, environmental sustainability and community action. They offer organic waste composting systems for the local neighbourhood.

Veg Out, St Kilda

Veg Out is an organic, chemical free community garden run by volunteers and located in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia. They have offered organic composting systems to the local community for many years. 

 The Mary & Basil Community Garden, South Melbourne

The Garden aims to enhance the lives of city-dwelling residents by supporting and linking avid community gardeners who desire to garden organically. They offer organic waste composting systems for the local neighbourhood.

Te-Arai Community Garden, St Kilda East

Located at Te Arai Reserve, the Community Garden aims to be a bountiful, colourful, safe and shared community space. Five raised garden beds provide the neighbourhood with an opportunity to grow and share fresh produce and gardening tips. There are monthly working bees and people pitch in with the ongoing watering and maintenance. They offer organic waste composting systems for the local neighbourhood.

Simply Living Garden

Established by the Port Melbourne Uniting church for all to enjoy, the productive garden includes vegetable beds, herbs and fruit trees, flowering and native plants to attract bees and birds.They offer organic waste composting systems for the local neighbourhood.

The Port Phillip Men's Shed (PPMSA), south melbourne

A relatively small garden plot with 3 reasonable sized compost bins. The best time for organic waste delivery is between 10am - 3pm on  Saturdays at Southport Uniting Care (SPUC) 319 Dorcas St, South Melbourne. They do not accept the following items; animal dropping, tea and coffee bags, citrus peels and onions, fish and meat scraps, dairy products, glossy paper,sticky labels on fruits, sawdust from treated, painted or varnished wood, particle board, large branches, synthetic fertilizers, diseased plants, ivy, plane tree leaves and similar.

ShareWaste

ShareWaste connects people who wish to recycle their kitchen scraps with their neighbours who are already composting, worm-farming or keep chickens. Search to see if there are any compost sites near your home. 

If you know of any other community composting sites please do let us know at enviro@portphillip.vic.gov.au 

Top 5 items contaminating our recycling

Contamination of the recycling stream can be a big problem. Placing significant non-recyclable can contaminate the recycling process and end up costing more money to sort.

We all have a responsibility to make our recycling cleaner. So let’s ensure we reduce contamination from items that are not able to be recycled.

Here are the top 5 waste items that contaminate recycling bins. 

  1. Soft plastics including shopping bags, cling wrap and soft plastic packaging and wrappers. Gather these separately and find out where to recycle these in your community, such as at your local supermarket.
  2. Clothing cannot be processed at recycling centres, so donate wearable clothing to a local charity instead, or reuse as rags around the home.
  3. Keep items out of plastic bags. This one is easy: just bin it – don’t bag it! All recycling items should be loose in the bin. If they are in a plastic bag, the whole lot has to be ditched.
  4. Leave green waste out of the recycling bin. If you have a green bin, put all your grass clippings, prunings and garden waste in there.
  5. Electronic-waste – this includes any electrical items, phones, cables, batteries and computers. E-waste recycling is free at City of Port Phillip, watch the video below to find out how

Other offending items include nappies, ceramic cups and food scraps. 

Free E-Waste Recycling for City of Port Phillip

You can now dispose of your electronic waste (e-waste) for free by taking it to the Resource Recovery Centre or by booking a hard rubbish collection.

Electronic waste is separated from general waste as it often contains hazardous materials that must be treated. The valuable materials in some e-waste can also be recycled.

Changes to state laws mean e-waste cannot become landfill or put in kerbside general waste or recycling bins.

Have your say

Visit Have Your Say and tell us how you recycle your e-waste. The survey closes on the 9th May 2018. 

Items that can be recycled

Entertainment and IT equipment

  • computer monitors and hard drives
  • laptops
  • tablets and iPads
  • televisions: flat screen and CRT
  • remote controls
  • printers
  • DVD players and VCRs
  • stereos and speakers
  • mobile phones
  • gaming equipment
  • electronic toys

Kitchen and bathroom appliances

  • microwaves
  • kettles
  • toasters
  • coffee machine
  • rice cookers
  • blender and mixers
  • sandwich press
  • hairdryer
  • hair straightener

Other electronic household appliances

  • electric fans
  • lamps
  • electric tools
  • oil heaters
  • batteries
  • light bulbs: LED, fluorescent and halogen

Resource Recovery Centre

The Resource Recovery Centre, located on the corner of White and Boundary streets in South Melbourne, is open:

  • Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm

Why Buy a Car When You Can Share?

Car sharing has taken the world by storm and is operating in over 600 cities, including the City of Port Phillip.

Car share works by giving members access to cars for use either by the hour or by the day. There are designated parking spaces for these cars so members can avoid parking hassles when they're finished with the car.

The usage fee covers all expenses, including petrol, insurance, registration and maintenance. People who drive less that 5,000 km per year will likely find car share saves them money.

Car share also reduces the amount of cars in our city, relieving pressure on parking and reducing congestion.

"Being a car share member means I don't need to own my own car, leaving one more space on the street for people who really need it" Craig, Elwood resident.

The City of Port Phillip is now home to over 100 car share vehicles provided by:

Some Port Phillip residents make their vehicles available for sharing, through neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing platform Car Next Door.

Find out more about car share in the City of Port Phillip here and explore our Car Share Policy.

South Melbourne Market Are Waste Winners

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In a major win for the environment, City of Port Phillip's, South Melbourne Market is recycling its organic waste and turning it into nutrient-rich garden fertilisers. With the help of 1 billion wriggly worms and a shiny dehydrating machine, the market recycles its organic waste and turns it into nutrient-rich garden fertilisers.

The GaiaRecycle Unit converts all offal, food and preparation waste, expired food products, ground coffee and plate scraps into fertiliser. It converts approximately 360 tonnes of product annually, every 2 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill has the same GHG reduction effect as taking a car off the road for a year (360 tonnes = 180 cars off the road).

The hard work and innovation has paid off, with the Market scooping a number of prestigious awards for its Organic Waste Management Program, including, the Award for Sustainability through The Local Government Professionals and The Environmental Sustainability Award through IPAA Victoria. 

The Program offers a number of environmental benefits

  • Reduction of organic waste in landfill saving landfill space for other purposes and eliminating the anaerobic rotting of the waste which generates methane and leachate.
  • Elimination of carbon emissions that result from transporting the waste to landfill.
  • What was previously discarded as waste now has an environmental (soil) value.
  • The economic payback from the process arises from the long-term reduction or elimination of fees for hiring skips or bins and paying landfill tipping fees.
  • Completing the circle on food waste from South Melbourne Market – with nothing to landfill, benefits back to community and the earth.
  • South Melbourne Market and its owner the City of Port Phillip as leaders in waste diversion, sustainability and innovation.
  • Being part of a meaningful change and providing a Market for future generations.

Watch this short video to discover how they turn their waste into something of value.

City of Port Phillip Joins the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project

The City of Port Phillip has joined some of Melbourne’s most iconic organisations to come together to support the development of a wind farm that will be built near Ararat in regional Victoria.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) has united 14 leading universities, cultural institutions, corporations and Councils to source energy from the new 80 MW wind farm.  The group is led by the City of Melbourne and includes the University of Melbourne, RMIT, Federation Square, City of Port Phillip, City of Yarra, Moreland City Council, Bank Australia, Zoos Victoria, Citywide, National Australia Bank, Australia Post, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and NEXTDC.

Mayor Bernadene Voss said Council is proud to be an active partner in the MREP group. “Under the plan, we will switch Council’s electricity supply to a 100 per cent renewable energy source. This means everything from street lights to Council buildings, including town halls and community centres, will be powered by clean green energy,” she said. 

The group plans to purchase 88 GWh of energy, which is the equivalent to powering more than 17,000 households in Melbourne for a year, thus removing 96,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking 22,000 cars off the road. 

“As there will be no greenhouse gas emissions from this new electricity supply, our Council’s total emissions will drop 87 per cent. This puts us in a great place to achieve our target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions for our Council by 2020.” said Cr Voss. 

The Project answers calls from the local community for Council to do its bit in the fight against climate change.

Solar Bulk Buy Program

The City of Port Phillip is pleased to provide you with a cheaper and more convenient way to purchase solar panels. We have partnered with Positive Charge to get a great deal on solar panels for you.

Positive Charge will provide City of Port Phillip residents with;

  • reliable and independent advice on the appropriateness of solar for your property
  • an obligation-free quote from a carefully selected, reliable and reputable solar supplier, approved by the Clean Energy Council
  • a great deal on the solar panels due to a negotiated discount
  • a 25 year warranty on the output of the panels and a 10 year warranty on the inverter and the installation.

The program is being funded by Council as part of its commitment to reducing community greenhouse gas emissions.

If you would like to know more phone Positive Charge on 03 9385 8555  or obtain an obligation-free quote from the selected solar supplier by signing here.   

Smart Solutions for Apartments Program

Calling all apartment owners and managers!

Do you own or manage an apartment building within the City of Port Phillip?

Would you like to improve the efficiency and sustainability of your apartment building whilst reducing operating costs?

The Smart Solutions for Apartments Program will support you to improve energy efficiency, access renewable energy and reduce water and waste, within your apartment building. The program also aims to reduce the operating costs of your apartment building.

We are offering a free sustainability assessment for 10 apartment buildings within the City of Port Phillip. The assessment identifies potential sustainability improvements and illustrates the cost savings that can be achieved.

For further information and to apply please email the Sustainable Programs team at enviro@portphillip.vic.gov.au or phone 03 9209 6690. We’d love to hear from you.

Join the Compost Revolution

Get your compost on! We are excited to partner with Compost Revolution to offer Port Phillip residents a 50 per cent discount on one of three composting solutions. Residents are eligible for one item per household including free delivery as well as tip sheets and advice. Choose from;

  • a compost bin - this bin can handle greater volumes but needs a garden space to be set up and requires more manual labour
  • a bokashi (kitchen compost) bin -this is a good solution if you have limited space as it can be kept on your kitchen bench
  • a worm farm - this is neat and easy to use, especially if you have a small space.

Using home composting systems successfully diverts organic waste from landfill.  These systems help to reduce our impact on climate change as food waste releases harmful greenhouse gases as it breaks down in landfill. 

Learn how to get your discounted compost bin, bokashi or worm farm here.