Clarendon Children’s Centre Is Officially Excellent

There’s a sense of pride at Clarendon Children’s Centre in South Melbourne that is evident in the beautiful garden, the stimulating rooms, the nutritious meals, the knowledgeable staff and, most of all, the smiling children.

The pride is well deserved, they are the only children’s centre in City of Port Phillip to achieve an Excellent rating from ACECQA, the National regulatory authority. One of the keys to their success and outstanding reputation is their approach to embedding sustainability in their teaching practice and the way they operate.

The Co-ordinator, Linda Davison, who has been at Clarendon Children’s Centre for 31 years, understands the importance of valuing sustainability. “When you work with young children you have a sense of responsibility and understanding that they are inheriting something from us and we need to make sure we do our best by them”.

Sustainability is part of the culture; whether it’s the cook’s enthusiasm for including herbs and veggies into daily meals that the kids have picked from the garden, Linda’s commitment to allocating funds for sustainability, the children’s love for the worms or the educators’ ability to incorporate sustainability into the everyday curriculum.

A recent solar installation means they have now received their second negative electricity bill. They have also installed three rainwater tanks, undergone an insulation upgrade and set up two worm farms. They continue to strive to reduce their impact and plan to eliminate their gas use to operate only on renewable solar electricity.

Clarendon Children’s Centre is part of a group of 26 Early Years services involved in City of Port Phillip’s ‘Seedlings’ Program. Seedlings was established to support Early Years services to embed sustainability education in their pedagogy and to reduce their energy, water and waste impacts. The program continues to generate outstanding results, but relies on people like Linda and all her staff to get involved and create a culture of sustainability leadership that spreads throughout the centre.

City of Port Phillip Wins Water Sensitive Cities Award

The City of Port Phillip recently received the inaugural Water Sensitive Cities Award from the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. The award recognises water sensitive principles being applied on the ground. 

The City’s strong performance, which led to the award, is largely attributed to high scores in:

  1. improving productivity and resource efficiency

  2. achieving equity of essential services

  3. increasing community capital

  4. ensuring good water sensitive governance

  5. promoting adaptive infrastructure.

The City of Port Phillip is located beside Port Phillip Bay and at the mouth of the Yarra River. Well known for its beaches and foreshore it is also at the bottom of the Elster Creek Catchment, making it subject to historical flooding. Due to this unique location, the City of Port Phillip has had to manage its water in adaptive and collaborative ways to minimise the impacts of flooding and take advantage of the beautiful bayside location.

Draught Proofing Your Home

9 out of 10 homes in Victoria have unwanted draughts and at this time of year they are particularly unwanted.

Draught proofing is finding and fixing draughts to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Whilst good ventilation helps reduce condensation and damp and can help cool down a hot house, draughts are uncontrolled – they let too much cold air in and waste too much heat.

Draughts come into your house through gaps and cracks around doors, windows, exhaust fans, fireplaces and so on. To draught-proof your home you will firstly need to find the draughts.

  • Look for obvious gaps 
    Visible light under and around doors and windows is a good clue.

  • Listen for rattles or whistling 
    Take time out, especially during strong winds, to listen for rattles and whistling around doors and windows.

  • Feel for moving air 
    Feel around doors, windows, fireplaces, air outlets, vents, stairways, floorboards, exposed rafters and beams, built-in heaters and air conditioners, architraves and skirting boards.

  • Look for movement in curtains
    Movement in and around curtains can be an indicator of draughts.

Discover the best approach to seal the different draughts around your home.


The Victorian Energy Saver Incentive Scheme provides support to Victorians who install certain draught-proofing and weather-sealing products.

Warning - Special care needs to be taken in houses that have internal gas appliances, especially houses with:

  • flueless gas heaters

  • a gas heater installed in a chimney

  • an open flued gas heater.

Fixed ventilation openings required for flueless and open flued gas heaters must not be blocked.

Reframing Recycling

After what was a hugely frustrating time for everyone, Port Phillip Council started sending recyclables to be processed again on the 13 March 2019.

This event has sparked a healthy debate about the role of recycling and our culture of consumption. Where possible we all need to play our part in taking some of the burden off the recycling industry.

Recycling alone cannot solve our waste management challenges. Here are 10 simple ways to reduce our dependency on recycling and consider our consumption choices:

  1. The first question we should be asking whenever we want a new item - do I actually need this item? If the answer is yes, could I reuse an existing item I already have or acquire the item from an op shop, friend or family member?

  2. Eliminate single use plastic; from shopping bags and coffee cups to straws and food containers, choose a reusable option.

  3. Go paper free; newspapers, bills and statements can all be viewed online to minimise our waste paper.

  4. Put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your letter box, to avoid unwanted, unnecessary paper waste.

  5. Visit your local repair café and let them work their magic when an item is broken, rather than throw it away.

  6. Reuse old jars, bottles and containers to store other household items. 

  7. Make sure you’re getting your recycling right and not contaminating the other recyclables.

  8. Bulk buy any staple items to minimise packaging waste.

  9. Choose to refill containers of food, drink and cosmetic items wherever possible.

  10. Upcycling, seeing a need and filling it not with a new product but rather a mix of those you have or aren’t using, can be a great way to give your old things a new life.

Let us know if you do anything in your day to day life to minimise your dependence on recycling.

Green Your Office With CitySwitch

CitySwitch Green Office is a free program that helps commercial office tenants to reduce their environmental footprint.

CitySwitch provides resources and services including tools, self-assessment templates, free advice and walk-through audits, access to funding, no-cost workshops and networking events, annual awards and industry research.

CitySwitch can offer you the know-how and assistance to become a sustainability leader. Here are three of their most popular resources:

City of Port Phillip is a CitySwitch member since 2012 and values it’s work, in Port phillip 48 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the non-residential sector.

Discover how CitySwitch helped local architect and interior design firm, Baenziger Coles, to reducing their carbon emissions and become local environmental leaders.

If you’re a commercial office tenant, join CitySwitch and discover how small changes can make a big difference to Australia’s future environmental health. For more information visit CitySwitch.

Party Like A Sustainability Rock Star

Whether it's Meredith Music Festival, St Kilda Festival or Womadelaide; as the weather warms up thousands of us will be looking forward to weekends packed with music, camping and the dubious joys of festival toilets.

Going to a festival or outdoor event doesn’t mean you have to throw all your sustainable lifestyle choices out the window. With a teeny bit of effort, you can leave knowing you partied as planet-friendly as you possibly could!

First and foremost, do your research – try to choose an event that boasts some serious sustainable credentials, look out for events that;

  • treat their sewerage and grey water on-site

  • reduce waste to landfill through recycling and composting

  • use renewable fuels

  • encourage locally sourced organic food

  • provide and encourage the use of public transport

  • incorporate environmentally themed talks into their programs

Whilst the organisers play a big part in minimising the environmental impact of their event, you can also play a big part.

Here’s our top tips to enjoy events like a sustainability rock star;

Transport - Transport is unsurprisingly the biggest CO2 emitter of any aspect of an event. Try to reach yours by public transport, if you must drive squeeze everyone in, and split the petrol costs, save on parking, take turns driving and best of all, avoid taking multiple cars.

Waste - Waste is of course the most visible concern when it comes to the environment. Don’t litter and sort your waste into the correct bins. Bring your own reusable ‘picnic set’ (plate, cup and cutlery), with these few small items, you could almost go the whole weekend, waste free.

Fashion – Resist the urge to treat yourself to a new outfit and have fun with your wardrobe, visit a local op shop or get together with friends and have a clothes swap.

Tents - Borrow camping gear from friends and family or share different camping items with your tent neighbours.

Water – Leave the slabs of plastic bottled water on the shelf and instead fill up your reusable water bottle from the taps.

Toilets – As unappealing as it can be, use the toilets provided. Peeing at will is not good for the soil

Take it with you – Leave nothing but your footprints

Being sustainable at a festival or event doesn’t mean you need to forgo fun. Making mindful choices and planning a few things in advance will mean you can leave knowing you partied like a sustainability rock star.

Slip, Slop, Slap Sustainably

Sunscreen is a non-negotiable. However new research suggests chemicals found in some sunscreens are linked to coral bleaching.

Scientists say chemicals found in sunscreen, in particular oxybenzone and octinoxate, can be just as dangerous to coral life and its depletion as warming ocean temperatures and extreme weather conditions.

An estimated 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen is deposited in the world’s oceans each year. Last year Hawaii became the first US State to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate. From January 2021 you won’t be able to holiday there without reef-approved sunscreen. The Western Pacific Ocean island of Palau has also banned many kinds of sunscreens.

Research from the Port Phillip EcoCentre reveals a list of affordable reef-safe sunscreen brands. This information is correct as of November 2018.

  • SunButter Oceans have an extensive range of reef-safe sunscreen options.

  • Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen

  • Eco Logical Natural Sunscreen

  • Life Basics All Natural Sunscreen

  • Natural Instinct Natural Sunscreen

  • Swisse Natural Defence Sunscreen

  • MooGoo Natural Sunscreen

  • Globally, the most highly recommended reef-friendly sunscreen brands are ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen, Badger Tinted Sunscreen, Tropical Sands All Natural Sunscreen, Kokua Hawaii Natural Zinc Sunscreen, and Manda Organic.

Libraries Powered up to Recycle E-Waste

E-waste is the fastest growing category of waste worldwide. One in five Australians have a stash of unwanted e-waste items like phones, laptops and batteries in their house or office. From 1 July 2019, e-waste will no longer be accepted in landfill sites across Victoria, it must be recycled. E-waste contains valuable resources that can be reused as well as some nasty materials that are bad for the environment.

This week libraries in St Kilda, Port Melbourne and Albert Park have installed e-waste recycling bins. Any small electronic item with a cord or a battery can now be recycled for free at participating libraries as well as the Resource Recovery Centre.

Find out more about e-waste here and how it relates to Port Phillip here.

St Kilda Festival Says Hello to FOGO

St Kilda Festival is Australia’s largest community festival; a celebration of community spirit, live local music and the beautiful St Kilda foreshore. Always blessed with incredible musical talent, thousands of smiling faces and a plethora of tasty treats, this year there’ll be one big difference. Organic waste will not go to landfill.

As well as recycling and general waste bins, this year attendees will also be able to dispose of any organic waste correctly. With the festival attracting over 460,000 attendees this is a hugely positive environmental outcome and a giant step in the right direction.

Get excited about this year’s festival here and discover how to party like a sustainability rock star here.

10 Sustainable Ways to Declutter Like Kondo

Australia is collectively being decluttered thanks to a certain Marie Kondo and her Netflix documentary, Tidying Up. Throw in the spike in consumption over the holiday season and some minimalist new year’s resolutions and there is a risk of vast numbers of items ending up as landfill rather than rehomed, fixed, upcycled or recycled.

Here’s 10 ways to declutter sustainably (Kondo would approve);

  1. Consider selling unloved items on sites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook.

  2. Contact your local charity group to see if they are willing to pick up your unwanted furniture.

  3. Gift your once-loved items to a friend or family member.

  4. Take your old TVs and computers to drop off points where they are recycled as part of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.

  5. Drop your mobile phones and tablets off for recycling at MobileMuster collection points , including Port Phillip town halls.

  6. Offer your good quality clothes to charities or consider having a clothes swap with friend.

  7. Contact Port Phillip Council to find out how your items can be recycled locally.

  8. E-waste can now be recycled at Port Melbourne, Albert Park and St Kilda libraries.

  9. Rather than throw out a broken item, consider taking it along to the St Kilda Repair Cafe and give it a new lease of life instead.

  10. Don’t fall into the trap of replacing decluttered items with new items, make a promise to yourself to consume less.

Now go get your declutter on!

Port Phillip Just Got Greener

Making the move to 100 per cent renewable energy is the ultimate New Year’s resolution! Every light on our streets, every barbecue in our parks and every light in our buildings is now powered by renewable energy.

City of Port Phillip is part of an innovative wind power project that will reduce its total emissions by 87 per cent. Since 1 January 2019 everything from street lights to Council buildings has been powered by renewable electricity.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) is an Australian first involving 14 organisations purchasing 88 GWh of electricity each year – that’s enough to power more than 17,000 households in Melbourne annually. The electricity is sourced from a new purpose built 80MW wind farm at Crowlands, a small agricultural community north of Ararat.

Find out more about MREP here

5 Ways to Take the Heat Off Local Flora and Fauna

We're not the only ones that wilt in the Melbourne sun, here's 5 easy ways to take the heat off our local flora and fauna;

1 - Furry and feathered friends will thank you for a shallow dish of water, as high as possible and in the shade.

2. Show your nearest street tree appreciation for all the shade it provides with an occasional bucket of water.

3. Water garden beds and veggie patches in the cool of morning and insulate with a layer of mulch.

4. Pamper your pets with access to shade, ice cubes in water bowels and wet blankets to lie on

5. Keep your worms wriggling with worm farms in the shade or in garages, frozen water bottles buried deep and a wet blanket on the outside.

They'll thank you with birdsong, shade, produce, kisses and fertiliser

The Do's and Do Not's of Recycling

Minimisation of waste is amongst the biggest challenges we face as a Council. Businesses and residents can play a big part in that by recycling right. We’ve put together a simple checklist of the do’s and do not’s of recycling.

5 DO RECYCLE - The easy wins

  1. Paper and cardboard

  2. Cartons

  3. Metal Cans

  4. Glass jars and bottles

  5. Plastic Containers

5 DO NOT RECYCLE - The main contaminants

  1. Soft plastics

  2. Clothing

  3. Green Waste.

  4. Electronic-waste

  5. And never bag your recyclables, keep it loose.

And remember recycling is a last resort, look to reduce and reuse first. Find out more about recycling in City of Port Phillip here.

Love Our Bay

In case you’ve been living under a stone last month Harry and Meaghan, otherwise known as Duke and Duchess, mucked in with Port Phillip EcoCentre student leaders and Beach Patrol to clean a South Melbourne beach. And with very good reason.

Research by the Port Phillip EcoCentre has found that 828 million pieces of litter flow into the Port Phillip Bay every year, with 74% of these items being microplastics. Polystyrene, plastic straws, nurdles (pre-production microplastic pellets, around the size of a grain of rice), soft plastic, and hard plastic remnants of larger items are the most commonly found types of litter in the Bay.

Port Phillip Bay’s biodiversity is far greater than most locals or visitors would imagine with 80 per cent of the aquatic life found in the Port Phillip Bay found nowhere else in the world! Healthy biodiversity has been shown to help reduce the impacts of climate change.

While Harry and Meghan were in and out in the flash of a paparazzi camera, we are left to acknowledge that it is all of our responsibilities to take care of the Port Phillip Bay, and a beach litter clean-up is an excellent start.

If you want to find out how you can help to keep our Bay clean contact Port Phillip EcoCentre, Beach Patrol or Earthcare St Kilda #LoveOurBay.

Become a Citizen Scientist

We’ve teamed up with RMIT and the University of New South Wales to measure microclimate in City of Port Phillip and we need your help. We’re looking for 100 enthusiastic volunteers to give two hours of your time between 22 - 24 February 2019.

With the number of extreme hot days predicted to increase significantly over the next few decades in all Australian cities, the results from this study will provide data required for citizens to understand, mitigate and adapt to extreme heat.

Through participating you will be well-informed to respond to extreme heat through an understanding of design features, greenery and materials affecting the local urban microclimate.

It’s also an excellent opportunity for children as young as 12 to participate in an impactful science project.

To register your interest in participating in this groundbreaking environmental project and for further information, click here.

Art is Power - LAGI Melbourne 2018

From 19 -28 October the City of Port Phillip and partners presented an exhibition combining design and sustainability from a shipping container in the centre of the Acland Street Plaza, St Kilda.

286 people voted on site for their favourite Land Art Generator Initiative 2018 Melbourne shortlisted project. Many more stopped past to look and engage in discussions.

The winner of the public vote are as follows;

First place:

Light Up, 1st Place Winner to LAGI 2018 Melbourne

TEAM: Martin Heide, Dean Boothroyd, Emily Von Moger, David Allouf, Takasumi Inoue, Liam Oxlade, Michael Strack, Richard Le (NH Architecture);

Mike Rainbow, Jan Talacko (Ark Resources); John Bahoric (John Bahoric Design); Bryan Chung, Chea Yuen Yeow Chong, Anna Lee, Amelie Noren (RMIT Architecture Students)


Second place:

St Kilda Halo, a submission to LAGI 2018 for Melbourne

TEAM: Pete Spence, Hiroe Fujimoto, Sacha Hickinbotham, Michael Richards, Alison Potter, Jason Embley (Grimshaw Architects)

TEAM LOCATION: Melbourne, Australia

Third place:

Ngargee, a submission to LAGI 2018 Melbourne

TEAM: Soren Luckins, Ashleigh Adams, George Thompson, Kate Luckins, Alan Pears, Erin Pears, Peter Bennetts, Jasmine Sarin, Elder Arweet Carolyn Briggs, Rae Fairbairn, Dave Stelma

TEAM LOCATION: Melbourne, Australia

It was great to have many interesting conversations with the community and visitors about the place of renewable energy technology in public art and spaces and about how the future will need artists, architects and engineers to effectively work together for quality outcomes.

Over 60 adults and children participated in workshops and activities for the duration of the exhibition, sessions included:

  • Cyanotype printing

  • Children’s storytime

  • Sensory garden

  • Bonsoy wallet

  • Plant swap meet

Project teams from Grimshaw Architecture, NH Architecture & ASPECT Studios hosted interactive displays during the program also.

How to Green Your Halloween

Here are five ways to treat the environment this Halloween - save the tricks for the kids.

1. Petrifying pumpkins

You can’t have Halloween without a spooky jack o lantern. Try and get your hands on a pumpkin that is locally grown and organic. Compost your leftover pumpkin, plant or roast the seeds and use the insides to cook with. Alternatively break from tradition and carve up an in-season watermelon, the ghoulish green lends itself.

2. Creepy costumes

It’s scary the amount of new costumes that are purchased each year - most are made from unsustainable materials, overseas and are served up in plastic packaging. Reuse what you already have; an old bedsheet ghost still gets a scream. A visit to your local op shop is sure to provide the perfect finishing touches. Get your freaky on.

3. Scary styling

Put the horror in your home with some truly horrific decorations. Lave the non-recyclable plastics on the shelf and get craft in a very creepy way.  Pumpkins and corns have a chilling charm. Old stockings can be spun into spider webs, pipe cleaners for scuttling spider legs, toilet rolls for flapping bats and cardboard boxes for terrifying tombs. A liberal splatter of cornflour blood hand prints is the perfect finishing touch. Get inspired.

4. Terrifying treats

Ditch the plastic wrapped lollies in favour of bloodcurdling baked goods. Anyone for a skull cookie or perhaps an eyeball jelly? If you can’t resist some chilling chocolate look out for fairtrade and organic stamps.

5. Horrifying Halloween Parties

If you choose to throw a petrifying party this Halloween make sure you avoid single-use plastic plates, cups, and cutlery and use regular crockery and cutlery instead. Feel free to serve up your most terrifying trick to anyone who breaks the rules.

Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) Scoops Award

City of Port Phillip took home the Premier’s Sustainability Award in the Government category for our work to make the ambitious Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) a reality.

MREP is a local government-led collaboration between public and private sectors to deliver electricity cost certainty while driving investment in renewable energy projects. The project demonstrates local government innovation and leadership in de-carbonising the electricity supply, which will play a critical role in attaining the Council’s ambitious climate goals for our organisation and the community we serve.

As part of MREP, Council will be supplied with 100 per cent green power for the next decade, reducing Council’s gross emissions by 87% and making it possible to attain and sustain our goal of zero net emissions by 2020/21 and beyond.

Council’s participation in the project involved active contributions staff from across council, including finance, assets, procurement, governance and sustainability over the last three years.

MREP enabled the construction of a new 80MW wind farm at Crowlands, a small agricultural community north of Ararat. The MREP partners have signed long-term contracts to purchase 88GWh of electricity each year, which will avoid 96,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution every year. The project will also create 140 jobs during the wind farm construction, eight ongoing jobs, and new opportunities for local businesses in regional Victoria.

Photos courtesy of Pacific Hydro Australia

Step Into Walk To School Month

There are days when getting the kids to school can feel like an uphill battle. From the brushing of teeth to the hurried consumption of cereal and then there is the actual getting there. “It’s too cold, my legs hurt, my friends all get driven”.

From the 8th October to 2nd November you will hear no such protests. Little ones will be practically skipping (or scooting, riding, running), as they take part in Walk to School month. The event will create less traffic, less emissions and more happy, healthy kids.

Last year over 140,000 kids took part across Australia and they all unanimously loved it! Whether you’re a pupil, a teacher, a parent or the lolly pop person, contact your school to see if they plan on taking part.

Find out more about Walk to School Month here.

Tour de Cecil - A Celebration of Everyday Riding

This October and November, join our celebration of everyday riding on the recently upgraded Cecil Street bike route in South Melbourne. Whether you’re a new or regular rider there’s an activity for everyone this spring, with pedal-powered cinema, bike breakfast, free tune-ups, bike confidence training and more.


Whether you’re a seasoned bike rider or a novice pedal’er, whether you favour a racing bike or a vintage ride with a wicker basket, the Tour De Cecil has something for everyone. From pedal-powered cinema and free tune-ups, to bike confidence training and a bike breakfast and much more besides.