Reduction in Waste

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.

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.

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!

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.

Old phones for good food

From the old brick-phone that's missing a button, to the tangled mess of broken chargers and earbuds – we’re all guilty of it; a bottom drawer full of unwanted and unused mobile phones and mobile accessories.  

In fact, there are now more unused mobile phones than there are people in Australia. These products are full of precious metals, and can easily be recycled to reduce the environmental impact of new phones and other products.  

How easy is it? 

Just bring your old mobile phone, and mobile phone accessories along to City of Port Phillip reception at 99a Carlisle Street, St Kilda, and we’ll take it from there. You can leave knowing you’ve reduced future CO2 emissions, and provided a meal to someone in need! 

Mobile Muster will provide a meal to someone in need through OzHarvest 

Mobile Muster has partnered with OzHarvest for the #mobileforameal campaign. For every phone recycled through Mobile Muster, they will donate a meal to someone in need. Old phones dialled up 60,000 free meals over summer!  
What about my data?  

Mobile Muster provide some great tips to make sure you don’t lose any important data. It’s as simple as:  

  • Backing up your data

  • Logging out

  • Performing a reset

  • Removing your SIM and memory card

Any remaining data is securely destroyed during the recycling process.   
What are you waiting for? 

Clean out the bottom draw and bring down your old mobile phones to City of Port Phillip Reception. You’ll be helping out the planet, and helping out someone in need.  

Got other e-waste you’d like to recycle? Head to the Port Phillip Resource Recovery Centre in South Melbourne, or organise pick up here

Compost Revolution Evaluation

The numbers are in and they make for very pleasant reading for Port Phillip. We are delighted to announce we have concluded a successful Compost Revolution Program. 

We supported over 500 residents to purchase a subsidised composting product including worm farms, compost bins and bokashi bins, exceeding our target of 500, and resulting in:

  • 25,134 kg of food waste diverted from landfill to date.

  • 40,900 kg of greenhouse gas emissions avoided to date.

The Program was delivered through the Sustainable City Community Action Plan, which aims to support our community to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste.

Although the formal program has finished City of Port Phillip residents can still access products from the Compost Revolution website with a 40 per cent discount. During 2018/19 the SCCAP will focus on waste reduction education efforts on apartment buildings and businesses.  

The draft Don’t Waste it! strategy will also guide other future organic waste initiatives for the next four years. 

To find out more about how to compost click here and where to compost click here

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.

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, Albert Park

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 is a third person, non-council connection service, putting those who are able to share their compost site with those who want somewhere to compost. Anyone who wishes to recycle their kitchen scraps with their neighbours who are already composting, worm-farming or keep chickens can use the service. 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 

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. 

South Melbourne Market Are Waste Winners


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.