The best way to reduce our waste footprint is to be mindful of what we consume, so we can avoid (or reduce) creating waste in the first place.
Next, it is important to reuse items instead of letting them become waste. Reuse involves shopping second-hand, sharing, selling or donating items you no longer need and fixing things when they break.
Recycling right is better than throwing things away, but it still requires resources and energy, so it’s best to avoid/reduce and reuse first.
Reduce your waste
Here are some tips to cut the waste you produce at home.
- Buy less and buy better – choose durable products made to last.
- Don’t put food scraps and leftovers into your garbage bin. Get a food and green waste bin from Council and put your food waste to work!
- If you have a garden, use a compost bin or worm farm for your food and garden waste.
- Place a ‘no junk mail’ sticker on your letterbox.
- Avoid single-use and switch to reusable. See our tips below!
- Buy products with less packaging or recyclable packaging.
- Buy recycled products.
- Buy in bulk (or in the biggest size you can find) to reduce packaging.
- Make your own dips, sauces, salad dressings and baked goods instead of buying them in packages.
Say 'no' to plastic
Plastic makes up around half of all marine pollution and is devastating for our waterways and oceans. Single-use plastic is also the main source of litter in our parks and streets.
To tackle the problem and help you say 'no' to single-use plastics, we're supporting the Victoria Government's single-use plastics ban.
Avoiding single-use plastic and choosing reusable options is the best place to start. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Many individuals making small changes to their habits can add up to a big impact.
Below are some easy tips to help you avoid most single-use plastics:
- Always carry a reusable water bottle with you.
- Bring a reusable cup when you grab a coffee or drink. If you forget it, choose to dine in!
- Say no to straws unless you really need them.
- Choose reusable containers, beeswax wraps or silicone lids instead of plastic wrap.
- Refuse single-use plastic bags. Bring reusable shopping and produce bags instead.
- Bring reusable containers with you to the butcher or deli or when you get takeaway.
- Avoid fruit and vegetables that are pre-packaged. Choose the loose option instead and bring reusable produce bags. You can use a paper mushroom bag if you forget.
- Buy grains and other pantry staples from bulk food stores.
- Buy cleaning and bathroom products in bulk. Refill your containers when you can, or even try making your own!
Reuse, repair, borrow and share
To maximise the reuse of items you already have at home:
- always carry a reusable water bottle with you
- bring a reusable cup with you when you grab a coffee
- choose reusable containers, beeswax wraps or silicone lids instead of plastic wrap
- refuse single-use plastic bags. Bring reusable cloth bags instead
- bring reusable containers with you to the butcher or deli or when you get takeaway
- wash glass jars and plastic containers to use for storage instead of buying new
- cut up old and worn-out clothes to use as cleaning or dusting cloths instead of using paper towels
- use a handkerchief instead of tissues
- use newspaper to line your kitchen caddy and bin
- create ice blocks for your esky or lunchbox out of long-life milk cartons or disposable water bottles
- repurpose old CDs or DVDs, turn them into coasters, cut them up to use as Christmas decorations or hang them in your garden to keep birds away from your fruit and vegetables
- use toilet paper roll inserts or egg cartons to raise seedlings for your garden
- save your old toothbrushes to use for scrubbing hard-to-reach places
- buy rechargeable batteries
If you must buy something, choosing second-hand is a great way to reduce your waste footprint. Shopping second-hand supports your local economy and helps to keep used items out of landfill.
Op-shops are the perfect place to shop second-hand. If you prefer shopping online, try Gumtree, Ebay, Etsy, Depop and Facebook Marketplace.
Other specific Facebook groups for the Stonnington community include:
If you have items that are no longer useful, consider donating them or posting them online before throwing them away. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!
Instead of rushing out to replace an item when it breaks or gets damaged, it helps to check if you can repair it first. Getting an item fixed is often far cheaper than buying new.
There are dozens of clothing alteration, shoe repair, appliance maintenance and electronics servicing businesses operating in Stonnington. Just start with a quick internet search!
Borrow and share
Making new products requires lots of energy and resources. Try reaching out to your family, friends or neighbours to see if you can borrow or share an item instead of purchasing it. For example, if you're having a party, why not get in touch with the Stonnington Kitchen Library? Or thrill the kids with some new games or puzzles from the Stonnington Toy Library?
You can also join online platforms such as Good Karma networks and Buy Nothing New groups, which are usually suburb-specific, like:
You can also give back by sharing what you have with your community!
We know recycling can be confusing, but putting the right things into the correct bins is important. It helps us make sure more material can be sorted and turned into new products rather than going to waste by sitting in a landfill.
We’ve put together some simple tips to help you get recycling right.
- Make it easier for yourself to sort your waste correctly by having a recycling bin in every room, not just in the kitchen!
- Take all e-waste (anything with a plug, battery or power cord) to one of Stonnington’s Recycling Stations or to the Stonnington Waste Transfer Station. E-waste is no longer accepted in any of your curbside bins.
- Don’t bag your recycling! Only put loose items in the recycling bin.
- Ensure you know what is and isn’t recyclable in Stonnington by checking our What goes in each bin page.
- Empty all containers before placing them in your recycling bin.
- Leave lids on bottles and containers. These will be sorted at the recycling facility.
Stonnington Waste Transfer Station
A wide range of hard to recycle items will be accepted at the Stonnington Waste Transfer Station. Drop off things like motor oil, household and car batteries, car parts, empty chemical drums, building and construction waste, appliances and larger e-waste items. We'll ensure they get recycled or disposed of properly.
Beauty products, medicine packaging and more
Recycle your empty beauty products, blister packs and more with Terracycle.
For more information, visit our electronic waste page.
You should donate clothing and other textiles that are still in good condition to a local Op-shop or charity. Items that are too worn to be reused can be recycled via Upparel. Stonnington residents can receive a $10 discount for Upparel, by ordering their collection through Stonnington’s UpCircle page.
Or, you can cut up old and worn-out clothes for cleaning or dusting cloths instead of paper towels.
Sustainability Victoria runs the Detox Your Home program which helps you safely dispose of things like cooking oil, cleaning products, detergents, fire extinguishers, aerosols, glues, paint stripper, pharmaceuticals, varnishes and more.
Got some old cans of paint leftover from a project? Recycle them with Paintback.
Stuck on what to do with something? Check out Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You website.
Events and programs
Get involved in community programs and events such as:
Subscribe to our Environment enewsletter and stay up to date with upcoming events and programs.