Sustainable Stonnington

Our Sustainability Commitment

Council has a long record of commitment to both environmental sustainability and climate change action.

Environment is one of the four key areas of our Council Plan 2017–2021(PDF, 6MB). This Plan outlines our commitment to create a sustainable and resilient city, with enhanced natural and urban environments for our community.

Our Sustainable Environment Strategy 2018–2023(PDF, 6MB) supports the Council Plan but gets into more detail, outlining our objectives, targets and actions across five priority areas:

  • climate change and energy
  • resources and waste management
  • integrated water management
  • urban environment
  • education, engagement and collaboration.

Each year we report on our progress through our Sustainability Snapshot:

Climate change and energy

Climate Emergency Action Plan

Council declared a climate emergency on 20 February 2020, recognising that urgent action is required by all levels of government, including local councils.

Our Climate Emergency Action Plan(PDF, 3MB) outlines our pathway towards a zero carbon Stonnington 2030 and a climate-ready future for our city.

Our commitment is framed around an overarching principle of leadership and three strategic priorities that will work to reduce emissions and adapt to our changing climate:

  • Zero carbon Stonnington
  • Thriving in a changing climate
  • Working together for change.

Why are we acting on this?

Our city is already experiencing the impacts of climate change.

We know that temperatures are increasing and rainfall will decrease. We also know that extreme rainfall events will become more intense and harsher fire weather is on its way.

This effects every area of Council.

Community health and wellbeing is the greatest concern, with everyday operations, service delivery and community assets also suffering.

What are we doing?

We are:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 48% below 2005 levels, with a set target to reduce our emissions to zero by 2030
  • buying 100% renewable energy for all our electricity use from Thursday 1 July 2021
  • installing over 880kW of rooftop solar panels on our buildings and facilities
  • cooling our city by planting trees and increasing the amount of public open space
  • upgrading our shared path network to support cycling and walking as viable private transport alternatives
  • helping our community switch to renewable energy with access to expert advice, programs, resources and information sessions.

Visit our Take Climate Action page to learn how you can get involved in programs and events covering energy, gardening, water and climate change.

Take Climate Action

Resources and waste management

Why are we acting on this?

We create waste in almost all areas of life; at home, in the community and in the workplace.

Last year, Council sent over 17,000 tonnes of waste to landfill. Landfill waste decomposes over time, emitting methane and other greenhouse gases.

Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill is an essential action in our climate emergency response.

We can recover many discarded materials and turn them into new products. This reduces the use of raw materials and saves energy.

As Council purchases a range of materials, we pay a key role in ‘closing the loop’. We support markets for recycled materials, enabling a circular economy.

What are we doing?

Council provides garbage, recycling and food and green waste kerbside waste collection services.

We also have a range of resource recovery services. This includes the Waste Transfer Station, a hard waste collection service and multiple recycling stations.

We also:

Council is committed to using recycled materials wherever possible:

  • Our road resurfacing program uses an asphalt that contains soft plastics collected from supermarkets
  • We’ve installed a recycled plastic boardwalk along the Yarra River
  • New items like street furniture, bollards and playground equipment in our parks and gardens are also made from recovered plastics.

Learn how you can avoid waste and recycle

Plastic Free Policy

We are committed to reducing single use plastic use in Stonnington. Plastic pollution is a significant environmental issue that warrants attention and response by governments at all levels.

The Victorian government’s Single Use Plastic Policy comes into effect in February 2023, banning six single-use plastic items (polystyrene food/drink containers, straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, cotton buds). We’ve developed a Plastic Free Policy(PDF, 295KB) to support the transition to this ban and to reduce unnecessary use of single-use plastics across Council operations and services, at Council events and events held on Council land.

This policy demonstrates our leadership position, sets out a clear policy direction of our own on single-use plastics, builds on state government action and supports our community to avoid and reduce single-use plastic items ahead of the state government ban.

Integrated water management

Why are we acting on this?

Water is a finite and valuable resource essential for life and a healthy environment.

Our local waterways provide vital ecological processes:

  • They drain stormwater from urban areas, minimising flooding
  • They provide wildlife corridors and habitat for wildlife
  • They improve the quality of stormwater entering Port Phillip Bay.

They also allow the community the chance to experience wildlife and discover quiet, natural areas in a busy city.

The same waterways also support many sport and recreation activities.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology predict that winter and spring rainfall will decrease across southern Australia, leading to droughts. The increase of extreme rainfall events will also cause floods.

High quality drinking water is wasted on flushing toilets, cooling buildings and watering our parks and gardens.

Recycled water, along with treated stormwater and groundwater, will help reduce unnecessary drinking water use without sacrificing the benefits of our cool, green and leafy city.

What are we doing?

We’ve installed over 100 water sensitive urban design assets throughout the city. These include raingardens, wetlands, swales, tree pits and installations of structural soils.

We've also invested significant resources in regenerating our key waterways such as the Yarra River, Gardiners Creek and Scotchmans Creek at the Malvern Valley Golf Course.

To reduce water used for irrigation, we’ve converted many of our sports fields to drought-tolerant surfaces and introduced efficient irrigation systems for parks and sports fields. Our gardens and streetscapes include indigenous and drought-tolerant plant species to reduce water use and we’ve installed rainwater harvesting systems in parks and Council buildings.

All of our building projects include rainwater capture and reuse in their design as well as water-efficient fittings and fixtures.

Education, engagement and collaboration

Council is building and strengthening relationships with all stakeholders to work towards a sustainable Stonnington.

We can’t do this alone.

We need to work with our community, other councils, state government, federal government and and a range of other partners to transform our city and create a sustainable future for all.

What are we doing?

Council is a member of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment and the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action.

We have also pledged to take climate action through the Cities Power Partnership.

We deliver the My Smart Garden program with other Melbourne councils.

We also run environmental events and programs to support our community to live more sustainably and act on the climate emergency.

We work with and promote and a range of community groups encouraging our residents to live more sustainably.

Urban environment

Why are we acting on this?

A healthy environment supports a healthy community.

Stonnington is vulnerable to the ‘urban heat island effect’, which makes the area less healthy and livable.

To help cool our city and support community health and wellbeing we're protecting and enhancing our natural areas.

This also ensures the natural environment is healthy, resilient and able to support diversity in our ecosystem.

Check out our Open Spaces Strategy(PDF, 10MB) – it’s our long-term, 20 year plan to increase open space across our city.

Stonnington is well known for its tree-lined streets, parks and gardens. While we have the second-highest tree canopy cover of any inner Melbourne metropolitan Melbourne council, we also have the second lowest amount of public open space of any Victorian municipality.

What are we doing?

We actively manage seven biodiversity hotspots to protect and enhance biodiversity:

  • Glenburn Bend Park
  • Muswell Bend Park
  • Glen Iris Wetlands
  • Darling Park
  • Malvern Valley Golf Course
  • Urban Forest Reserve
  • Yarra River.

We also support and enhance biodiversity through our parks and gardens, as well as in our street tree planting program.

Find out how you can help to create food and shelter for local wildlife in your backyard.

Biodiversity projects

Yarra River Biodiversity Project

In 2010, Council began works along the Yarra River, kicking off one of the biggest regeneration projects in the river’s history.

By the time the project was completed in 2019, Council spent over $8.4 million to enhance biodiversity, increase habitat connectivity, improve water quality and provide recreational and educational opportunities for the community along this landmark river.

Works undertaken included extensive indigenous revegetation, a new wetland, bio-retention ponds, Indigenous artwork, shared path upgrades, educational signage and opportunities for the community to connect with nature in an increasingly urban area. 

In 2018, the Keep Victoria Beautiful Sustainable Cities Award for Protection of the Environment.

Life of the Yarra

Take an audio tour of the history and ecology of the Yarra River on your next walk or bike ride. Explore the Yarra's winding course, delve into the past and discover some small local wonders of our natural world.

Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot) Masterplan

Following the completion of works along the Yarra River, Council turned its attention to Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot), another significant waterway within Stonnington.

The Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot) Masterplan was adopted by the City of Stonnington in 2020, setting out a long term vision for the revitalisation of the Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot) corridor through vegetation and biodiversity improvements, water sensitive urban design, shared path upgrades and enhancing opportunities for active and passive recreation.

Lost Lands Found

Take a moment to pause, reflect and connect with ancient flora of Stonnington with a visit to the Lost Lands Found eco-art installation in Central Park, Malvern. Created by Wemba Wemba Wergaia ecologist and educator Dean Stewart in partnership with Stonnington, Lost Lands Found showcases over 60 species of the indigenous flowers, grasses, herbs and lilies that once flourished throughout Victoria prior to European settlement.

Learn more about these important native grassland species to help create your own indigenous garden at home and support habitat for native insects and wildlife.