Reducing your waste

Did you know that each year in the Macedon Ranges Shire we throw away approximately nine million kilograms of waste in landfill?

This would fill approximately 37 Olympic swimming pools, or 185 heated lap pools at the Gisborne Aquatic Centre.

When waste ends up in landfill it sits buried in the ground for decades, releasing methane and other greenhouse gases.

This is a loss of precious resources like food and garden waste that could be turned into compost, or paper and cardboard that could be recycled into something new.

Council, residents, businesses and schools all have a part to play in reducing waste to landfill. Each of us can make a difference by following the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ philosophy.

Reusable Nappy Program

In May 2022, we invited feedback from all types of nappy users to help us to:

  • Understand the barriers to using reusable nappies such as initial cost, convenience, accessibility etc.
  • develop a program that would encourage the use of reusable nappies
  • Support you find ways to save money, care for your baby’s health and the environment.

Thanks everyone for your valuable feedback which helped us to develop this program.

What we heard

  • The majority of the respondents agree that cloth nappies have financial, environmental and health benefits.
  • Out of 130 respondents, 19% already use reusable nappies full time and 35% prefer to use a combination of reusable and disposable nappies.
  • Rebates, educational workshops and nappy washing services were among the top suggestions to encourage reusable nappy use.

Rebates

We will be introducing a reusable nappy rebate service for eligible residents of Macedon Ranges. More information will be available soon.

Workshops

If you can’t make it to a workshop, you can watch an online workshop with Leesa from Darlings Downunder.

  

Why use reusable nappies?

  • Reusable nappies are free of toxins and chemicals, and are safe for your baby and the environment than disposable ones.
  • Disposable nappies use three times more energy and water, and 20 times more raw materials than reusable nappies during the production.
  • Disposable nappies are among the top most rubbish item in our general waste ending up in landfill.
  • Each child, on an average, generates 6,500 disposable nappies into the landfill
  • It takes one cup of crude oil to make one disposable nappy
  • 2 billion nappies end up in landfill each year in Australia
  • Each nappy takes 500+ years to breakdown in landfill releasing methane and contributing to global warming
  • The average cost of disposable nappies for a child is $3,500 from birth until toilet training. If you choose to use cloth nappies, the cost is up to you and can suit a range of budgets ranging from $500-$1,500.
  • Cloth nappies can be used again and again so you can purchase them second hand and you can reuse them for other children in your family. You can even sell them once your toddler has transitioned from nappies.  

Gone are the days of pins, leaking or soaking! Modern cloth nappies are available in different colours, styles and sizes. More information on different types, washing and fitting are available on the Australian Nappy Association website, Clean Cloth Nappies, the Raising Children website and the Sustainability Victoria website.

If you use disposable nappies these should be put in your rubbish/general waste bin, there you will find some suggestions to reduce the potential for odours.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Let’s focus on the three steps that we can introduce into our daily lives to drive change and create less waste.

You may have heard of the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reduce (avoid)

Reduce the amount of waste you bring into your home, school or workplace by avoiding it in the first place. How?

Start by asking yourself ‘Do I really need this?’ to avoid purchasing unnecessary poor quality items that break easily, or items with excess packaging.

Try saying ‘no’ to single-use items that will only be used once before being thrown away. Can you find a more sustainable use instead?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Buy food and household items in bulk when you can, to reduce extra packaging. For example, purchasing a packet of individually wrapped biscuits leads to far more waste being created than buying a whole packet and storing in an airtight container.
  • Visit a local farmers market where you can purchase fresh produce packaging free.
  • Say no to shopping bags, produce bags, straws, plastic cutlery, water bottles, coffee cups, take away containers etc. Try BYO – bring your own.
  • Switch to digital bank statements, instead of printed.
  • Say ‘no thanks’ to receipts you don’t need.
  • Put a ‘No junk mail’ sticker on your letter box.
  • Subscribe to your favourite magazines and newspapers online.
  • Take a pledge and try the Plastic Free July challenge.
  • Try growing your own food at home to reduce plastic packaging. Start small with some herbs or leafy greens.
  • Connect with local like-minded people to help you on your journey. Macedon Ranges Sustainability Waste Action Group provides a network of people making a difference in the community, as well as great information and resources.
  • Try conducting a waste audit at home to see the most common waste items in your household. Once you have identified these items you can find some alternatives to help replace and avoid these items, visit our waste activities section for tips on conducting a waste audit.

Reuse

Do you already have a similar item or know someone who could lend you one? Ask around in the community before spending money on something that you may not use very often. Where possible choose to purchase high-quality items that can be used again and again.

Perhaps you’ve got one but it needs repairing? Visit a repair café to fix broken items and learn new skills from others in the community.

Here are some re use ideas:

  • Repurpose items. That old saucepan with the broken handle may not be suitable for cooking any more but it could make a great planter in the garden. 
  • Visit second hand stores and op shops to find good quality items and give them a second life while supporting local organisations.
  • Join local community groups and try buy, swap and sell pages on social media. Visit virtual marketplaces such as gumtree or ebay which provide ways to shop pre-loved.
  • The Kyneton transfer station has a Tip shop full of bargains and some free items.
  • Visit a local library to borrow books or a toy library for toys.
  • Look for local food swaps and clothes swaps.

Recycle

If an item cannot be avoided or reused, the next responsible step we can take is to recycle. Here in the Macedon Ranges there are different ways to recycle. Many items can be recycled through the kerbside collection service, whereas some harder to recycle items may need to be dropped off at transfer station or other nominated locations.

Tips for being a star recycler

  • Become familiar with what goes where by visiting our waste A-Z of what goes where or downloading the MRSC Waste info app.
  • Make sorting your waste easy, put bins in the location where you use that item the most. Try creating a sorting station with mini bins or cardboard boxes for small items like batteries. Everybody’s system will look different.
  • Choose recyclable or compostable - When making a purchase, consider what the packaging is made from. If you have a choice between a cardboard box that can go in your recycling bin instead of a material that is non-recyclable that could end up in landfill, choose the recyclable option.
  • Choosing an item that contains recycled content (over new/raw materials) supports your local recycling economy. Did you know council’s kerbside bins and FOGO caddy’s contain recycled plastic?
  • Our transfer stations accept a wide range of recyclable items that can’t be collected in your kerbside bins.
  • See what soft plastics you can recycle through the redcycle program at participating supermarkets
  • Visit Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You for more information and resources.
  • Start a compost or worm farm to recycle food waste.

Reduce your food waste

Want to reduce your food waste?

Reducing the amount of food waste that you create and put in your FOGO or compost bin will have a positive impact on the environment and help you to save money. Sustainability Victoria suggests that 65 per cent of the food thrown away by Victorian households is edible and that the average Victorian household wastes $2,136 worth of food every year.  

Some tips to avoid food waste and save money include:Plan your meals for the week, work out your ingredient quantities for each of your recipes and only purchase what you need.

  • Use leftovers the next day or put them in labelled containers in your freezer for future meals.
  • Declutter your pantry and fridge by keeping the foods with the nearest expiry date at the front of each shelf so you use them before newer purchases.

The Love Food Hate Waste program has further tips and a collection of free recipes that you can use to reduce the amount of food waste your household creates.  

Zero waste links

On a journey towards zero waste?

Here is a selection of organisations, websites and blogs filled with inspiration and tips for your journey.

Community groups

  • Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group is a not-for-profit, member-based organisation focusing on projects, events, and practical activities that promote sustainable living in our local communities.
  • Boomerang Bags is a global grass roots movement connecting and empowering local communities to tackle plastic pollution at its source. There are multiple groups located in the shire.
  • Zero Waste Victoria is a not-for-profit charity that provides education, community engagement and sustainable living advice.

Blogs

  • The Rogue Ginger – Erin Rhoads is the ‘The Rogue Ginger’. She has been writing about her own journey since 2013 sharing how she reduced plastic and her rubbish, leading to a happier and healthier life.
  • Gippsland Unwrapped is a blog about maximising resources and reducing waste.
  • Zero waste bloggers network is a supportive community of zero waste bloggers around the world.
  • MRSG Waste Action Group’s blog shares local news and information.

Apps

  • Waste info – Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group app with custom Macedon Ranges Shire Council information. (VIC)
  • Zero Waste Home – Worldwide bulk and packaging free shopping app.

Campaigns and websites

  • Planet Ark’s campaigns are designed to help us all make a difference. Whether through recycling more, planting trees or changing to energy efficient light globes, small changes to individual behaviour add up to big savings for the environment.
  • Boomerang Alliance is a not for profit organisation that believe that an empowered community taking action at individual, political and economic levels will prompt business and government to support community wishes and prioritise the shift towards a zero-waste society.
  • One Million Women are an organisation fighting climate change through everyday lives.
  • Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group are a statutory authority and is the link between state, local governments, community and industry.
  • Clean Up Australia inspires and empowers communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment.
  • Responsible Cafes mission is to reduce single use plastic within the café and catering industry and stop all plastic from ending up in landfill, littering our oceans and our neighbourhoods.
  • BYO containers are on a mission to reduce single use plastic waste by popularising the use of Bring Your Own (BYO) containers
  • Trashless Takeaway are encouraging the use of BYO containers for takeaway food and provide resources for businesses and consumers,
  • Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.
  • Plastic Oceans Australasia are on a mission to change the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation.
  • When Balloons Fly is a Zoos Australia campaign to raise awareness of the impact of balloons. Register your balloon-free event and try bubbles instead.

About Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July challenge taken up by more than 3 million Australians

Plastic Free July® helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. This helps to ensure we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities by choosing to refuse single-use plastics. Last year more than 300 million people globally participated.

Local councils across Australia are taking the Plastic Free July Challenge, reducing their own plastic use and connecting homes, workplaces, schools and business to spread solutions to plastic pollution. 

As a Council Member, Macedon Ranges Shire Council is supporting our community to choose to refuse single-use plastics directly, and doing our part to alleviate the recycling crisis, reducing landfill waste, and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Within Council, we’re pledging to make a difference by phasing out single use plastic across Council’s operations. Other ongoing initiatives to encourage waste avoidance include supporting the container deposit scheme - Return and Earn by 2023, recycling sorting stations at events, specialist items (household batteries, mobile phones, small e-waste, printer cartridge, bread tags, bottle tops) drop boxes at Customer service centers,  introducing soft plastics recycling at Council transfer stations. Upcoming initiatives include Reusable Nappies Program, Party kit hire program etc.

The Plastic Free July challenge provides resources and ideas to help participants (and millions of others around the world) reduce single-use plastic waste every day at home, work, school, and in the community.

Ready to join the Macedon Ranges community in taking the Plastic Free July challenge?

It can be as easy as picking one single-use plastic item to avoid or swap for a reusable alternative.
Many people choose to avoid the Top 4 single-use plastics:

  • Take-away coffee cups
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Plastic straws
  • Water bottles.

Some ‘go for gold’ and try to eliminate all single-use plastics for a month. It's popular to form or join a group to take the challenge together. This could be the start of a life-changing experience for you, your family, your colleagues or your local school.

Get started with this Action Picker to browse some popular ideas and make your pledge!

How to get involved (for free!) in six easy steps

  1. Register for the challenge. Participants receive weekly tips to help them to keep motivated, and enjoy stories from others around the world who are reducing plastic in their lives

  2. Take the Pesky Plastics Quiz to find some popular ideas to reduce plastic waste

  3. Ask us for posters for your workplace, school or local businesses – or download some now.

  4. Get some free Plastic Free July resources for your school

  5. Read inspiring stories of what others do

  6. Register for an event or workshop, either online or in person

The Plastic Free July website is a great place to get inspiration and support, and to share your tips, ideas and experiences.

Plastic Free July: videos and events

A message from the Mayor

  

Watch Allexx Stuart's webinar on reducing plastic packaging

Watch Dr Anita Vandyke's webinar on reducing single use plastics

Plastic Free July events

Upcoming events will be listed here when available.