Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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

You may have heard of the three Rs:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

Reduce (avoid)

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

But 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 item 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 free from plastic packaging.
  • 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 the 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.


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 reuse 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 items.
  • Visit a local library to borrow books or a toy library for toys.
  • Look for local food swaps and clothes swaps.


If an item cannot be avoided or reused, the next responsible step we can take is to recycle it. Here in the Macedon Ranges there are many 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 a resource recovery facility 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 app.
  • Make sorting your waste easy. Create a sorting station with mini bins or boxes in a high-traffic location in your home. 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 resource recovery facilities accept a wide range of recyclable items that can’t be collected in your kerbside bins.
  • Visit Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You for more information and resources.
  • Start a compost or worm farm to recycle food waste.

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 focused 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.


  • The Rogue Ginger – Erin Rhoads is the ‘The Rogue Ginger’. She has been writing about her own journey since 2013 and shares 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.
  • MRSG Waste Action Group’s blog shares local news and information.


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 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.
  • 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.