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Learn how to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle your waste.

Avoid waste

By avoiding waste in the first place we can reduce our environmental impact and keep valuable materials out of landfill. 

  • Consider whether you really need something in the first place.
  • Avoid unnecessary packaging – choose a cake of soap instead of bottled body wash.
  • Replace single-use plastics like coffee cups, water bottles and cutlery with reusable versions.
  • Buy food and cleaning products in bulk.
  • Use your own bags or containers.

Reduce waste

If you can't avoid creating waste, you can reduce waste by being mindful of what you buy and use. Avoid buying disposable products. Only replace an item when it can no longer be used.

Look for:

  • longer-lasting, better quality items. Read trustworthy product reviews on the Choice website. (Members of Boroondara library service can access Choice for free via Flipster – find out more on our Library newspapers and magazines collections page.)
  • cloth nappies instead of using disposables (visit the Australian Nappy Association website for advice)
  • reusable, refillable or rechargeable products (for example detergents, razors and batteries)
  • items made from recycled materials, such as toilet paper or paper towels.

Reuse existing products

Reusing existing products helps prevent items from ending up in landfill. Get creative and make something new from old items, like using yoghurt containers to grow seedlings or store craft materials, or converting a teapot into a plant pot.

Fix broken items

Before disposing of broken items, check if they can be fixed.

Find out more on:

Buy second-hand or sell, swap and donate items

Instead of buying new items, look for second-hand. You can also sell, share, swap, donate or give away unwanted items to stop them going to landfill.

Places to buy, sell, swap and donate items:

Recycle waste

After avoiding or reducing waste, recycling is your next best option. Many items can be recycled when they can no longer be used.

Find out:

Soft plastics

Since the REDcycle program was suspended in November 2022, soft plastics (like plastic bags) can no longer be recycled through REDcycle at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.

As a response, we introduced a temporary soft plastic collection and recycling service for Boroondara residents. Find out more on our Temporary soft plastic recycling service page.

Food waste

Australian households throw away an estimated 5 million tonnes of food every year, or around one in 5 bags of purchased food.

By switching a few habits, you can reduce your waste and your household budget.

Avoid food waste

Some ways to avoid food waste include:

  • planning meals so you only buy what you need
  • buying local and seasonal (it stays fresher and lasts longer)
  • checking expiry dates before buying (check the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ labels on the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards website)
  • freezing food that is going to expire
  • storing fresh produce to extend its life.

Visit the Sustainability Victoria website for more ideas and tips to reduce your food waste, including:

Growing your own food can stop you from buying more than you need. Learn more about growing your own food:

Recycle food waste

Some food waste can't be avoided. Use your FOGO bin to recycle:

  • most food waste (including cooked, uncooked, processed or unprocessed food)
  • most garden waste.

Learn what can go in your FOGO bin on our How to use your bins page.

Start a home compost using a compost bin or worm farm. Learn more on the Compost Revolution website.

Hard waste

As part of hard waste collections, we recycle or dispose of items in landfill.

What we can recycle

  • Whitegoods including washing machines, fridges, and dishwashers 
  • Empty paint tins with lids off
  • E-waste (not including batteries and light bulbs – find out more on our E-waste drop-off page)
  • Mattresses 
  • Tools and lawn mowers (if electronic)
  • Small household appliances (if electronic)

What goes to landfill

  • Timber 
  • Couches
  • Furniture
  • Panes of glass
  • Carpet 
  • Small car parts (not including tyres)
  • Bed bases, all sizes 

More information

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