Learn how to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle your waste.
By avoiding waste we can reduce our environmental impact and keep valuable materials out of landfill.
While we can't always avoid waste, this should be our ultimate goal.
Ways to avoid creating waste:
- Shop smart. Consider whether you really need something.
- Avoid unnecessary packaged items. For example, choose a loose cake of soap instead of a bottle of body wash.
- Avoid single-use plastics (like coffee cups, water bottles, plastic straws and cutlery) by using reusable items.
- Buy bulk, loose items, such as food or cleaning products.
- Use your own bags or containers.
If you can't avoid creating waste, you can reduce waste by being mindful of what you buy and use.
Avoid buying disposable products and only replace an item when it can no longer be used.
Instead look for:
- longer-lasting, better quality items (visit Choice for product reviews)
- cloth nappies instead of using disposables (visit Australian Nappy Association for advice)
- reusable, refillable or rechargeable products (for example detergents, razors, and batteries)
- items that have been made from recycled materials, such as toilet paper or paper towels for example.
Reuse existing products
Reusing existing products helps prevent items from ending up in landfill.
Get creative and make something new from old items. For example, you could:
- sew old blankets into cushion covers
- make tea pots into plant pots
- use yoghurt pots to grow seedlings.
If you can’t reuse something, check if your local primary school needs the items.
Fix broken items
Before disposing of broken items, check if they can be fixed.
You can take them to local volunteer groups such as:
Buy second-hand, 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.
Ways to buy, sell, swap and donate items:
- Garage sales
- Clothes swaps
- Charity shops (such as St Vincent de Paul, The Smith Family, The Salvation Army)
- Facebook Marketplace
After avoiding or reducing waste, recycling is your next best option.
Many items can be recycled when they can no longer be used.
Check what you can recycle and where, by reading our A to Z FOGO, recycling and waste guide.
You can also use our drop-off services:
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.
If you have space, we encourage you to hold on to your soft plastics until further updates about an alternative become available.
Alternatively, soft plastics can be disposed of in the kerbside waste bin or as waste at the Boroondara Recycling and Waste Centre.
Australian households throw away an estimated 5 million tonnes of food every year. This is 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
- freezing food that is going to expire
- storing fresh produce to extend it's life.
Visit Sustainability Victoria for more ideas and tips to reduce your food waste:
Growing your own food can stop you from buying more than you need.
Learn more about growing your own food:
- explore community gardens and food growing groups
- attend a free sustainable living workshop
- read Gardening Australia's guide.
Check the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ labels: Food Standards Australia and New Zealand website.
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.
Start a home compost using a compost bin or worm farm. Learn more at the Compost Revolution website.
For tips on recycling correctly, download the Recycle Coach app
For recipes to reduce food waste, visit Zero waste recipes - Sustainability Victoria
For more information about food waste, visit: