Nothing beats the taste of homegrown seasonal produce that’s been lovingly tended and picked for optimal ripeness. The sweet juice of perfectly ripe berries, the distinctive aroma of sun ripened tomatoes and the crunch when you bite into a freshly picked cucumber just can’t be matched by supermarket produce.
There’s never been a better time to learn how to grow your own food. With the cost of living rising, being able to ‘shop’ in your garden is a great way to beat the price rises at the supermarket and cut down on plastic packaging.
Winter is the perfect time for planning and building no-dig garden beds ready for spring planting. They are easy to construct and provide nutrients to plants for a long time as they slowly break down into beautiful garden soil. They can be constructed on almost any surface, from lawn to driveways, making them an ideal way for renters to get growing.
On the Barwon South West Zero Waste Map, you can filter the ‘Learn To’ category to find opportunities to ‘Learn to Grow Food’. Community Gardens and Neighbourhood Houses can be a great way to connect with experienced growers, other learners, and everyone in between.
If you would like a great book to guide your month-by-month and week-by-week gardening to-do-list, it’s hard to go past Peter Cundall’s Seasonal Tasks for The Practical Australian Gardener, available online, second-hand. This classic Australian gardening book will hold your hand as you learn to grow food, flowers and indoor plants.
Gardenate is a great guide for anyone who wants to explore what to plant when. It’s customisable, searchable and FREE to use. View online, set up regular email reminders of what to plant now or download the phone app.
Gardeners are a creative bunch and growing your own food can lead to all kinds of reuse, up-cycling and recycling as you expand what you grow and how you grow it.
We can all make a difference to make the most from our recycling
With many of us becoming more reliant on delivery services while staying at home, we may have ended up with more waste than usual. However, it’s not just the amount of household waste and recycling that has increased during COVID-19, but contamination in household recycling bins.
Contamination occurs when items that can’t be recycled (for example, plastic bags) are placed in the recycling bin. These non-recyclable items, also called contaminants, can prevent recycling from being processed and turned into new things.
A simple action everyone can take to help reduce contamination is to put their recycling in the bin loose and not in plastic bags.
When recyclable items are placed in the bin in plastic bags, they can’t be sorted at recycling facilities.
Plastic bags can get caught in the sorting machines and damage equipment.
Recycling in bags also presents a health and safety risk to staff who sort recycling as the contents of the bag are not visible and may include sharp objects.
Keep your recycling out of plastic bags and instead, collect your recyclables in a basket, plastic tub or even a cardboard box. Once full, tip the contents into your recycling bin so that all items go in separately, and if not reusing the cardboard box, flatten it and put in the bin.
By remembering to always put recycling in the bin loose, you can help make the most of our recycling and create a more sustainable future.
For more information and recycling tips, contact your council.
In another positive step towards closing the loop and achieving a circular economy, a range of recycled plastic signs, fence posts, chicanes and bollards have been installed along the Twelve Apostles Trail to keep walkers and cyclists on the track.
Corangamite Shire Council Director Works and Services Brooke Love said products used in the project are made of soft plastic materials collected and recycled through the REDcycle Program.
“The aim is to keep the project as sustainable as possible,” Mrs Love said.
“Previously we have used virgin timber and treated timber for infrastructure projects. This project is more environmentally friendly and contributes to a circular economy, where the focus is to reduce consumption of finite materials, reuse and recycle. The approach benefits businesses, society, and the environment.”
The Twelve Apostles Trail – ‘Closing the Loop’ project is a step in the transition to sustainable infrastructure initiatives.
Council received funding from Sustainability Victoria’s Sustainable Infrastructure Fund to buy and install the recycled plastic products on the trail.
The fund, delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government, aims to:
improve confidence in using products made from recycled materials;
demonstrate performance of existing products and standards;
increase the quantity of recycled products being sold in Victoria; and
support organisations to try new technology and processes.
Corangamite Shire is one of 18 councils sharing in more than $2.6 million through the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund to use recycled materials in infrastructure projects.
In great news for our local recycling industry, family-owned Geelong business GT Recycling has just been awarded a $3 million state and federal grant to be put towards their $4.7 million expansion. This will see the company able to process a massive extra 8,000 tonnes of plastic per year.
The grant is part of the federal Recycling Modernisation Fund and the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria program. While contributing to the mission of achieving a circular economy, it will have a number positive effects including more jobs for the region and a better outcome for the environment.
Victorian environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the grant would help GT to “install world-leading technology to recover a range of plastics from discarded agricultural plastic including plant pots, shade cloths, and tarps.”
Another positive step towards achieving a circular economy, the grant will mean that more plastic and other recycled materials will be brought back to life and see another day by being made into new recycled products.
Tip Top, one of Australia’s most popular supermarket bread brands has begun introducing a significant change to its packaging. Instead of opting for the classic plastic bread tag, Tip Top has made the decision to make the switch to recycled cardboard tags.
Graeme Cutler, Director of Sales and CSR Lead at Tip Top ANZ said “we’re doing it because it’s simply the right thing to do,” highlighting that the major brand is being proactive in their approach to reducing waste, rather than waiting for consumers to ask for it.
Making the switch to these recycled bread tags will eventually rid the nation of over 400 million individual pieces of plastic each year! The nation-wide rollout is planned to take place over the next two years, however you can already find some of these special loaves in local supermarkets.
These new recycled tags are equally as durable as the old ones and are no extra cost for retailers or customers! Tip Top recommends that you tuck them inside something else in your recycling bin as their small size means they can easily get lost or fall out.
The medals awarded at the Tokyo Olympic Games were made from 78,985 tonnes of recycled electronic devices including mobile phones. How cool is that!
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics required over 5,000 gold, bronze and silver medals to be produced for athletes. The sustainable medals have been crafted as part of a wider sustainability effort as part of the games and we think that’s just great!
Over a period of two years, the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project collected 78,985 tonnes of electronic devices from across Japan including 6.21 million cell phones. The gold, silver and bronze elements of the devices were obtained through smelting, which involves heating and melting to extract a base metal.
Tokyo took on a very sustainable approach to hosting the Olympics and several efforts were made to keep the games as eco-friendly as possible. In addition to the medals being made from recycled materials, beds in the Olympic Village were made from recycled cardboard and the podiums were made from recycled plastic. And if that wasn’t already an incredible effort, the uniforms worn by the torchbearers were also partially made from recycled plastic bottles!
“We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” Tokyo 2020 said.
After a difficult year for small business owners, there’s no better way to help them recover than by offering your support.
But best of all, many of these small businesses in our community are committed to producing and selling products made from recycled and sustainable products.
Consider this, most disposed single use plastics in the world still exist somewhere. That’s part of the problem. They don’t break down; they just cause harm to our environment and native species.
Luckily, we can all make changes to our behaviour and reduce the amount of single use plastic being produced; by purchasing products made from sustainable material. So where do we start?
By seeking out local suppliers and choosing plastic-free items, multi-use cleaning products and compostable essentials instead of single-use, unsustainable products. They’re easy swaps we can all commit to in order to reduce our contribution to landfill.
Lucky for us, there’s plenty of local businesses in our region stocking sustainable products. Best of all, they often come in beautiful patterns and recycled packaging!
Check out some of our favourites below.
Wholefood goodness at Valerie’s Pantry (top left) and Jo’s Pantry (left).
With an abundance of thoughtfully chosen wholefoods and low waste goods available in our region, why not complete your weekly shop at one of them?
Geelong based whole foods business Valerie’s Pantry promotes zero waste in a beautiful way. How? By encouraging customers to bring along empty jars and containers, collecting all that they need in a plastic-free, economical way. With a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, you’re sure to come back time and time again for all your shopping needs, including bread, condiments, spices and other food products. Offering quality wholefoods and sustainable products, the business is doing its part in encouraging shoppers to be more conscious of the implications of their everyday shopping habits. With a store in Belmont, the business also operates a click and collect service as well as home delivery, making it all the more convenient.
Similarly, Colac based Grocer Jo’s Pantryis helping build a sustainable future, with all products locally grown and produced. Whether you’re after to a lovely cup of coffee, some fresh sourdough bread or locally grown fruit and veggies, Jo’s Pantry has you covered.
With a commitment to showing consumers how easy it is to choose a more eco-conscious lifestyle, the friendly team at Geelong based Live Eco are making their mark. Offering a wide range of home, personal care, stationery and children’s products, Live Eco is your one-stop-shop for all of life’s essentials. Best of all, they’re all made from ethical or sustainable material.
With gorgeous gifts, homewares and personal care items on offer, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at Frankie Say Relax. With stores in Geelong, Torquay and Queenscliff, Frankie Say Relax’s stores are bursting with beautiful Australian labels and artisan wares. But best of all, all products within the store are sourced from recyclable or ethical materials, making your buys good for the planet too.
We’re all guilty of an impulsive purchase, trying to keep fashionable and on trend. But it’s time to start thinking about the items of clothing we’re buying and more importantly, the impact they’re having on our environment.
Fortunately, our region is home to some wonderful local businesses, harnessing the power of recycled and ethical fabric to create beautiful pieces of jewellery and clothing.
In a world plagued by excess consumption and waste, Geelong-based business The Reimaginarium wanted to rewrite the narrative, by giving new life to pre-loved items without a high price tag.
Whether it’s beautiful furniture or handcrafted jewellery, witness old becoming new again.
For those with more adventurous spirits, Hamilton and Port Fairy based adventure shop Daktari Surf Bike and Ski offer the latest and greatest surfing and adventure gear. Since 1975, the business has provided communities with expert knowledge, quality product and friendly service. Best of all, all products sold within the business are sourced from ethical material.
We hear it all too often. Recycling is hard, recycling is time consuming. Finding and purchasing recycled materials is really difficult. We’re here to tell you that narrative couldn’t be further from the truth. And it needs to change.
In actual fact, swapping out your regular, single use household items for more sustainable and ethical alternatives couldn’t be easier. But best of all, it reduces your contribution to landfill, helping our community stay healthy and clean and help save you money in the long run!
To get you inspired, we’ve listed eight simple swaps you can make to make your home and lifestyle more sustainable, with help from some of our wonderful local businesses.
REUSABLE SHOPPING AND PRODUCE BAGS
Forget paying 15 cents for a plastic alternative. Colourful, quirky and durable shopping bags are all the rage. Better yet, they can be used for a range of things, whether it’s a quick trip to the shops, storage or even transport, the possibilities are endless! But it doesn’t stop there. Be sure to pick up some reusable fruit and vegetable pouches, so you never have to stand in line waiting for a nasty plastic bag ever again!
Most reusable shopping bags and pouches are 100% washable, so you can keep your fruit and veggies fresh and fabulous. We recommend keeping them in the boot of your car or your everyday handbag, meaning you’ll never get caught out at the shops ever again, win-win.
Why fill your bin with single use, throw away cleaning products when you could refill them? Whether its your washing powder, dishwashing liquid or hand soap, there are plenty of businesses out there who’ll refill your every day staples, without causing you a trip to the shops (hallelujah!).
Not only do refills reduce the amount of single use plastic being dumped in landfill, they’re also better for our environment and for your hip pocket! Simply purchase the item you need in a pouch and have it delivered to your front door, as easy as that.
There’s plenty of local stockists, including Organic Larder Geelong, with refill stations available in store to make it even easier!
WASHABLE DISH CLOTHS
Have you ever considered cleaning green? It’s a tale as old as time, buying single use dish clothes and scourers, only to have them rip and fall apart after a few uses.
Not anymore! There are now a great range of both reusable and sustainable cloths, scourers and cleaning brushes on the market to keep your dishes spic and span, without having to replace them constantly. Whether its purchasing paper towel made from recycled paper or sustainable cleaning items, rest assured these items not only save the environment, they’ll also save you money and time.
With billions of kilograms of plastic waste discarded each year, opting to purchase a reusable bottle not only saves you money, it also keeps harmful plastics away from our oceans and landfill. Benefits all round.
With baking experiencing a rise in popularity during COVID times, gone are the days of lining your trays with baking paper.
Introducing silicone baking mats, the sustainable and easy alternative for your baking needs. Simply place your silicone mat at the base of your tray as you would baking paper, wash once your baking is done and reuse! No more last-minute trips to the shops, no unnecessary waste and of course, reduced costs!
They are available at major retailers including Spotlight, Target and Big W.
GOODBYE WET WIPES, HELLO REUSABLE FACIAL PADS!
There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of wet wipes at the end of a hard day’s work. Luckily, those days are over, with sustainable, multi-use makeup removal pads now available at most retailers. Simply pop them in the washing machine or wash by hand when you’ve finished using them and they’ll last a lifetime.
These reusable pads are available at major retailers including Priceline, Chemist Warehouse and MECCA.
DITCH PLASTIC GLAD WRAP FOR BEESWAX OR COMPOSTABLE CLING WRAP!
As one of the largest contributors in landfill, plastic cling wrap is doing a lot more harm than it is good. Luckily, there are a lot of sustainable and reusable items now available at major retailers. Try compostable cling wraps, like Great Wrap, for wrapping your sandwiches, or beeswax wraps to cover over your containers. Best of all, compostable cling wrap decomposes in 10-45 days, causing much less harm to the environment, while beeswax wraps can be washed after each use.
A household staple, there’s now a lot of sustainable, budget friendly alternatives in the toilet paper market. One of the easier swaps you can make, a common trait of sustainably produced toilet paper is that it’s produced using recycled paper or bamboo, meaning little to no wastage occurs in the production process. The paper produced is often very soft to touch and best of all, it breaks down much faster than regular toilet paper!
Local stockists of recycled toilet paper include Geelong Sustainability, who can ship all product directly to your door. Talk about convenient.
It’s true what they say, the smallest changes make the biggest difference.
To discover more businesses producing materials made from recycled products near you, please click here.
It’s true what they say, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.
It turns out that the piles of old shoes collecting dust in your cupboard can help make a great surface floor in a retail outlet, a sturdy, durable yoga mat or even a running track. With an estimated 25 million pairs of shoes placed in landfill each year in Australia, it’s a very real waste problem. Particularly when you consider that the unwanted shoes we throw into our bins can spend over 1000 years decomposing in landfill. This presented a problem. A problem that needed an immediate and innovative solution.
Enter the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA). Representing brands, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, ASGA is the sporting industry’s leading voice. Working alongside some of the country’s biggest sporting retailers, including Rebel Sport, JD Sports, SportsPower, Adidas, New Balance, Converse, Globe, Nike and ASICS, the company launched the Save Our Soles program; an industry funded, collaborative program hoping to reduce the sporting industry’s contribution to landfill. In a bid to establish supply chain stability, Save Our Soles was established to divert worn out sporting shoes from landfill, instead converting these shoes into useful, recycled material.
The ASGA, alongside major sporting retailers, has outlined several major sustainability focused outcomes for the program, including:
• Reducing the environmental impact of footwear sent to landfill each year.
• Develop a scalable model for sports shoe recycling programs Australia-wide.
• Promote participation in positive, end-of-life programs across the supply chain.
• Reclaim at least 100 tonnes of pre-used sporting material for repurposing.
Initially trailed in Victoria during 2019, the program now operates in 100 stores across the state, with plans to soon extend the program all throughout Australia.
According to statistics released by the City of Greater Geelong, Rebel Sport Geelong is leading the charts as the location to collect the most pairs of shoes, with over 3000 dropped off at the store since the program commenced. Rebel Sport Geelong, Rebel Sport Waurn Ponds, SportsPower North Geelong, Colac and Warrnambool, and Globe Shoes Torquay all participate within the program, with over 100 collection points across Victoria.