Sustainable Cities Awards 2021
Waste Finalists

Big Group Hug
Big Group Hug
Founded in 2014 by mum and teacher Angela Wood, Big Group Hug’s key mission is to help vulnerable children and families by providing new and pre-loved material aid such as car seats, prams, cots, clothing, toys, nappies and more,

These items get redistribute directly to families through community welfare agencies.

The service not only helps disadvantaged children and families, but also provides a convenient way for people to upcycle usable items, ensuring they are diverted from landfills.

With an army of approximately 300-strong volunteers, Big Group Hug works tirelessly to launder, repair and breathe life back into used items, ensuring they are in good, safe, working condition for 3,200+ children per year.


Bridge Darebin
Moon Rabbit Zero-Waste Cafe and Bulk Foods
Moon Rabbit is an environmentally innovative social-enterprise café in Preston and is part of the Bridge Darebin community organisation.

The café is a training site for the Tiered Transitional Training (TTT) program – a tailored work-readiness program for young people with additional learning needs.

Moon Rabbit serves the community by providing an income stream for Bridge Darebin’s underfunded community programs and by providing affordable, accessible package-free food through the Bulk Foods Collective.

Moon Rabbit’s sustainable ethos and zero-waste targets allow residents to enjoy locally made products without creating waste, and more importantly engage in a conversation about waste reduction and be inspired to do so beyond their morning coffee.

Customers supply produce from their gardens, donate glass jars for takeaway coffees or Bulk Foods Collective, volunteer time and take excess food scraps home for composting.

When COVID-19 hit the hospitality sector hard, Moon Rabbit launched zero-waste take-away, delivery and a brand-new mobile café, staying true to their connection with people and planet.


Monash BorrowCup
BorrowCup is a student-run initiative working to solve the world waste crisis, one coffee cup at a time.

To reduce waste on the Monash University campus, co-founders Simone and Aran innovated BorrowCup’s which provide all the convenience of a disposable coffee cup without the inconvenience of a personal reusable cup.

The system has 3 steps: 1) You ask café staff for a BorrowCup; 2) You return the cup to a BorrowCup bin; 3) The cups are washed in a commercial dishwasher.

To ensure the system is sustainable, Simone and Aran analysed the several components and created a benchmark to maintain a 96% return rate.

The success has been achieved by the help of awesome student volunteers from all different disciplines who continue to do everything in their power to eradicate disposable coffee cups on the Monash campus.


Lids 4 Kids – Western Victoria
Saving Plastic Lids from Landfill
Lids 4 Kids is a nationwide organisation that was established to divert plastic bottle lids from landfill to create a healthier future for our environment and kids.

Lids 4 Kids Western Victoria has established a large group of volunteers who collect plastic bottle tops for recycling into new products. To date, the group collected, cleaned and sorted over 2.4 million lids that have been sent off to production centres where the plastics are used to make new products.

The Lids 4 Kids Western Victoria team has formed a collaboration with Zero Plastics in Ballarat to ensure the collected plastics are re-used. These groups are also working together to establish education programs to build awareness in our community of opportunities to divert resources from landfill and reuse them to make new useful products.


Cultivating Community
The Carlton Kitchen Library
The Carlton Kitchen Library was established in early 2019 at the Carlton Public Housing Estate. It offers the local community an opportunity to loan a wide range of mostly donated kitchen equipment that might otherwise go unused or end up in landfill.

The project reduces the need for people to purchase infrequently used items adopting an access over ownership philosophy. The library also features events packs with the express aim of reducing single-use-plastics.

Due to COVID-19, the library has had to adapt and is currently offering a contactless delivery service and online activities.


Green My Plate
Green My Plate
Green My Plate supplies reusable plates, bowls and cutlery as well as wash stations, staff and compost bins to events, schools and anyone else who needs reusables.

The system allows not only a reduction in single-use food packaging but separates food scraps from general waste bins, which can then be delivered to a local composter.

Green My Plate’s ethos is to wash, dry and reuse the plates, bowls and cutlery, creating a simple and effective cycle. This process will be of benefit to events, as single-use plates, bowls and cutlery are removed from the site leaving a cleaner footprint and less waste to clean, as well as diverting waste from landfill. This can also benefit the event financially by decreasing waste crew numbers, rubbish bins, skip bin and rubbish disposal.


Ecopact Groceries
Towards waste free living Waste
Ecopact Groceries is a grocery store that is focused on making it easier for individuals to limit the amount of packaging being created for their grocery items. It aims to provide as many staple grocery items as it can obtain and assesses these items on sale based on three criteria: their packaging, the distance products travel to get to the shop, and the methods of production used for items.

On top of these three criteria, it looks at the price point of items to ensure that they remain affordable for customers. While this means that it often cannot meet all three criteria, it does mean that a wider base of customers is able to access grocery items that are more carefully sourced.


Boomerang Bags Albury Wodonga
Minimising Landfill
Boomerang Bags Albury Wodonga makes cloth shopping bags from recycled and donated materials.

During COVID, the group was unable to hold regular sewing bees, so it generated “sew at home” kits for volunteers.

Boomerang Bags Albury Wodonga made and delivered more than 1,200 kits to the Albury Wodonga region and gained 20-30 new volunteers. It gave people something useful to do during lockdown and prevented more than 60,000 plastic bags from being used in the community.

The kits were made from fabric which was obtained pre-COVID and were delivered in a contactless manner.


Sustainable Schools Program – Recycle with Mondo
SCRgroup’s 5 Star rated program teaches students about the importance of clothing reuse and recycling in the fast-fashion world. The program is FREE, diverts 100% from landfills and pays the schools for every kilogram collected.

SCRgroup funds free national education and fundraising programs, Recycle with Mondo (for preschools and primary schools) and Sustainable Students (for secondary schools). The programs are designed to teach future generations about the impact of fast fashion and the importance of clothing reuse and recycling.

Schools can select to run clothing drives or host clothing drop-off hubs, earning $0.10 cents for every kilogram collected. Schools are ranked on SCRgroup’s school ladder based on the highest average collection per student (to make it fairer for smaller schools), and at the end of the year, the top 5 schools receive a bonus $1,000 each to go towards their sustainability projects.


City of Greater Geelong
Recycled Roads for Geelong
City of Greater Geelong is delivering innovative road construction projects incorporating recycled materials collected via their kerbside recycling services.

Geelong’s first roads constructed using crushed glass as a replacement for sand are now open. Incorporated three percent recycled glass in the asphalt base mix means these projects use the equivalent of 200,000 glass bottles and jars in every 50 tonnes of road base material.

Rigorously testing has proven that PlastiPhalt does not contain microplastics and therefore does not pose a pollution risk to waterways and natural environments. Testing has also indicated that this product is more durable than standard asphalt.


City of Stonnington
Zero waste Early Learning Centres
Council’s early learning centres (ELCs) have been working towards becoming zero waste. Together with the children and families, Council’s ELCs have integrated a range of waste management practices.

The first step involved a waste audit, which then guided a focus on reducing plastic and food waste.

Key initiatives include worm farms at all centres for food waste (and using Council’s food and green waste service for anything else), shifting from paper towels to hand towels, promoting nude food lunches, recycling soft plastics through REDcycle bins, using Terracycle hubs for bread tags, oral care products and disposable gloves, using scrapbooks to display children’s curriculum instead of plastic pockets and the cook makes food from scratch rather than using processed food, reducing packaging.


City of Port Phillip
Communal Food Organics Recycling Hubs
With 90% of Port Phillip’s population living in medium or high-density housing, providing residents access to a four-service waste and recycling system, as outlined in Recycling Victoria, requires thinking outside the box.

Council is trialling three communal food organics recycling hubs in medium-density areas where small yard sizes may preclude a dedicated bin for food and garden organics.

Hubs consisting of 240L bins, have been placed in local reserves and residents within an estimated 10-minute walk have been invited via a letterbox drop to dispose of their food waste. The hubs have been inspected twice weekly to monitor for negative amenity impacts and bins have been emptied weekly and cleaned monthly.

The hubs have been positively received by the community with approximately 2.5T of food waste diverted in the first two months of the trial. Contamination has been minimal and no negative amenity impacts have been reported. The hubs have proven so popular that additional bins have been added at all hubs, bringing the total number of bins to nine.


City of Port Phillip
Recycling Reset – responding to recycling contamination in a pandemic
In 2020, COVID-19 movement restrictions had an immediate and unprecedented impact on the quality of City of Port Phillip’s kerbside recycling.

With more people working and staying at home, the amount of waste produced within the household spiked with a marked increase in kerbside recycling contamination. In response, Council developed a six-month ‘Recycling Reset’ campaign to reengage our community on what is accepted in the kerbside recycling bin.

With the objective of reducing kerbside recycling contamination from 25% to 10%, the Recycling Reset campaign had four elements that raised awareness of correct recycling behaviour and promoted positive behaviour change.


Mildura Rural City Council
Sending food and garden waste to a better place
Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) has been sending its food and garden organic waste to a better place since July 2020.

In the 11 months since its inception, over 10,000 tons of food and garden waste has been diverted from landfill via the green bins. Their diversion rate has jumped from 30% to 70%.

The green bin introduction was also paired with a move from weekly to fortnightly rubbish bin collection. Although a political risk, this change was made due to the significant environmental, social and financial benefits for the community.


City of Port Phillip – Waste Futures
Elwood FOGO Trial
In May 2020, City of Port Phillip’s Waste Futures team was getting ready to launch the Elwood food organic and garden organic (FOGO) trial. One week prior from the launch Victorians entered Stage 3 lockdown, forcing Council to cancel the launch.

After officially re-launching in July 2020, the team continued to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19, ultimately delivering the full 11-month trial remotely.

This approach involved developing COVID-safe auditing procedures, increasing communication with residents throughout the trial via letters and hosting online community consultation sessions. The online consultations provided Council staff with the opportunity to increase human connection during a period of extreme isolation for residents along with providing a space for residents to share their experiences and suggestions to improve the remainder of the trial.

Several of the suggestions provided through the consultation were actioned immediately by the Waste Futures team.


South Melbourne Market
South Melbourne Market Waste Diversion Program
The South Melbourne Market is passionate about recovering its waste and minimising impact on the environment.

Sixty-seven percent of the Market’s waste is diverted from landfill via 14 different recycling streams.

Where possible they work directly with local businesses who turn waste into valuable materials; this way they can feel confident that their waste is truly being reused rather than lingering in a recycling facility warehouse.


City of Ballarat Youth Services
Recy’kool Fabric Forest and Clothes Swap
The project planning started in early 2021, with youth volunteers developing the concept idea together with local artist Diokno Pasilan.

Installations took place from 28-30 June and the Fabric Forest was launched on 1 July with a large crowd including local MPs, Councillors, youth and allies.

The installation continued to be on display for Our Shared Wardrobe Event and Aboriginal Basket Weaving Workshop for NAIDOC Week. It will then travel to different locations for youth and community to learn and act on fashion waste.

The Shared Wardrobe Event on 6 July including a giant clothes swap and upcycling workshops also organised and led by the same group of youth volunteers shows a creative response to the Art Installation’s demand for action on fashion waste and fast fashion.


Binita Shrestha
Optimising behaviour outcomes in MUDs
In 2018, the City of Port Phillip endorsed the Don’t Waste It! Waste Management Strategy 2018-2028 to provide ‘the blueprint for how Council and the community will work together to create a more sustainable future for Port Phillip through the way waste is managed.

Within that strategy, Council established its vision against four priority outcomes that included becoming a ‘City that reduces waste’, and a ‘City that maximises reuse and recycling.’

Those priorities are threatened by the prevalence of the city’s multi-unit developments (MUDs), rapid redevelopment and the notoriously high rates of recycling contamination MUDs produce.

Overall 2021 Sustainable City Finalists

  • Greater Geelong
  • Yarra Rangers