No rest for the Wicking

Gardens, Lunchtime Sessions, Plants

Life’s a garden. Dig it!

On this frosty winters day, our in-house “curious gardener” Doug Cousins led the discussion around how to build a self-watering garden bed. Doug says “It is simply really. All you need is some timber, pond liner, a load of stone, some good quality soil and the odd bits and pieces to create your own garden bed to grow flowers, vegies or herbs.”

Doug and the Wicking Bed

Placing a layer of carpet down which was kindly donated by a carpet supplier here in Shepparton.


Jeanie and the Wicking Bed

The team adding the black plastic down to provide a waterproof base for the bed.

Wicking beds are becoming a popular way to grow your own herbs and vegetables as they are self-watering and simple to make. It is said that a wicking bed will use approximately 50% less water than our traditional vegie garden using “capillary action” where the water is absorbed by the plants from the bottom up.


Council worker’s got to work on the shovel. Funny that…


There are many benefits to installing your own wicking bed including:

  • Water-saving! Water is not wasted and evaporation is minimal as all the water is kept within the sealed base of the garden bed. A  wicking bed should irrigate itself for about a week which will vary from season to season.
  • You can use a variety of recyled materials laying around the house!
  • They are perfect for people with mobility issues and require minimal strength as large water containers are not needed to carted around.
  • They are self draining in the event of a large downpour.

That’s how it’s done. All we need now is the seedlings!

For more information head over to

Happy growing!


July – Lunchtime Clean Up

Clean Up Australia Day, Lunchtime Sessions, Waste

The Sustainability Working Group hosted a lunchtime clean up around Princess Park and surrounding areas on Thursday 15 June. The activity aimed to get staff active on their lunch break whilst cleaning up around the river and highlighting how much litter is making it’s way into our environment. A total of 6 council staff participated in the clean up – with around 100 litres collected in about 30 minutes. The location chosen is directly behind the Council offices.

Some of the litter collected by Mel during the lunchtime clean up. A lot of the litter collected was recyclable plastic bottles and glass aswell as aluminium cans.

IMG_4066Litter collected at the same site for Business Clean Up Day earlier this year on Tuesday 28 February 2017.

Up-Cycled Office Decos

BuyNothingNew, Recycling, Waste

Council staff have been getting creative in the office; highlighting that you don’t need to go out and buy brand new decorations to create a festive space. By using old stuff and natural products you can create some fabulous Christmas cheer that doesn’t cost the earth.




Swap Party

BuyNothingNew, Lunchtime Sessions, Recycling, Sustainability, Waste


The Sustainability Working Group are hosting a Swap Party just before Christmas to get staff thinking about re-using, recycling and reducing the amount of stuff we buy.

A Swap Party invovles participants bringing along five clean, good quality items you no longer want. You could bring clothes, homewares, toys, books, plants or excess fruit and veg.

Swap Parties are fun, free and green. By swapping you help save water and energy, reduce green house gases and keep valuable resources out of landfill.

You can read more info on Swap Parties HERE


Re-Usable Veggie Bag Making Workshop

Lunchtime Sessions, PlasticFree, Sustainability

Our September lunchtime session, led by Rose M and Maree A, showed us how to make our own reusable veggie bags.  Attendees all had a go at making their own re-usable bags.
The veggie bags are the perfect solution to avoiding the use of the small plastic bags found in the fruit and veggie sections.

You can read 1Milllion women’s tips on how to make your own  veggie bags HERE

We look forward to having similar workshops into the future! Thank you Ladies for helping us to reduce waste!


National Tree Day – 21 August

Plants, Uncategorized

National Tree Day in Greater Shepparton was postponed due to all the rain we have been having. Sunday saw loads of Greater Shepparton residents getting their hands dirty and planting trees at Tassiker Reserve.

A few of the SWAG members participated in the planting of around 1200 trees!


Photo cred for top and bottom photo: Councils Marketing/Communications team.

Keep Cups are here!

PlasticFree, Sustainability, Waste

Keep Cup.png

Every minute around the world, over one million disposable cups are discarded.

Help Council reduce our landfill contribution by purchasing a reusable glass cup, available from the Customer Service desk from today. Cups are only $10 each – that’s a saving of more than 50% off the recommended retail price!

A number of council departments contributed funds to enable our group to purchase 240 cups. We are selling these cups below cost price to encourage staff to minimise their use of disposable cups. If 200 staff were using KeepCups annually, we would reduce our environmental footprint by diverting almost 66 thousand cups from landfill!

All money raised will be used to fund future sustainability projects.

What To Plant This August

Gardens, Plants


After all this rain August will be a perfect time to get out in the garden and start planting:

Snowpeas             Spinach            Spring onions               Tomato
Watermelon          Artichoke (globe)         Asparagus         Beetroot
Cabbage              Dill                   Garlic                            Leek
Lettuce                Mint                  Onion                           Parsnip
Peas                    Potato               Radish                          Rhubarb


SURVEY – We want to find out what you think about our drinking water


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FACT – One in nine people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water.

FACT – In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.

The Sustainability Working Group has been investigating ways to save money, reduce waste and energy consumption whilst ensuring safe and quality drinking water for employees.

We have installed a trial Aquafil Fresh Filtered Water Cooler in the downstairs Welsford Street kitchen, which is linked to plumbing rather than utilising the disposable 15L water bottles currently used throughout the organisation.

We want to gauge your thoughts about the current and proposed water facilities. Please take the time to complete the survey via the link below – just 6 easy questions!

We look forward to receiving your feedback!