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!


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.

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!


Paper Saving Proposal Approved


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Great news! Greater Shepparton City Council will reduce our total paper use by 15% after a recommendation was approved to forgo printing out extensive reports for our Executive Leadership Team and Councillors. Instead, team members will receive these reports electronically.

That equates to saving about 450,000 sheets of paper each year. The change starts with us.

Field trip to Murrnong, Violet Town

Permaculture, Sustainability


On Thursday, 5th May, the Sustainability Working Group headed out to permaculture farm Murrnong at Violet Town to meet farmer David Arnold.

David teaches a variety of courses at the farm, including Permaculture Design and Backyard Bees, as well as harvesting and selling organic food at local farmers markets.

The group learnt about how David developed the farm, the way animals are integrated into the property, and how we can all take steps to a more self-reliant way of living.

Thanks for having us David!


Fungi Festival Fun

Plants, Sustainability

In celebration of the important ecological role of fungi in our soils the Strathbogie Ranges Conservation Management Network  invites you to a late autumn Fungi Festival.

The event will be informative as well as engaging, fun and funny, as well as delicious (and inexpensive).

A workshop with fungi expert  and photographer Alison Pouliot kicks of the festival on Saturday May 7 in the township of Strathbogie.

This will be followed on subsequent weekends by a Bush Dance, a Gastromedy event and a Childrens Art Exhbition . Bookings now open for Alison Pouliot’s workshop on Eventbrite. See poster attached for more details on all events.

More information on all events will be posted on the Fungi Festival Facebook page. Get involved!


Change One Thing

PlasticFree, Recycling, Sustainability, Waste


Below is a list of relatively small changes that everyone can do to start making the world better. Change ONE thing from what you normally do. Just one. Then the hope is that one will turn into two, or more. And while this is by no means the complete list of what you can be doing, it’s a start. A super easy start.


Saying NO –BYO coffee cup
I’m not going to tell you not to have coffee, but in Australia, we bin around 1 billion coffee cups every year, generating over 7,000 tonnes of waste –whaaaaat!
Get yourself a reusable cup. There are some pretty good looking ones out there. Keep it in your bag, at home or at work and BYO everywhere you go. Some cafes even give you a discount if you have one.


Food Shopping  –When it comes to your weekly food shop, just be a little more aware about packaging, plastic and knowing where your food comes from. Australians throw away about 7,150 recyclable plastic bags a minute. Around the world we use and throw away 1 trillion every year. CHANGE ONE thing – Often fruit and veg already  have its own natural packaging, avoid plastic bags or purchase reusable veggie bags.

Ditch the disposable

Ditch the disposable –
Some 100 billion disposable pieces of plastic cutlery are used and thrown out every year. Parts of the ocean are turning into plastic soup. The culprits? Takeaway containers, water bottles, straws, plastic bags and plastic cups. Items we often only use once!
CHANGE ONE thing – Say no to plastic bags, extra napkins and cutlery. If you’re going back home or to work to eat your takeaway use the cutlery there and take your own container. If you’re clothes shopping, put bought items in your own bag, or get one bag and put everything in there.

plastic wrapping

Kill the plastic wrapping –The notorious line up of plastic wrap/cling film/tin foil/aluminium foil/sandwich bags is made from energy intensive resources and often people use them for single, wasteful uses. Take the plastic covering your leftovers. After its binned it most likely will end up in landfill. Change ONE thing –STOP using plastic wrap invest in Tupperware, use old takeaway containers, wash and reuse sandwich bags and get more uses from your tin foil.

bottled water

Say BYE to bottled water – Water has to be pumped out of the ground, packaged, transported and chilled before it gets to us. This creates over 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year in Australia alone. We could actually just get it from the tap. Change ONE thing – Buy a reusable water bottle and take it everywhere you go. Refill it at cafes, restaurants or parks. Who wants to pay for bottled water when there is a much cheaper alternative?

You can do it! By now, you might be feeling something unfamiliar. Maybe you’ve even fist pumped the air. It’s a little thing called eco enthusiasm. Share it far and wide!

Sources: Images and content taken from HERE

Lunchtime Information Sessions are back!

Plants, Sustainability

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February – How to grow your own Chillies/Tomatoes/Avocadoes

Want to learn more about growing fruit and vegetables? Learn from the master Michael Carrafa as he reveals his secrets on how to grow the tastiest tomatoes and chillies going around! MC will also share how you can cultivate your own avocado plants from seed.

Date: Thursday 18 February
Location: Hunter Room, Welsford Street Office
Time: 12.30pm – 1.15pm
BYO Lunch

SWAG Christmas Wrap Up


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Wow, what a great year 2015 was for the Sustainability Working Action Group (SWAG)!

A few highlights for 2015 include:
– The creation of our blog
– Lunchtime information sessions were very popular (bokashi, composting and worm farming, healthy smoothie making, plant propagation, food and succulent sharing, to name a few).
– The field trip to the Western Composting and the Recycling recovery facilities were very interesting.
– Launched the “switch off” campaign.
– Introduced and maintained a carpooling scheme.
– Set up a food swap basket and SWAG notice board in the tea room.

The Sustainability Working Group would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2016.

Although Christmas is the time for sharing and giving, we would like to remind everyone that there are other options available than just purchasing gifts that your friends and family might not even actually want or need?

It is estimated that Australians will spend over $47 billion on ‘gifts’ this Christmas. Many of these unwanted and not needed. Make your dollar a vote for a better world by choosing sustainable and ethical companies that are making a difference.

SWAG Christmas Tip: Buy a battery free gift these holidays. Less than 3% of all batteries purchased in Australia are recycled, the rest end up in landfill. Please note that Council offer FREE household battery recycling.

Enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s break and we are looking forward to another big year in 2016.

Here is a creative little version of the “12 days of Christmas” that we like to call the “12 days of Xcessmas” Cue music! The full version will be available on insite soon. This is the concluding verse:

On the twelfth day of Christmas, our planet said to me:

(12) buy green clean pressies,
(11) reuse the Chrissy wrapping,
(10) compost all left-overs,
(9) recharge your batteries,
(8) turn down the air con,
(7) recycle drink containers
(6) set real plates,
(5) walk to the shops,
(4) buy a gift that lasts,
(3) have a shorter shower,
(2) buy green power,
(1) and a cloth bag is so waste free!

© 2006 – Sustainability Street Institute & Vox Bandicoot