City of Melbourne fights war on waste

The City of Melbourne has pledged $50,000 to help retail and hospitality businesses reduce their impact on the environment.

In response to the environmental issues highlighted in the ABC’s War on Waste TV series, council has endorsed a motion to increase its efforts to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

This includes launching a Single-use Waste Reduction Fund where eligible businesses will receive up to $2000 to reduce the usage of plastic bags, coffee cups and bottled water in their operations and services. Single-use items refer to any product that is intended only to be used once and then discarded.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Cathy Oke, says the small steps residents and businesses make to reduce their use of plastics can have a big impact.

“Our residents and businesses want to do their bit for the environment so we’re helping them to join the war on waste,” Cathy says. “This fund will support retail and hospitality businesses to reduce the amount of waste they produce in their day-to-day operations.”
Applications for the fund are open until 21 September 2017. Successful applicants will be notified on 5 October, and funding released on 12 October.

Funding may be a part contribution towards the cost of a larger program of work or it may fund the complete initiative. Some examples of likely eligible projects include the purchase of re-use items that avoid single use items in businesses, such as bags, cups, straws and bottles, a customer based campaign to promote available recyclable, or re-use items.

City of Melbourne says the used energy and economic cost of disposing single use plastic is “immense”. Australians use 10 million plastic bags per day and three billion coffee cups per year. Often these items end up in parks and waterways and are washed into the ocean.

To be eligible for a Single-use Waste Reduction Fund Small Grant, applicants must be a business owner or manager within the City of Melbourne and willing to commit to using the funding for the agreed purpose within a defined time period. All applicants will need to provide evidence of public liability insurance. Work that is inconsistent with program objectives, policies, laws or regulations will not be funded, nor for businesses outside the City of Melbourne.

Successful applicants must express the extent of the proposed waste reduction, be a genuine business expense not easily absorbed in the usual costs of doing business, show the visibility of the waste reduction, and set a good example to customers/patrons.

To apply for the fund, click here.

The motion also commits council to formally advocate for a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags and the introduction of a Container Deposit Scheme.

Small Business, Retail and Hospitality Chair Councillor Susan Riley and Cr Oke will also seek commitments from large supermarket chains, retailers and cafes within the municipality to work with us to reduce the use of single-use items.

Last year the City of Melbourne installed more than 60 water fountains to make it easier for people to access free drinking water in the city and to reduce reliance on plastic bottles.

The City of Melbourne is currently developing its new Waste and Resource Recovery Plan 2018-2021, which will outline a number of programs and initiatives to increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill.

For more information on the Single-use Waste Fund, contact the City of Melbourne or visit www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Pages/home.aspx