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Local Buffer Support Program

MWRRG will deliver the Local Government Buffer Support Program over four years (2014-17) in collaboration with local government, and key State Government agencies. This approach will ensure the policies and tools can be successfully used by local planning authorities.

The Local Buffer Support Program Evaluation Panel, through a Request for Tender process, has appointed AECOM to identify a suite of statutory planning tools and other measures for the management of buffer distances, and to recommend appropriate tools and measures to address the buffer issues at an initial seven priority sites.

What are the buffer project objectives?

  • The objectives of the proposed Local Government Buffer Support Program are to:
    • support and empower metropolitan local government to respond to the land use planning challenges and opportunities set out in Getting full value, Plan Melbourne, the draft Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Policy (SWRRIP) and the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan).
    • develop a suite of land use planning policies, tools and controls that can be used by local planning authorities to define protect and maintain buffers to waste and resource recovery facilities.
    • deploy tools for an initial tranche of sites within metropolitan Melbourne deemed to be a high priority by the Getting full value Project Control Board.
    • support and establish an action group of state and local government senior metropolitan planners and waste managers to work with MWRRG and the waste portfolio on implementing buffer controls.

What will the project funding deliver?

  • Funding of $1,464,000 will allow the development and implementation of the buffer tools and controls over key sites across Melbourne including sites in the south east.
  • The policies, tool and controls developed by this program will become part of the Victorian Planning Provisions and will therefore be made available for use by others. This includes other metropolitan councils whose sites are not included in the study, regional Councils and, regional waste management groups and industries and waste and resource recovery operators wanting to provide their businesses with land use planning certainty.

What will the buffer support program provide?

  • MWRRG proposes developing and delivering the buffer support program in collaboration with local government, and key state government agencies. This approach will ensure the policies and tools can be successfully used by local planning authorities through:
    • a clear and consistent set of planning policies and tools, informed by state policies and local knowledge and needs
    • fostering a shared understanding – for state, local government and industry planning professionals – of the significance of waste and resource recovery facilities
    • developing ownership and broad uptake of the policies and tools by planning professionals
    • strengthening waste and resource recovery expertise and capacity in local government planners.
  • MWRRG will draw on its partnering approach and practices that are currently being used to successfully deliver collective procurement for organic facilities.

Why are buffers important?

  • Establishing and protecting buffer distances over the life of the facility is critical for minimising adverse impacts on adjoining communities, and for preventing encroachment of incompatible adjacent uses (which can lead to the early closure of facilities).
  • The early closure of facilities could in turn have a negative impact on business confidence, investment in new waste disposal and resource recovery infrastructure and local government waste and recovery costs and contracts.

Why are buffers and encroachment the key challenge?

  • The planning system has a critical role to ensure waste management and recovery facilities are protected from encroachment by incompatible land uses.
  • Planning can ensure there is adequate infrastructure for new urban development while protecting the public health and amenity of residents and businesses in the vicinity.

We all know finding sites for new resource recovery facilities and managing planning issues around existing facilities is a challenge. How are you proposing to fix this?

  • The draft schedule emphasises that suitable site selection is critical to the success of the Strategic Plan. Appropriate siting based on consultation with local government, EPA Victoria and the waste management industry and the community is the best way to protect the environment and public health and minimise commercial risk.
  • The schedule sets out five high level criteria to be applied to resource recovery infrastructure. It recommends that waste management sites are of a suitable size are co-located with other compatible land uses and where possible and have good access to transport.
  • The Strategic Plan also stipulates zoning and planning to provide sufficient buffers around sites to ensure that sites do not adversely affect the quality of life of people living and working in neighbouring communities and to protect the sites from encroachment by residential and business developments.

Why does the draft Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan, and the draft Strategic Plan, say that Clayton is an important site for resource recovery?

  • When the Clayton landfill closes, (expected to be within the next five years) it will create a short-term reduction of landfill capacity of around 1.2 million tonnes per annum in the metropolitan south-east region. However, because of its zoning and location, the Clayton site is considered suitable for the establishment of a resource recovery facility.
  • Creating such a facility in the region could also help reduce the pressure on any new landfill site that may be needed to contain the waste from the south-east region.

Combined Education Network Event February 2015

Download the presentations and resources from the Combined Education Network Event on February 2015:

How do we share knowledge?
Knowledge Sharing (PDF) Martin Pritchard and Damien Sweeney, Pacific Research & Evaluation Associates
Summary of Workshop (PDF)


University of Melbourne Tours
For more information regarding the tour of the University’s new Architecture building and/or its Closed the Loop composting system please email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Waste and Recycling Coordinator, The University of Melbourne or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Organics Operations Manager, Closed Loop.

Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group updates
Sustainability Activity Kit update:
For more information about Sustainability Activity Kit please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Back to Earth update:
School resources are being developed to support organic recycling. Further information will be provided shortly.   

For further information regarding litter education resources please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .    


Sustainability Victoria updates (links to relevant websites)
Victorian Statewide Waste Education Strategy  - Natasha Gayfer, Project Advisor,  Comms, Marketing & Waste Education , Sustainability Victoria
Love food hate waste  - Natasha Gayfer, Project Advisor,  Comms, Marketing & Waste Education , Sustainability Victoria
ResourceSmart School Awards - Claire Ruedin, Project Advisor, Litter & Education, Sustainability Victoria
Keep Australia Beautiful – Sustainably City Awards - Glenda James, Project Advisor – Awards, Litter & Education,

Free to good homes

The following educational resources are FREE to good homes. If you are a council or community group that can make use of any of these items please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone her on 8698 9800.
Please note, you will need to collect these items yourself or organise for a courier by 5 June (Queen’s Birthday weekend).

First in, first served!

1. The Recycling Hub (Wood) – 1620mm long x 590mm wide x 1280mm high

recycling hub1  recycling hub2 

This unit is on wheels and encourages people to recycle items that usually can’t be recycled via kerbside recycling bins.  The unit has containers, drawers and cupboards for different items (which need to be taken to a transfer station/resource recovery centre when full). The signs are attached with velcro and so can be changed to suit your organisation and recycling preferences.


2. The Recycling Home table (Wood) – 1200mm long x 1200mm wide x 1450mm high

 Recycling table 

Recycling table2

This table top depicts has different rooms of a home (lounge, bathroom, study, bedroom, kitchen) and is used to demonstrate and lead discussions on the different type of recyclable materials that are typically found in each room.  The shelf and sample recyclables shown in the photo are also included.


3. The 'How to Empty your Garbage Bin' sign (Wood) – 580mm long x 40mm wide x 1050mm high

Door sign

Door sign2

A free standing educational sign with doors that open to show composting, recycling and waste wise messages.


4. Hard plastic ‘easy access’ bin lid covers – fits 240 litre bins (approx. 1 sqm)

Open lid cover

Open lid cover2 

These lid covers sit on top of an open 240 litre bin to allow for rubbish to be recycled/disposed of without having to open the hinge lid each time. Perfect for events or situations where the bins are used frequently. 4 available.

Healthy Sustainable Gardens (HSG)

Healthy Sustainable Gardens (HSG) was a market development strategy that ran between 2005 and 2010 to:

  • raise awareness and knowledge about green organics recycling
  • promote the buy back of recycled mulch and compost
  • support the recycled organics industry and councils to close the loop on green organics recycling.

Healthy Sustainable Gardens was about raising community awareness and understanding of household green organics. In particular, how green organics collected from households is made into certified recycled products that can be used back on the garden or on the land for growing crops and vegetables.   Products promoted under the HSG brand met the Australian Standards for Composting (AS4454). The Back to Earth initiative continues to raise awareness of this journey from kerbside back to earth.

During the HSG strategy period a range of activities were undertaken to promote awareness and enable residents across metropolitan Melbourne to easily access and purchase bulk quantities of recycled organic compost or mulch product. Currently recycled compost products are stocked by majority of Melbourne’s retail garden supply outlets.


The Healthy Sustainable Gardens contributed greatly to establishing a market for recycled organics in the urban household gardening sector by extending market reach and market share across Melbourne as well as enabling valuable resources, tools and links to be developed. 

Over 40 garden supply outlets across Melbourne are now stocking the mulch and compost products on an ongoing basis. The retailers have acquired an improved understanding of the material, its product characteristics and the processes involved in producing the compost and mulch.

Processors have become more responsive to the needs of the community in respect to what constitutes product appeal and quality. Several processors now produce products that comply with Australian Standards (AS-4454) and the Leaf Mark brand (application specific products).

Many councils across Melbourne now conduct yearly promotional and educational activities to educate the community about the process, the need to recycle correctly to reduce contamination and the importance of buying back the products.

Plans for the future

The emphasis has now shifted to maintaining green waste recycling through Back to Earth messages and following new directions such as promoting the use of recycled organics on council parks, ovals and waterways. Other future initiatives being considered by MWRRG in consultation with stakeholders include:

  • working with councils to improve source separation to increase the quality of the mulch product being processed and ultimately produced
  • working with processors to look at strategies for producing a cleaner end-product, in particular the mulch; looking at ways to improve the quality of the feedstock arriving, the removal of contaminants and consistency of clean product being supplied to retailers
  • undertaking research to ascertain contaminant levels occurring in council feedstock arriving at composting facilities and/or surveys and audits to discover what collection and educational approaches lead to reduced contamination levels
  • undertaking research to ascertain community understanding of green waste recycling and their attitudues and behaviours towards it.

For more information about recycled organics, visit Healthy Parks Ovals and Waterways (HPOW).

Combined Education Network Day May 2013

Download the presentations from the Combined Education Network Day on 8 May 2013

The Story of Recycling at Ascot Vale Housing Estate (pdf 5MB)

City of Darebin CALD Storyboards (pdf 2.23MB)

Frankston City - Keepin' It Clean (pdf 1.94MB)

City of Stonnington Green Schools' Network 2013 Program (pdf1.32MB)

The Pro Action Café version 1.2 (pdf 106KB)

Recycling/Waste stickers from the Commonwealth Games

General waste

general waste 2

Dimensions 56.5cm long x 20cm high (the logo section is 13cm)

Food only


Dimensions approx 56cm long x 20cm wide

Clean paper and cardboard

clean paper cardboard

Dimensions approx 56cm long x 20cm wide

General Waste


Dimensions 28.5cm wide x 43cm high (the logo section is 8cm)

Paper and Plastic (No Food)

paper plastic

Dimensions 28.5cm wide x 43cm high (the logo section is 8cm)

Combined Education Network Day June 2012

Download the minutes and presentations from the Combined Education Network Day on 21 June 2012.


Ed Net session

Click here for the PDF of Buy Nothing New Month's extensive media coverage.

City of Monash "Don't Trash Monash" presentation (460kb)

Green Steps at Work Melbourne (103kb)

Green Steps internship information (287kb)

Green steps MWMG educators (916kb)


SEN Session

Minutes (28kb)

Survey results (29kb)

Frankston City Council Teachers Environmental Network presentation (626kb)

Frankston City Council Teachers Environmental Network Flyer (462kb)

RS Aussi Vic Initiative Council support template (60kb)


Healthy Parks, Ovals and Waterways (HPOW)

The Healthy Parks, Ovals and Waterways (HPOW) project was developed by MWRRG with support from Sustainability Victoria and the Centre for Organic Research and Education (CORE) to pilot and showcase the use of certified recycled organic products in the local government sector.

Applications of recycled organics that were promoted as part of the program included remediation, mulching and top dressing for parks, gardens and sporting ovals as well as for use in erosion control and stormwater improvement.

The pilot program involved councils testing a range of recycled organics products. Participating councils received technical, monitoring and advisory support from CORE. This included pre-site inspections and discussions with council personnel and the suppliers to ensure that products appropriate to the site specifications, soil conditions and installation requirements would be met.

As part of the trials, a testing and monitoring regime was developed by CORE in association with Turf Grass Consultants (Australia). This involved comparative soil and leaf analysis testing for each site. Soil and plant/leaf samples were taken from both the treated and untreated areas.

Trial results for sporting oval sites have revealed a significant reduction in soil hardness, improvement in nutrient levels, moisture retention and soil porosity through the use of recycled organics products. These results have been included in case studies that were developed for each project site.

Click below to read the case studies about the selected sites.

Sporting ovals

City of Darebin - JE Moore Oval (Reservoir) (240 KB)

City of Darebin - Zwar Reserve (Preston) (176 KB)

City of Yarra - WT Peterson Oval (North Fitzroy) (285 KB)

Shire of Yarra Ranges - Morrison Reserve (Mt Evelyn) (253 KB)

Community reserves

City of Yarra - Atherton Reserve (Fitzroy) (176 KB)

Stormwater treatment

Melbourne City Council - Melbourne CBD Drain Strainer trial (208KB)

City of Frankston - George Pentland Botanic Gardens (Frankston South) (235 KB)

The suppliers involved in the pilot were composters whose products comply with Australian Standards (AS 4454).


Further info and resources

For more information about the Healthy Parks, Ovals and Waterways project please contact Zandy Powell on 8698 9809 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Compost Victoria - Victoria's peak body for the compost industry

Compost for Soils - for advice and research on the production, benefits and use of recycled organics in a variety of soils and applications.

Compost Australia – the peak national body for the organics processing and recycling industry which aims to support a professional and sustainable industry by establishing and implementing an industry development plan

Recycled Organics - provides useful technical information and resources on research and development, training and other related services

Standards Australia – the Australian Standard for Composts, Soil Conditioners and Mulches AS4454-2003 is available for purchase on this site

Centre for Organic Research and Education (CORE) – an industry environmental marketing company specialising in the development and marketing of recycled organics products, technologies and services.

AORA - the Australian organics recycling association

Waste Policy Review

The Department of Sustainability and Environment in partnership with environment portfolio agencies the Environment Protection Authority, Sustainability Victoria and the Metropolitan and Regional Waste Management Groups, is leading a review of waste policy to recommend a new Victorian Waste Policy. 

This review allows for a rethink on the ways we determine, and treat waste and resource recovery. It will set out a road-map for achieving the best possible value and outcomes from the way we manage waste.

The review will be focused primarily on:

  • The strategic, legislative, institutional and investment settings that influence the nature and performance of waste management, and;
  • Solid municipal waste, commercial and industrial waste, and construction and demolition waste.

It is important that the new policy is informed by the expert knowledge and understanding of our stakeholders. DSE has prepared a Waste Policy Review Discussion Paper to facilitate a conversation about waste policy in Victoria.

While the Victorian Advanced Resource Recovery Initiative (VARRI) project has concluded, some important lessons were learnt which will be considered as part of the Waste Policy Review. A VARRI summary paper highlighting the projects findings, insights, methods of analysis and gaps is now available on the DSE website.

Your input is welcomed to help inform the basis of a new waste policy framework. Written submissions relating to the discussion paper are due by 3 May 2012.

The engagement program is also available on the DSE website. It lists the forums being held across Victoria for local government, industry and community members. If you would like to participate, please register your interest by emailing your details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

To download the discussion paper and learn more about the Waste Policy Review visit the DSE website .