City of Melbourne: Degraves Street Recycling Facility

The Degraves Street Recycling Facility was launched in March 2013. The purpose of the program was to change the waste and amenity culture in the café precinct and provide for food waste, cardboard and commingled recycling. The program was borne out of the Integrated Waste Management Program endorsed by Council in 2010. The program included initiatives to trial small-scale organics processing technology and test the model of a shared recycling collection point in the central city.

Degraves Street was identified as a target location for the trial due to the high density of food businesses and the high number of bins stored on the street. Waste bins were poorly managed in this laneway leading to a highly visible amenity problem with overflowing bins, dumped rubbish, litter, vermin, odour and access issues. Secondly, there was no recycling taking place. The City of Melbourne (CoM) especially wanted to trial the processing of food waste – something CoM hadn’t done before.

The project was designed to engage and educate the 32 businesses within the precinct about recycling, helping them to set up source separation systems in their kitchens and understand the importance of recycling and the issue about food waste in landfills. Recycling Officers were employed to operate the facility and carry out the education component.

The Officers worked collaboratively with the traders in the precinct to overcome challenges such as space constraints, late night operating hours, high staff turnover and behaviour change.

Key achievements of the program include:

  • A reduction of the garbage waste stream by 66.0%
  • A resource recovery rate of 66.9%
  • Food waste reduction of 68.9%
  • A combined total of 392 tonnes of recycling diverted from landfill
  • Local community gardens, and Council parks and gardens supplied with biomass created from the food dehydrator


Of the businesses surveyed at the project completion, 100% described their satisfaction level as either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the project as a whole.

At its core, the Degraves Street Recycling Facility has vastly improved the amenity of the lane. It has reduced dumped rubbish, reduced graffiti, solved odour issues and vermin problems and reduced litter in the laneway with the added social and educational benefits passed on to the community.

Read more about the City of Melbourne's programs to improve commercial waste and recycling in central city hot spots here.

Project resources:

  • Degraves Street Recycling MF R1 Final Report - Melbourne Report 1.2 MB

    This final report outlines the outcomes, findings, supporting documentation and recommendations for the Melbourne City Council 'Degraves Street Recycling Facility' project. This Metro Fund Round 2 project aimed to divert food waste and recyclable items such as cardboard, hard plastics and glass from landfill through new infrastructure. The project also engaged with local traders and volunteers from Ross House Association to develop and implement a successful behaviour change program. 

  • Degraves Street Recycling presentation - Melbourne Promotional item 2.2 MB

    This presentation outlines the issues, objectives and results for the Melbourne City Council 'Degraves Street Recycling Facility' project. This Metro Fund Round 2 project aimed to divert food waste and recyclable items such as cardboard, hard plastics and glass from landfill through new infrastructure. The project also engaged with local traders and volunteers from Ross House Association to develop and implement a successful behaviour change program.  

  • Case study: Degraves Street recycling R2 - Melbourne Case Study 1.4 MB

    This case study examines the Melbourne City Council 'Degraves Street Recycling Facility' project which aimed to divert food waste and recyclable items such as cardboard, hard plastics and glass from landfill through new infrastructure. 

Last updated: 20/06/2016