Sustainable Living

Get creative about how to live sustainably; find ways to grow your own food; read tips on how to buy green and subscribe to our sustainability newsletter.

Want to connect to nature, grow your own food, reduce your waste and take climate action on the climate emergency? Subscribe to our environment newsletter Sustainable Darebin and discover our Sustainable Darebin Map.


Welcome to Sustainable Darebin.

Sustainable Darebin is Darebin's refreshed and redesigned E-Newsletter and our new Facebook Group.


Sign up to Sustainable Darebin for a monthly email update on local sustainability and environmental events, and inspiring stories and tips on how we can all get active on the climate emergency in our homes and community, delivered straight to your inbox.

To subscribe, visit

Previous Editions:

Facebook Group

Connect to others in the Sustainable Darebin community with our Facebook Group. This is an exciting new space for Darebin locals and neighbours to share stories and tips on how we can all get active on the climate emergency in our homes and community. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Join the Sustainable Darebin Facebook Group today.

Sustainable Darebin Map is here

The new Sustainable Darebin Map is an online, interactive map that will support the community to discover where they can connect, grow, shop, travel and reduce waste sustainably in Darebin. Featured places include : 

  • local shops, cafes, and restaurants who are going single-use plastic free and greening their business
  • places you can visit to borrow, share, donate, buy second-hand and take items for repair and recycling
  • Darebin’s best shimmy bike routes and bike repair stations
  • creeks, wetlands, grasslands, reserves and a Wildlife Sanctuary
  • local sustainability and climate action groups
  • community gardens and organic grocers

Access the Sustainable Darebin Map on your computer and mobile devices to get started.

You can read more about the Sustainable Darebin Map in our FAQ.

Council says no to single-use plastic! We’re taking action to reduce the harm, waste and pollution caused by single-use plastic items.

On 5 June 2017, Council resolved to eliminate single-use plastic items in an eight-part resolution. 

Every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists somewhere in the world. Plastic is designed to last forever, yet every day we use many plastic products that are thrown away after only a few minutes. Much of this plastic ends up in landfill or as litter in our environment. It is estimated that eight million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in freshwater and marine environments each year; polluting water and harming wildlife.

As part of this resolution, on 26 February 2018 Council endorsed a new Single-use Plastic Free Events Policy to eliminate single-use plastic products at events run by Council and events held on Council land. The policy extends to all council owned buildings, venues and roads and aims to reduce the harm caused by single-use plastic products.

The policy outlines Councils commitment to:

  • Eliminate single-use plastic bags
  • Eliminate single-use plastic plates, bowls, cups, straws, cutlery and take away food containers
  • Eliminate bottled water, and provide alternative, free access to water
  • Avoid plastic packaging
  • Eliminate balloons at events
  • Reuse event materials where possible
  • Educate and guide event staff and audience on single-use plastic free practices

Read the Single-Use Plastic Free Events Policy.

We have welcomed the state-wide shopping bag ban which commenced in November 2019. We'll continue our advocacy to the State Government for more actions, but we'll also be working with our community - our residents and traders - to support and encourage them to make a commitment to eliminating single-use plastic.

Support for Local Businesses
The Plastic Free Darebin Business Guide is now available. The practical guide was developed in consultation with our local businesses, and will help them eliminate single-use plastics in their operations. It includes information about alternative products to single-use plastics, steps to go single-use plastic free, a waste audit template, and more. 

Wangim is a community-led initiative funded by Darebin City Council which aims to remove the need for single-use cups. Wangim is the local Woiwurrung word for boomerang, and, just like a boomerang, the program works by having customers collect their coffee in a special takeaway Wangim mug and then returning it to a participating café on their next trip. To find out more, visit Wangim website.

Our Sustainable Business team offers support and advice on a range of matters including energy and waste. Through our annual Sustainability Matters event, traders are able to connect with other local sustainable businesses. To find out more, visit

Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic items we use, and challenges us to do something about it. You can help reduce plastic consumption by taking one simple action a week, or say NO to all single-use plastics for a day, a week or the whole month.

Here are some ideas for everyday actions to reduce single-use plastic waste: 

  • Take your reusable cup to the café next time you’re buying a takeaway coffee or tea. You can also help spread the word by encouraging your friends to bring their reusable cup too, or asking your local café to become a responsible café.
  • Bring your own containers for your takeaway lunch and shopping at deli to avoid meals and other items pre-packaged in plastic. You don't need a new container - just reuse what you already have.
  • It takes between three-seven litres of water and one litre of oil to make just one litre of bottled water1,2. Choose tap water and carry a refillable water bottle with you. Don’t know where to fill up? Find your closest water refilling station here.
  • Go plastic packaging free and try a ‘nude’ food lunch. Ditch the plastic wrap and use a lunchbox or fabric wrap for your sandwich instead.

To sign up for the Plastic Free July challenge and for more info, tips and hints, visit the Plastic Free July website here.




Video: Plastic Free July - We are saying no to single use plastic in Darebin and supporting the Plastic Free July challenge.

We encourage our residents to make healthy and sustainable food choices.

There is a growing interest in creating local food systems which respect the limits of natural resources and improve the health and wellbeing of communities. Local Food Systems can also help improve food security by increasing the availability of and access to diverse food options.

We host regular Sustainable Food Leaders Forums which are open to anyone in the Darebin community involved in or interested in sustainable food initiatives or improving food security.

To find out when the next Forum is or to keep up to date with the latest Sustainable Food news and events, visit the Darebin Food Harvest Network website.

Backyard Harvest Stories

This year we launched our new online food growing and sharing project, Backyard Harvest Stories. Council partnered with 3000acres to encourage social connection and engagement online through the world of food gardening.

Backyard Harvest Stories has now come to an end. A great big thank you to all our backyard gardeners who tagged and shared stories of their backyard food growing adventures. We saw hundreds of gardening photos, videos, chicken selfies and garden tours, which captured and celebrated Darebin’s fantastic food growing culture for all to see. Two lucky gardeners won some fantastic prizes.

Even though the main part of the project is over, we’d still love you to continue sharing photos of your backyard harvest using our hashtag #darebinbackyardharvest to inspire and connect with other local growers!

Through Backyard Harvest Stories we grew a fantastic collection of gardening tutorials from local food gardeners and experts:

Keeping Chickens


Fruit Trees



Community Groups involved in Sustainable Food

There are a range of organisations and community initiated activities that support sustainable food across Darebin and neighbouring municipalities:

  • Transition Darebin is a local community group that is aiming to help transition to a low energy economy. Food is a priority issue for the group and current initiatives include Urban Food Harvesters Food swaps in Northcote and Reservoir, ‘Our Apple Tree’ in Herbert Street, Northcote, and ‘The Convivial Kitchen’
  • Darebin Information Volunteer Resource Service (DIVRS) is a not-for-profit volunteer driven organisation that delivers free services and programmes for vulnerable populations in Darebin. DIVRS’s Urban Food Programme aims to use existing urban food resources (public and private) to create a more sustainable community by re-localising food production, distribution and consumption. It includes the delivery of the Darebin Fruit Squad and Backyard Basics Project, as well as leadership of volunteer positions in Fresh Food and Food Sourcing to augment the Emergency Relief Foodstore. Founded by Transition Darebin and with funding from Darebin Council, the Fruit Squad project involves volunteers gathering surplus fruit from private fruit trees for redistribution to those in need. Horticultural knowledge and experience is also shared to help maintain Darebin’s fruit tree stock. 
  • Melbourne Food Hub is a collaboration between Sustain: The Australian Food Network and Melbourne Farmers Markets. Located on the site of the Melbourne Innovation Centre in Alphington, the MFH aims to create a place where the community can meet to engage with food through learning, growing, making and sourcing fresh local produce. It is also being developed as a place where local food enterprises and social businesses are supported and incubated to encourage the co-creation of local food systems.  
  • CERES is a not for profit educational organisation located in East Brunswick. It has an urban orchard food swap, produce market, nursery, and a bulk unpackaged  food store. They also run cooking and other sustainable living workshops. CERES Fair Food is their ethical on-line organic grocery delivery service.
  • Cultivating Community work with diverse communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems. They provide services in public housing community gardens, food waste and composting, food systems and school food gardens.

Food Security

Council coordinates the Darebin Emergency Relief Network to assist local emergency relief providers and other community agencies meet the needs of Darebin residents experiencing financial or material disadvantage, including problems accessing food.

Sustainable Food Events and Workshops

We host the Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival each year which celebrates home food growing and preserving traditions across cultures and generations through tours and workshops held by passionate and knowledgeable local food experts

Sustainable Food Policies and Strategies

Council's role in supporting food security and sustainable food in Darebin is outlined in these documents: 

Sustainable Food Resources

Interested in reading about how to make healthy, sustainable and affordable food choices and to successfully and sustainably grow food at home?

Buying green is making a choice to purchase products and services that are less damaging to the environment.The decision you make can make a big difference to our environment!

Council an active member of the ECO-buy program, encouraging residents and staff to consider their environmental impact when purchasing household appliances, services and office equipment.

Here are some tips to help you buy green:

  • Select products with four star or higher energy ratings. The higher the efficiency of the product, the more it will lower your electricity bills and help the environment.
  • Choose AAAA or higher water efficient appliances – an easy way to save water and money.
  • Look for products made from recycled materials and packaging. Recycled and reused products mean no raw resources are used and cut down on the waste we produce. Even better, use a reusable container for food and drinks.
  • Look for fuel efficient options when buying a car. Cars are one of the biggest expenses for a household and a big source of carbon pollution. The better the millage, the more money in your pocket.
  • Use sustainable transport where you can. Walking and riding are free and healthy.
  • Reduce your waste through recycling and composting. Recycling is a great way to help improve the environment by diverting waste from landfill. Composting is easy and turns food waste into valuable nutrients for your garden.
  • Buy environmentally friendly cleaning products to cut down on powerful chemicals in your home and the sewers. An equally clean home without the chemical smell!
  • Use a reusable bag instead of plastic when shopping and remember to use it often. Reusable bags are a great way to cut down on plastic waste, but not if they’re sitting at home while you’re at the shops!
  • Buy local products and services. Farmers markets and local suppliers reduce the transport needed to get produce to your table, and helps our your local small-scale farmers.
  • Create a vegetable garden to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs at your own home. A delicious alternative to a trip to the supermarket. 
Further Information:
Environmental Sustainability

Council recognises that our community is growing and changing with development of high rise or multi-dwelling living, changing demographics and an overall increase in population - and these changes mean that many of our residents may not have access to private open space. In this context public open spaces are becoming more important to the health, socialisation and recreation of our community. This is increasing pressure on our existing open spaces, and creating a need for more open spaces and natural environments.

In 2018 Council established the Darebin Nature Trust, made up of a group of local experts from nature-related fields. This group provides advice and expertise, assisting Council to improve the provision and protection of open spaces and enhance local biodiversity. This new group has an established Terms of Reference and works with Council, community groups, other governments, authorities, private sector and other organisations to achieve this aim.

The Darebin Nature Trust can be contacted by emailing

Darebin Nature Trust - Expression of Interest
Nominations are now open for membership to the Darebin Nature Trust Advisory Committee. The Trust works with Darebin Council to seek and action opportunities to grow, protect and enhance Darebin’s network of open and green spaces for people and for wildlife. The Trust is comprised of experts in biodiversity and natural heritage protection. Council is looking to fill four vacancies with Darebin community members who have capabilities and expertise in one or more of the following areas: biodiversity, ecology, open space management, urban design, environmental planning, cultural heritage, community engagement and advocacy. 

Please visit the Expression of Interest online form to apply to become a member. Expression of Interest closing date is Sunday 2nd August 2020. 

If you have any queries, please email Darebin’s Senior Environment officer (Biodiversity)

Dumbarton Street Grasslands 

Council has made direct contact with the Minister for Planning to express its objection to the land at 16-20 Dumbarton Street, Reservoir being acquired by the state government for the purpose of development.
Council’s objection is on the basis that the remnant native grasses at the site have significant ecological value.  This value was confirmed in a recent ecological survey which found that the native grasses include endangered species which form part of the Victorian Volcanic Plain bioregion.  As a consequence, the area is protected by a range of legislation, and development and associated activities on the land would require various permits and permissions before any work could go ahead. You can view the ecological survey here.
Council is strongly committed to protecting these grasslands including working with the state government to find an alternative site for its proposed activities, and contributing to the practical management or protection of the site.  
For more information about the grasslands site, the ecological survey or Council’s submission to the Minister for Planning, please email 

Find resources available for schools to support you through your sustainability journey.

Environmental Leadership Congress Oct 12-15, 2020 – for Darebin high school students

Darebin Council is excited to be partnering with OzGreen to deliver the Youth Leading the World Congress online this October 2020. This Congress is a wonderful opportunity for young people to explore their passion for climate action and the environment in a peer-oriented learning environment, supported by expert facilitators and community mentors. The Congress will enable young people to broaden their awareness and knowledge of environmental, social, health and economic issues and develop public speaking, project planning and leadership skills, and build confidence and ability to act collaboratively for change.

To be involved: Darebin has written to all high schools in the municipality to seek students to participate in the Congress. If you are interested to learn more about this Congress for your school ask your Principal or please contact our Environment Programs Officer at

Waterway education

As part of Darebin’s Waterwatch program, Darebin is offering a number of schools the opportunity to participate in waterway focused environmental education activities delivered by Merri Creek Management Committee’s Waterwatch Coordinator.  Waterway education activities can include water quality testing, waterbug discovery, stormwater stories, waterway food webs and much more. Sessions are available for early year centres, primary and secondary schools in Darebin. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Merri Creek Management Committee.

Waste and Recycling

There are resources available to help schools implement better waste and recycling system on Council’s Recycle Right page. Council offers limited number of waste and recycling presentations to school. Please contact the environment team to arrange a presentation.

Travel to School

Whether you would like to walk, cycle, or scoot it to school, we have lots of information on how to make active travel education, events and programs simple and fun for your school. Visit Travel to School page to find out more information.

Gardening at School

A handful of local schools have received Council’s community grants to establish gardens within their schools. Visit Council’s Community Grants page for more information.

ResourceSmart Schools

ResourceSmart Schools is a free program offered by Sustainability Victoria that supports Victorian schools to embed sustainability across the school facilities, community and curriculum, while saving resources and money for the school.

Schools join the program, then have access to an online portal (ResourceSmart Schools online), where they learn and practice ways to integrate sustainability. To find out more about the program, visit Sustainability Victoria.

Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) 

SWEP are funded by the Victorian Government and enable schools to track water usage, find leaks, save water and promote water education in the curriculum. For more information visit SWEP.