Community waste programs


Second Hand Saturday

Second Hand Saturday is a North Coast community event involving the FREE online listing of garage sales being held across the region. People can hold their own garage sale at home, or coordinate a joint garage sale in their street, or with their local school, preschool, community organisation or church. You can also get involved by shopping at all the garage sales across the region – and from previous years’ experience there will be hundreds to choose from!

Second Hand Saturday happens in October/November each year and registrations start the month before.

To find out more visit the website.

Reuse and Repair Trail

The Reuse and Repair Trial is an online hub for the community, including savvy eco-conscious consumers, to seek out businesses and organisations that provide reuse and repair services. The hub includes a directory and map of Northern Rivers-based businesses and organisations that are actively avoiding waste, encouraging repairs, and/or providing reusable options.

You can list your business or organisation on the trail site FREE of charge, including a description of your service and a link to your own website.

To find out more visit the website.

Reduce single use

Reducing the waste we produce in the first place is one of the most effective ways we can lessen our impact on this planet!

Here are some ways to know what your options are for reducing waste and how you can make small changes to everyday activities.

10 tips to reduce single-use plastic waste

1. Carry a reusable bottle

Carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money too. There are sometimes filling stations around and many cafes, restaurants and bars are also happy to refill your bottle too.

2. Take a reusable coffee cup

Disposable coffee cups can almost never be recycled. Carry a reusable cup with you especially if you are in the habit of buying a coffee everyday – some cafes offer discounts if you use your own cup. There are many reusable coffee cups available on the market, or just bring a mug or jar from home or work. 

3. Avoid excessive food packaging

Whether it’s making different choices in the supermarket or choosing a different place to shop, we can all try and cut down on the plastic we buy - for example, loose fruit and veg and larger bags of snacks for lunchboxes to distribute out into lunchboxes rather than individually packaged items.

4. Bulk buying and refill shops

Many people keep a shopping list and visit their bulk food store just once a month, to stock up on items such as flour, nuts, dishwashing liquid and more, in a way that doesn’t use single-use plastic.

Most bulk food stores and many general stores have paper bags that you can fill, or you can bring your own reusable produce bags, containers, and glass jars. You, or the counter assistant, can weigh your container before you fill it, so that you’re only paying for the product, not the weight of your container. 

5. Say no to disposable plastic cutlery

We’ve all been there – caught out in a cafe or at a train station when we’ve bought a salad or a yogurt but the only cutlery on offer is plastic! Whilst it’s hard to plan for every opportunity, consider carrying a spoon or fork (or spork!) in your bag or keeping cutlery in your desk at work. 

6. Carry reusable shopping bags

Many of us are used to carrying an extra bag with us – if you still find it hard to remember, try a foldaway one that you can carry in your normal day bag, or put some by your front door.

7. Ditch the plastic cling wrap

There are many fantastic alternatives to plastic cling wrap that you can use to reduce plastic pollution. Storing and packing food in reusable containers is a great start. You can also purchase reusable silicone bowl toppers to cover food in bowls, pots and pans, or even get crafty with an upside down plate, reusable cloth cover or purchase some bees wax wraps.

8. Back to the bar

Making the switch back from shower gel or liquid hand wash to bars of soap is an easy way to reduce consumption of single-use plastics. Bar soaps come in different blends to suit body washing, face wash, shampoo and shaving, so your line-up of bottles may become a line-up of bars. Some people also go one step further and check the ingredients of the soap to ensure they don’t contain palm oil, which contributes to deforestation.

9. Balloons and other single-use plastic party decorations

With a little bit of creativity, you can easily plan a party that’s free from balloons and other harmful single-use plastics. Popular decorations that can be reused time and time again, include bunting, tassels, tissue pom poms, lanterns, fresh flowers, and more. 

10. Menstrual products and cloth nappies

These days, there are many reusable alternatives to single-use menstrual products. This includes the increasingly popular menstrual cups, period underwear and washable cotton pads and liners are also reusable alternatives, again with a growing number of brands to choose from and availability at supermarkets.

Making the switch from disposables to modern cloth nappies has been made easier by a wider range of readily available cloth nappies, many with convenient cleaning methods, highly absorbent liners and creative designs. Some parents find a balance in using a combination of modern cloth and disposable nappies, even minimising disposable nappy use makes a difference to the waste produced.  

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July started as a local government initiative in Western Australia in 2011 and is now one of the world’s largest environmental movements, helping millions of people be part of the solution to tricky plastics.

Every year, Council works with Plastic Free July to share ideas and challenges, and encourage everyone to make a pledge to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic usage and create some new habits. Our impact comes from LOTS of people taking small steps which add up to a BIG impact, rather than just focusing on a few people doing everything. The best thing is, you can actually start at any time of the year!

Visit Plastic Free July, take the Pesky Plastics Quiz if you're not sure what plastics you can change, and then Take the Challenge to refuse single-use plastic in your life.

'Lift the Lid' bin inspection program

The 'Lift the Lid' program inspects residents' recycling and organics bins for incorrect items and provides on-the-spot education and incentives to reduce contamination and improve resource recovery.

The next round will be announced through Council's Local Matters publication, local media and Facebook

Home composting and worm farms

Council and regional waste group North East Waste periodically host composting workshops. Composting food scraps and garden waste creates nutrient-rich soil and prevents methane emissions from rotting food in landfill.

Composting at home(PDF, 2MB)

Composting using a worm farm can also provide liquid fertiliser and worm castings for use on plants and soil.

Worm farming at home(PDF, 1MB)