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A sixteen-day-long festival, packed with fun for the kids, learning for adults and ideas to inspire your family to shop and live more sustainably is coming to South Melbourne Market from September 15-30.

Sustainable September will showcase the wide array of sustainability practices at the Market including activities, workshops, back of house and self-guided tours, and an exciting new initiative which calls on traders and marketgoers to recycle their plastic HDPE milk bottles.


South Melbourne Market have teamed up with global waste management company Vanden Recycling to convert Market traders and marketgoers plastic bottles into pipes, pallets and decking boards that will be made into furniture positioned around the Market in the coming months.


Vanden Recycling’s Mil-Tek 2205 has a footprint of only 42cm2, making it one of the smallest footprint vertical balers on the market. The gutsy little waste compactor can crush and bale over 50kg of milk bottles in one hit - that’s over 1,000 milk bottles and equivalent to over 40 x 120 litre waste bins of plastic bottles.


According to South Melbourne Market General Manager Ian Sumpter, “the milk bottle recycling initiative is sustainability at its best - and a WIN WIN for our planet. It demonstrates how businesses like South Melbourne Market in collaboration with innovators like Vanden Recycling can provide a sustainable way for the Market to deal with waste from traders locally, while decreasing landfill, and produce repurposed commodities such as chairs and tables that can be enjoyed by the entire community.”


Port Phillip Mayor Cr Bernadene Voss said: “Sustainability is something we are very passionate about and we’re striving to reduce our environmental footprint and create a sustainable Market for the next generation.” In line with its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use, Council has several sustainability initiatives in place at the Market including food rescue, water recycling, banning single-use plastic bags, solar PV and a progressive landfill diversion strategy with up to 90 per cent of organic waste volume reduced.


“Our Market is closing the loop with its waste strategies and so it’s an exciting time,” Cr Voss said. “Green waste is now converted into an organic compost (vermicompost) which is returned to the Market and sold as a garden product called Market Magic. All other food and organic waste is dehydrated onsite in a 1000L Gaia Recycle machine and sold as Soil Food™, a fertiliser with similar properties to blood and bone.”


During the festival try your hand at fermenting, or composting made easy, or take a class with Leftover Lovers and learn to use what you’ve got on hand to make delicious meals. Bees Wax Wrap Making will teach you how to stop using plastics and clingwraps and make your own bees wax food wraps. Wormlovers Worm Farm will share practical knowledge on how to set up and manage a worm farm at home - with a live worm farm onsite. And the Sustainable Circuit (Self-Guided) will take you on a journey through the Market and show you how to shop more sustainably and discover Market traders, such as Frankie’s Story, who are leading the way by stocking only ethically or environmentally sound fashion labels.


Marketgoers can also attend two programs presented by the City of Port Phillip, Living A More Sustainable Life which details what’s on offer to support you in your home, apartment building or business and How to Harness Solar Power, hosted by experts from the solar panel industry who will provide information on options to suit your home/business needs.


The Back of House Sustainability Tour will take you behind the scenes of the Market to see sustainability in action. Tour are free - however bookings are essential.


South Melbourne Market is located on the corner of Coventry and Cecil streets, South Melbourne. It is owned and operated by the City of Port Phillip. For Sustainable September details and to book see, https://southmelbournemarket.com.au/sustainable-september-festival-2/ or phone (03) 9209 6295 or log onto Twitter: @sthmelbmarket, Facebook: @southmelbournemarket, or Instagram: @southmelbournemarket.