Join the Neighbourhood Houses Waste-Free Lifestyle Community

pexels anete lusina 4792668



Thursdays (fortnightly), 1.00 pm - 2.30 pm
Community tables close to the Barkly Square Cafe, Barkly Square, Ballarat East


Dates for Term 2, 2024 - REGISTER HERE

  1. 9th May
  2. 23rd May 
  3. 13th June
  4. 27th June

Dates for Term 3, 2024

  1. 25th July
  2. 8th August
  3. 22nd August
  4. 5th September
  5. 19th September  

Running every second and fourth Thursday of the month
Community tables close to the Café at Barkly Square, Ballarat East.
Please register for the whole term - but you don't have to come every time.

If you have any questions or would like to register your interest in joining the Neighbourhood Houses Waste-Free Lifestyle community, please contact the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House on 0422 612 052 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Image from pexels by anete lusina

Waste-Free Lifestyle Ballarat

Funded by Sustainability Victoria in Round 2 of the Circular Economy Communities Fund

The Ballarat East Neighbourhood House was successful in receiving $38,017 in funding from Sustainability Victoria to deliver a Waste-Free Lifestyle program in Ballarat in partnership with the three other local Neighbourhood Houses and local environmental organisations and individuals.

The idea is to develop the pilot project during 2022 and deliver it four times in 2023, continually improving it along the way.

Pilot Project Summary

Waste-Free Lifestyle Ballarat is dynamic project that transforms the average household into a zero-waste home. It is a 10-week course for any householder located in the City of Ballarat council area. Participants begin their journey with a waste, recycling and materials audit of their home. The results, combined with their initiative, co-designs the following 8 weeks with the facilitators. Inquiry based learning, constructivism pedagogy, adult learning principles and liberating structures are just a few of the behavioural change theories and strategies that underpin this project. Local and award-winning experts will provide technical support and hands on learning. Our intention is to reduce 21 tonnes of waste going to landfill. This project has the vision that, at the end of the 12-months, a model for an ongoing, user-pays community education project will be established.

Background and why we need this project

We all know the statistics: Householders contribute to 12.4 million tonnes (16.3 %) of Australia's waste. They are the largest contributor of plastic waste (supplying 47% of total plastic waste) and organic waste (supplying 42% of total organic waste). Yet it is not slowing down, with Australia's waste growing at twice the rate of our population.

Something has to be done. Householders are part of Australia's waste problem. They can also be part of the solution.

Our project is specifically designed to empower our householders to tackle waste and recycling directly in their home. It all begins with each participant undertaking a detailed audit of the home to ascertain what waste, recycling and other materials are present. Then with the results of the audit, combined with the interest and passion of the participants, they define the themes and topics to be covered in the following weeks.

This program directly reduces the waste of every household. Specific activities chosen will not only raise their awareness but will also educate them and instigate changes in their behaviour. Local experts who know how to re-purpose household waste (including non-organic, organic and plastic) will be guest speakers presenting during the course. Their local knowledge, passion and experience will be invaluable in leading, directing and supporting our householders in changing how they deal with waste in their home.

Outcomes and benefits of the project

• Empowered householders confidently reducing their waste and recycling
• Reduced household waste
• Reduced plastic, glass, cardboard/paper, organics, textiles, e-waste going to landfill
• Raised awareness on how to refuse, reduce, repair and up-cycle household items
• Direct local impact on the Ballarat community
• Collaboration with local enterprises, not-for-profits and local zero waste experts
• Pilot this community education model and establish it as an ongoing course for continued delivery in Ballarat beyond the life of the project.

Fast Facts about the course

• 60 participants
• The course will be run 4 times during a 12-month period at various locations in Ballarat
• Waste audit will be completed by participants in the first week
• Weeks 2 to 9 will be co-designed with the participants based upon the results from the audit
• Local experts will provide specific expertise and hands-on experience
• Week 10 is all about reviewing the program, mapping out the journey the participants have experienced and evaluating the course to improve it for the next round of participants.

Detailed information about the 10-week course

This course is interactive and hands-on. The results from the audit will guide which items to focus on as well what is important to the participants. This project is based on the inquiry process and constructivism theory where participants design and choose topics/themes steering the direction of the course. They own the process.

Each week we will meet face-to-face in Ballarat for 2 hours. The first and last weeks are specific to setting up the course, setting ground rules and wrapping up the course. The other 8 sessions, we will debrief what the participants have discovered/learned during the week, then learning about the new topic and practically applying and choosing how it will be implemented at home. A variety of facilitation tools such as liberating structures and adult learning principles will be used to make sure this program is interactive and engaging.

The services and expertise for the course will be provided by local experts in zero waste. The guest speakers will share their expert knowledge. It is important to note this is not a sit and listen, lecture style course. The experts are expected to provide interactive sessions. At least 45 minutes will be set aside for participants to practically apply what they have learnt and implement at home.
The project is seeking to change the habits and behaviour of the average householder in Ballarat. Currently in the kerbside waste is over 60% of recyclable material and 16% of waste material is found in the recycling bin. Many projects in the past have tried to address this issue.

Adopting the waste pyramid, this project intends to not only reduce the contamination in the kerbside waste and recycling bins but to also prevent it from being made in the first place.

The aspirational goal of creating zero waste homes pushes the participants to go beyond correcting their waste and recycling behaviours. It challenges them to change their actions and seek options to prevent bringing it into the homes in the first place. It is such an exciting project as it will be based on their personal audit results. These items found in their bins and recycling will become the focus and work for us to discover ways to:

  • Not bring them into our home (prevention)
  • Minimise the amount being brought into our homes
  • Repair items
  • Re-use what is brought into the house
  • Recycle
  • As a last resort – dispose of the item

Information about past courses

Delivering a free, hands-on course and series of workshops for householders to enable them to confidently address waste and recycling issues. 

TERM 4, 2023

, 9.30 am - 12.00 noon, In-person (8 weeks), Ballarat East Neighbourhood House, Barkly Square

Waste Free Lifestyle Term 3 2023 Social Media 1

FREE - 8-week course

Learn how to:

  • Not bring waste into your home (prevention)
  • Minimise the amount being brought into your home
  • Repair items
  • Re-use what is brought into your house
  • Recycle
  • As a last resort – dispose of the item


  1. 18 October
  2. 25 October
  3. 1 November
  4. 8 November
  5. 15 November
  6. 22 November
  7. 29 November
  8. 6 December

Image: L-R - Julie White (Waste-Free Lifestyle Program Facilitator), Wendy Aston (Ballarat Wholefoods Collective co-founder), Sarah Greenwood-Smith (Manager, Ballarat East Neighbourhood House) and Jane Griffin (Waste-Free Lifestyle Program Manager). Photographer: Edwina Williams, Ballarat Times News Group.

Local resident, Sheilagh Kentish, says, "I am excited by the Waste-Free Lifestyle program because I know I will have better knowledge about where and how waste can be recycled, transformed or just safely allowed to decompose. I am surely not alone in my fears that we are being swamped by our own cleverness and that we need to recover our creativity to be able to see a brighter and more sustainable future. The course will give me some great ideas on reducing the amount of waste I produce and the ways in which I can redirect that which I do produce. I'm looking forward to meeting people who want to do the same thing because that will strengthen my resolve to work towards zero waste. I believe the power of one is great but the conscious collective is sometimes greater. We will support each other and the result will be greater than the sum of its parts. For me, the mental wellbeing that will come from being part of this program will be so important in combating my anxieties about the future my grandchildren are facing. The connections made will be game-changing."

Read more in the Ballarat Times and The Courier.

Term 4 2023 - Waste-Free Lifestyle COURSE - REGISTER NOW 


Saturdays (2 and 9 December) 10.00 am - 11.00 am, In-person, Sebastopol Library

Registrations available soon.

For more information, please contact the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House on 0422 612 052 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..