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Making your business sustainable

In business, sustainability refers to doing business without negatively impacting the environment, community, or society as a whole.

Business can move toward sustainability in a range of ways including:

  • Switch your lights to LED
  • Install solar panels
  • Draught proof your building
  • Insulate your building
  • Switch to GreenPower
  • Turn off your coffee machine
  • Install a fridge timer
  • Recycle your coffee grounds

For more information on available support and subsidies go to the Zero Carbon Merri-bek website.

Finance for building upgrades

Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) is an option for business that want to make an upgrade to their building.

This is a long term, low interest loan to upgrade a building. Your Council administers the loan.

You must own or lease commercial, non-residential buildings in Merri-bek to apply for Environmental Upgrade Finance.

  • The benefits of environmental upgrade finance are:

    • No upfront capital or security
    • Fixed rate, long-term loan terms with low annual repayments
    • The option to share costs between owners and tenants
    • We collect your repayments through council rates
    • Every loan is legislated to deliver a positive environmental outcome
  • We offer environmental upgrade finance so that businesses can:

    • protect themselves from rising energy prices.
    • reduce their operating costs.
    • replace inefficient equipment with new technology.
    • install rooftop solar PV without using upfront capital.
    • lock in competitive long-term rates.
  • To get Environmental Upgrade Finance you need to sign an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA). This agreement is between Council, the owner, and a lender. We are working with Sustainable Australia Fund or our Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs).

    If you want to find out more about Sustainable Australia Fund you fill in the contact form on their website or request a callback. 

    Download the Environmental Upgrade Agreement information flyers for landlords (PDF 128Kb)owner-occupiers (PDF 1Mb) and tenants (PDF 1Mb).

  • Contact our Economic Development Team on:

Plastic Wise for Businesses

In 2019 we developed our Plastic Wise Policy (DOC 87Kb). We want to encourage Merri-bek businesses to join us in transitioning away from using single-use plastics.

Around 40% of plastic items are discarded after being used only once. Most of these discarded plastics don't biodegrade and have a devastating impact on wildlife if they end up in our waterways.

There are many ways to reduce the amount of single-use packaging you use and supply to your customers. We have put together 2 resources with tips and advice for removing single-use plastics from your business:

As part of our work supporting hospitality businesses reduce single-use plastic, in May 2022, we completed the Plastic Free Sydney Road Trial. We partnered with Boomerang Alliance who worked with 29 cafes in Brunswick and Coburg, to reduce or eliminate 7 targeted single use-plastics. Over the 14 months trial, more than 370, 000 pieces of plastic were eliminated, which is fantastic effort. Read more about the trial outcomes on our Reducing Waste page.

Learn more about Plastic Wise Merri-bek

Victorian Government Single-use Plastic Ban

Plastic pollution harms our health, wildlife, and the environment. The Victorian Government are banning specific problematic single-use plastic items across Victoria from 1 February 2023.

Single-use plastics:

  • make up a third of the litter we see on our streets and in our waterways – they are costly to clean up and difficult to recycle
  • are often used for only a few minutes but remain in the environment for a long time
  • pollute the environment – harming wildlife and contaminating our food and water.
  • From 1 February 2023, the Victorian Government is banning the sale and supply of single-use plastic:

    • drinking straws – these will still be available for medical or disability needs
    • cutlery (including knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, sporks, splades and food picks)
    • plates
    • drink-stirrers and sticks
    • expanded polystyrene food and drink containers
    • cotton bud sticks.

    The ban will include plastic items made from conventional, degradable and compostable materials, including bioplastics.

    For information on the proposed regulations including exemptions, refer to information regarding the single-use plastic ban.

  • In preparation for the single-use plastics ban businesses can:

    • start running down current stocks of the banned items
    • avoid ordering any more of the single-use plastic items to be banned
    • speak with your packaging supplier (if you use one) to discuss the alternatives for your next order
    • consider alternatives such as reusable items
    • avoid single-use packaging where you can.

    When you need to use a single-use item, consider using items made from materials such as bamboo, wood, or paper (Forest Stewardship Council certified where applicable).

    Avoiding single-use plastics is the cheapest and simplest option a business can take. For businesses where avoidance is not possible, reuse alternatives are a good option.

  • For alternatives to single-use plastic, see the following information sheets

    • Options to replace single-use plastic - this document provides a list of reusable and single-use options that can be used to replace the banned items
    • Supplier list - this document provides a list of companies that sell alternative products to the banned single-use items.

    In addition, Sustainable Victoria has a number of resources and case studies on reusable alternatives. This includes a list of re-use options for hospitality businesses, and for events.

  • For up to date information and advice on how best to prepare for the ban, view the Victorian Government website and Sustainability Victoria’s website.