Have your say on the draft Circular Economy Action Plan

  • It’s time to change the way we think about the production and consumption of materials and the concept of ‘waste’.

    A draft Circular Economy Action Plan has been developed to outline priority areas, actions and key targets, which will drive change within Council, and across the community.

    Read the draft Circular Economy Action Plan 

Circular Surf Coast

It’s time to change the way we think about the production and consumption of materials and the concept of ‘waste’.

Surf Coast Shire Council is committed to making the shift away from the traditional unsustainable linear system of ‘take-make-use-waste’, and transition to a more sustainable circular system that focuses on avoiding waste and keeping valuable resources in use for as long as possible. This is known as the ‘circular economy’.



A draft Circular Economy Action Plan has been developed to outline priority circular economy areas, actions and key targets, which will drive change within Council, and across the community. Actions and targets in this plan are in line with those of the federal and state governments.

Our key priorities for transitioning to a circular economy over the next three years include:

  • Priority 1: Avoiding waste and recycling right
  • Priority 2: Maximising re-use
  • Priority 3: Innovation and collaboration
  • Priority 4: Driving Council systems change
  • Priority 5: Advocacy

While we have taken some steps to reduce waste to landfill, maximise resource recovery and transition to circular systems, this action plan outlines a clear pathway towards our circular economy transition. To be successful, we need all sectors of the community to take action, from all levels of government through to businesses, residents, visitors and industry.

This plan aims to protect our people, our place and our environment, in line with the Surf Coast Community Vision:

“From the hinterland to the coast, from the first peoples to the children of the future, we are an active, diverse community that lives creatively to value, protect and enhance the natural environment and our unique neighbourhoods. We will leave the Surf Coast better than we found it.” – Surf Coast Shire Council Plan 2021-25 - Community Vision


More about the Circular Economy Action Plan

It’s time to change the way we think about the production and consumption of materials and the concept of ‘waste’. After all, ‘waste’ is just a misplaced resource. If we reconsider the concept of waste, we can see the valuable materials that could have an extended life elsewhere.

We are looking to make the shift away from the traditional unsustainable linear system of ‘take-make-use-waste’, and transition to a more sustainable circular system that focuses on avoiding waste and keeping valuable resources in use for as long as possible.

This is known as the ‘circular economy’ and there is worldwide momentum towards this new way of defining traditional waste systems. A circular economy has a range of social, economic and environmental benefits including reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, reducing costs, and protecting and regenerating our natural environment.

A circular economy helps people manage materials responsibly, reusing materials more effectively rather than simply ‘consuming’ them, whilst still enabling sustainable economic growth. Transitioning to a circular economy is about managing materials and assets so that they last longer.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes the circular economy as a system where materials are kept in use for as long as possible, avoiding waste and regenerating nature. Waste and pollution are avoided through smart design. And through processes of maintenance, reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacture, recycling, and composting, valuable resources are kept in use for as long as possible at their highest value. Waste does not exist in a circular economy. Materials once considered ‘waste’ become recognised as resources and are retained in the system.

Council has a key role to play in supporting circular economy through its own operations. As a large consumer of goods, materials and services, Council can help drive the transition to a circular economy through purchasing decisions supporting markets for recycled materials.

While Council has taken some steps to reduce waste to landfill, maximise resource recovery and transition to circular systems, this action plan outlines a clear pathway towards our circular economy transition. To be successful, we need all sectors of the community to take action, from all levels of government through to businesses, residents, visitors and industry.

  • Avoiding the extraction of raw materials
  • Reducing the need for landfills
  • Avoiding and reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with material extraction, production and manufacturing, waste treatment and waste disposal
  • Protecting biodiversity
  • Financial savings
  • Creating and supporting skilled jobs
  • Strengthening localised supply chain networks
  • Connecting community and enhancing community resilience

Overall, a circular economy is a resilient and environmentally sustainable system that brings triple bottom line benefits for businesses, the community and the environment.

The Surf Coast Shire Council Plan 2021–2025 and Climate Emergency Response Plan 2021–2031

clearly outline our commitment to strong action to avoid and reduce waste, and reuse and recover resources. This action plan provides a detailed outline of our steps to achieve a circular economy and a low waste future.

There are a wide range of federal and state policies, strategies and initiatives, and local drivers for transitioning to a circular economy including:

  • Significantly increasing costs associated with waste management services
  • The need to comply with government waste reforms eg. Recycling Victoria – a new Economy 2020
  • Imminent landfill closures - Anglesea landfill closure (2027) and Drysdale landfill closure (2030)
  • Major population growth leading to increased waste and pressure on waste infrastructure – with a 50% increase in population expected in the region by 2041
  • The need for a strategic and targeted waste education and engagement approach

For more information on drivers - please see the CEAP pages 10 – 13.

Council’s kerbside collection services about 20,659 properties, out of a total of 24,699 properties in the municipality.

The population is predicted to rise by about 50% to 56,232, equating to 31,294 dwellings by 2041, which will have an increased waste implication.

In 2022/23, a total of 19,117 tonnes of household waste and resources were collected across Surf Coast Shire through kerbside collections, and hard waste drop off at Anglesea landfill, waste transfer stations, and public litter bins. Our kerbside landfill diversion rate is approximately 74% recovered.

Overall, the total amount of waste sent to landfill in 2022/23 was 24,627 tonnes (comprising 16,308 tonnes general waste and 8,319 tonnes of dirt for landfill cover). This includes kerbside, business and industrial.

For more information on Council waste services - please see the CEAP pages 14 – 20.

This three-year action plan outlines five key priority areas for action, 25 actions, and a range of circular economy targets:

  • Targets – where they are available, these are aligned with Australian and Victorian governments. We have developed additional targets for council.
  • Priority action areas:
    • Priority 1: Increasing resource recovery
    • Priority 2: Maximising reuse
    • Priority 3: Innovation and collaboration
    • Priority 4: Driving systems change
    • Priority 5: Advocacy
  • Examples of actions within the five priority areas (see CEAP pages 26-31 for the full list of actions):
    • Investigate and trial initiatives to avoid problematic waste items in landfill eg. modern cloth reusable nappies
    • Undertake a feasibility study to assess the viability and requirements of a Torquay Transfer Station.
    • Increase the use of recycled materials in Council projects, asset renewal and maintenance in areas such as roads.
    • Investigate long-term alternatives to landfill for residual waste, including developing an Anglesea Landfill Transition Plan.
    • Work with leading local businesses to create case studies to help drive more circular economy actions and innovations across the business community.

For more information on targets, priority areas and actions - please see the CEAP pages 23 – 31.

The Surf Coast Shire community is passionate and actively engaged in activities to reduce waste, maximise resource recovery and protect the environment. There are many local examples of circular economy projects and community groups including:

Anglesea Transfer Station Resale Shed

Surf Coast Repair Café

• Lorne Goes Plastic Free

Plastic Wise Torquay

Plastic Wise Winchelsea

Rubbish Rangers

Feed Me Surf Coast

Surf Coast Energy Group

• Various community battery drop-off collection points

Toy libraries in Anglesea, Lorne, Torquay and Winchelsea

• Bulk food stores across the region

• Online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace

• Various local businesses focused on making the most of recycled materials e.g. Patagonia

Frequently asked questions


*Prizes - terms & conditions

By completing the survey and providing your email address, you will go into the prize draw to win one of three $100 vouchers for a local business. Prizes will be chosen at random from all eligible survey respondents.

Survey closes 5pm 26 April 2024. Prize draw winners to be announced 30 April 2024.
Winners have two weeks to respond to the email, at which point the prize will be redrawn and awarded to another eligible survey respondent.

Other conditions:

  • One winner per household
  • Councillors and council staff and their immediate families are ineligible for prizes.
  • Prizes are not redeemable for other prizes or cash