A NUMBER of Bendigo business are finding new ways to be environmentally sustainable for their customers.
With landfill continuing to rise across the state, Oishii On Wheels owner David Jeffrey said his Japanese restaurant was trying to focus on reusing rather recycling.
"We started off with asking people to bring in their own containers for takeaway," Mr Jeffrey said. "We put up a few posters in the shop and they worked for a little bit.
"But then the council asked if we would be interested in a new initiative and I said yes, tell me more about it."
Oishii On Wheels has begun using Retubs - a reusable container created by Melbourne-based entrepreneur Veronica Shannon.
The Retubs are designed to be used and swapped out at restaurants, cafes or even just for a work lunch so no unnecessary waste is created.
Retub, which has partnered with the City of Greater Bendigo, is now being used by more than 15 cafes and restaurants across the city.
"The council gave us up to 15 containers and we've been giving them to our ongoing, loyal customers and those who we know use takeaway only," Mr Jeffrey said.
"People have been really appreciative once we explained the program. They bring back their Retub and if it's not clean, then we give them a fresh one. That cycle goes on and on."
Mr Jeffrey said his business has been focused on being environmentally friendly since it opened two years ago.
"We have always used environmentally sustainable packaging," Mr Jeffrey said. "All of our bento boxes and takeaway boxes are from BioPack, so they're all made out of recycled material.
"All of our chopsticks are also made from sustainable pine plantations and the same goes for our wooden forks.
"We try to use as much recyclable materials as we can. Of course, there's nothing better than to reuse but it's been going reasonably well."
Another business which has made changes to limit their waste is the Urban Hair Lab on High Street, Bendigo.
The group has signed up to be part of Sustainable Salons, a social enterprise that collects salon waste, recycles it, and donates the proceeds to food charities OzHarvest and KiwiHarvest.
"We're hoping this will mean our regular waste bin will be something we won't need," Urban Hair Lab owner Jade Marsh said.
"It's a big movement in the salon industry. We saw about it on social media and we reached out to find out what needed to happen."
While it can be difficult to change bad habits, Ms Marsh said her staff have been right on board.
"Our staff have been quite good about it," she said. "It can be quite overwhelming at the start but it's just a matter of changing habits and learning to put things in the right recycling bins."
Ms Marsh said her salon has worked towards promoting sustainability.
"We have always had high ethical standards," she said. "We try not to use products that are tested on animals and we try to support Australian businesses where we can.
"We have always tried to recycle as much as we could but it's nice to have an element outside of what council offer."
City of Greater Bendigo resource recovery development coordinator Bridgette McDougall said council would continue to work with businesses and residents in the region.
"The City is working hard to educate residents on the importance of reducing waste to landfill through a number of programs," Ms McDougall said.
"They include a commercial organics trial, increasing recycling bins at recreation reserves, the compost revolution program for rural residents and a number of campaigns aimed at educating the community on what is recyclable, how to recycle correctly and disposing of e-waste."
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