Sustainability at the Market

Queen Victoria Market aims to provide its customers with a high quality lifestyle experience.  We consider that running a sustainable operation is one element of this experience.

We are committed to ensuring that our operating activities occur with minimum environmental impact.  Below are some of the initiatives introduced to ensure that we achieve this.


Going Plastic Bag Free

In July 2010, Deli Hall and Meat Hall traders at Queen Victoria Market began phasing out plastic bags with a campaign to ‘Bag the (Plastic) Bag’.  In an effort to encourage patrons to rethink their use of plastic bags and their impact on the environment, traders are now offering alternatives such as biodegradable cornstarch bags in place of regular plastic.

All traders throughout the Market can reduce their plastic bag usage by simply asking customers if they need a plastic bag before automatically giving a plastic bag with every purchase. Traders can also remind their regular customers to bring their own re- usable bags when shopping at the Market.

Recycling Program

Food organic waste produced by the Fruit and Vegetable Stallholders comprises a large proportion of the total waste generated on site.  Finding a solution for the recycling of food waste is a project that QVM has been working on for many years with the Fruit and Vegetable Stallholders and it is exciting that that the food organic waste produced by the Fruit and Vegetable Stallholders is finally being recycled.

Assetlink Service Pty Ltd commenced cleaning and waste management services at the Market on 4 July 2016.  Working closely with the Fruit and Vegetable Stallholders, the food organic waste is now being successfully segregated and bulk hauled to the EPA licensed Gippsland Water, Soil and Organic Recycling Facility in Dunston Downs for open wind composting.  The project is in the early stages, however we are already seeing great results, with approximately 13 tonnes of food organic waste being recycled per month.

The recycling of food organic waste compliments the Market’s extensive recycling program; reducing waste to landfill.  The following waste streams are currently being recycled at the Market:

  • Fat and bone, which is used in blood and bone fertiliser.
  • Fish offal, which is collected and processed for stockfeed and fertiliser.
  • Fats from grease traps and cooking oils from deep fryers, which can be processed into stockfeed or converted to biodiesel.
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Plastic packaging
  • Plastic and glass bottles and aluminium cans
  • Timber / Steel

Storm Water Quality

Ground water run off is not captured for storage and is allowed to enter the normal storm water system.  The Market’s storm water drains are designed to ensure that storm water entering the drainage system is of a reasonable quality.  Filter baskets and specially designed grates filter out any solids, such as plastic and large vegetable matter.  Diversion pits prevent the initial run off water that might be contaminated by organic material from entering the storm water system by diverting it to sewer.  Only once the flow rate reaches a certain level is it diverted back to the storm water system.

Litter Prevention Project

Working with Sustainability Victoria and Melbourne Water, the Market’s Litter Prevention Project was a great success in reducing litter loads originating from the Market by 25% through education, infrastructure and enforcement.

Worm Farms

The 5 worm farms are located alongside the organics section in I Shed. The farms can receive 2kgs of fresh food waste each day which is converted into nutrient-filled fertiliser by the worms which is used on the collection of potted trees and plants around the market. Worm farms are one of the best ways to provide rich fertiliser that is sustainable, cheap, low maintenance and environmentally friendly.

The worms enjoy fruit and vegetable scraps, tea leaves and coffee grounds, egg shells and shredded, moist cardboard and paper, but not citrus fruits or meat and dairy – Lucky for them there is no shortage of scraps around the market for them to feast on! Coffee grinds are proudly supplied by Market Lane Coffee & Chai leaves from Original Chai Stall.

Visible to all who wander through the market, the worm farms also aim to promote environmental sustainability to the wider public. Cheap, odourless and requiring very little maintenance, worm farms are an easy and useful addition to any home. Even the smallest homes can benefit from reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill by turning a percentage of their food waste into fertiliser that can further help the surrounding environment.

Sustainability and Compliance Manager

The Market has appointed a full-time Sustainability and Compliance Manager to work on projects to further improve the Market’s sustainability performance.

If you have any questions on the Market’s sustainability projects, please contact our Sustainability and Compliance Manager, Kelly Green, on 03 9320 5822.