Shopping for fresh local produce at markets is one of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment, by avoiding unnecessary packaging and transport. But what about the markets themselves? Concentrated volumes of trade makes them potential centres of waste generation, as well as water and energy consumption.
Melbourne’s Prahran, Queen Victoria and South Melbourne Markets (collectively known as Markets of Melbourne) are going to significant lengths to reduce energy, water and other wastage for the benefit of the environment and local communities.
Did you know?
• Over the past five years the Markets of Melbourne have reduced their water consumption by over 23.5 mega litres (roughly 10 olympic sized swimming pools)
• The markets recycle 1,060 tons of cardboard annually
• 92 tons of fresh, high quality food is donated to Second Bite to help feed the homeless and underprivileged each year
• Markets of Melbourne are reducing plastic bag use across the board, with some traders using only starch bags
• At the time of installation, Queen Victoria Market was the home of the largest urban grid-connected solar photovoltaic installation in the southern hemisphere
• South Melbourne Market and Queen Victoria Market are the only markets in Australia with Waste Wise accreditation
• The markets have activated more than 10 streams of recycling, including cardboard, water, organic matter, poly-styrene and more
• Prahran Market was the first market to introduce a rain water harvesting system that holds over 60,000 litres of rain water that is used for washing down market floors.
The Markets of Melbourne’s recycling processes also involve converting hundreds of tons of fish and chicken offal into useful fertilisers and animal foods every year, as well as converting used cooking oil into bio fuel.
All three markets are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprints by supporting local producers of food, especially seasonal fresh foods. This helps local farmers and encourages the production of crops that are appropriate to our local environment.
Melbourne’s markets are leading the way on improving their eco-friendliness on many fronts. By shopping at your local market that is getting these things right, you’re supporting small businesses in your community without creating unnecessary problems for the environment.