Sustainable living

Less Is More

While some of us struggle to meet basic human needs for food, clothing and shelter, many of us have much more than we need. Food goes to waste and closets are overfilled. Many of us find our homes cluttered with stuff yet we continue to buy more products and add to the chaos.

In 2020-21 Australians sent 100,000 tonnes of clothing to landfill, with the average Australian disposing of 12kgs. Cessnock is throwing out to landfill around 288 tonnes (equivalent to approximately 36 000 washing loads) of clothing per year. That’s huge! To help reduce this figure commit to waiting at least a fortnight when you get the urge to buy something new and instead shop in your own wardrobe. Check out this guide (below) to help reduce your families clothing waste. 

It’s a similar story with food waste  - with a staggering 2.5 million tonnes of food waste coming directly from our homes each year. People have become obsessed with having ‘more’. This overconsumption and waste causes water pollution, air pollution, excessive waste, climate change and many social issues.

We tend to think of recycling as the answer to our overconsumption and to deal with the associated problems. Recycling is not the answer – living with less is. To help, Council has designed the Less is More program. We will have a number of events which will help you live a better life with less. We will help you make do, reuse, repair, and swap and generally live better with less. 

There are a number of free events coming to the local area this year, to find out more visit our Events page.

Cessnock Smarter Kitchens Challenge

Cessnock City Council has proudly partnered with KitchenHand to launch the Cessnock Smarter Kitchens Challenge this April, a community initiative aimed at reducing food waste in households across the region.

Research conducted by Fight Food Waste CRC found that Australian households discard almost $20billion worth of food annually. In an effort to tackle this alarming food waste issue at a local level, Council expanded its Less is More program by launching the Smarter Kitchens Program in September last year.

This innovative program harnesses the power of AI technology via KitchenHand to help local residents save time and money in the kitchen, while significantly reducing food waste.

The Smarter Kitchens Challenge will run for the month of April 2024. To take part in the challenge, simply:

  • Use the custom recipe tool to use ingredients you have on hand
  • Cook the recipe and take a photo
  • Mark the recipe as cooked and upload your photo to your KitchenHand account

Each week, Council will randomly select a prize winner to receive a Fridge Friend valued at $89.95, which absorbs ethylene, bacteria, mould, mildew and all the other nasties that make your produce spoil faster. At the end of the month, the person who cooks the most recipes and shares the finished creations to their KitchenHand account will also win a Fridge Friend.

Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns

The Sustainable Communities - Tidy Towns program was developed through Keep Australia Beautiful. Since 1981, the Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns program has been rewarding and recognising projects around litter, waste management, recycling, heritage, community spirit and other environmental areas in towns both large and small across the breadth of NSW.

Council supports six registered Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Committees:

The committees are a community group of volunteers assisting Council to improve public spaces and natural areas. Some of the activities they are involved in include:

  • bush regeneration
  • improving the image of our towns (litter collection, park upgrades, etc.)
  • heritage conservation and promotion

If you would like to be involved, please fill in our survey and someone will be in touch with you.

Native gardens

Are you interested in creating habitat for native animals in your backyard but don’t know where to start? Join the Habitat Stepping Stones program.


Discover ways to reduce your energy use and save on power bills on the NSW Governments Energy Saver website.

If you are thinking of going solar, check out SunSPOT. SunSPOT provides a secure online tool that analyses your roof space and power bills to tell you how much you can save through installing solar or solar + batteries.

You may also qualify for a NSW Empowering Homes solar battery loan offer. This offer helps homeowners in eligible postcodes access interest-free loans to install solar battery systems.

And if you are in the market for a new electrical appliance, remember to look out for appliances with a high energy star rating.


Mains water and sewage in the Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA) is provided by Hunter Water (Hunter Water) and any issues with these systems should be reported directly to Hunter Water.

The Hunter Water website also has information on saving water and a water usage calculator so you can identify where changes can be made to save water in and around your home.

Look for the water rating label on all products to help you make informed choices about the water efficiency of products you are buying.

Council monitors any on-site sewage management systems and is responsible for undertaking inspections of all systems within the LGA.

Greener vehicle buying

If you need to buy a car, check the green vehicle guide to compare the air pollution and greenhouse emissions of vehicles.

Hybrids and electric cars are emerging as viable alternatives to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. If you are considering a hybrid/electric vehicle, have a look at the Electric Vehicle Council website.

With more and more electric vehicles entering the market, charging stations are being installed all the time. You can keep up to date with where they are being installed via the Electric Vehicle Council map.

To encourage greater uptake of Electric Vehicles, the NSW Government is offering incentives through rebates and stamp duty exemptions. This will make purchasing an electric vehicle more affordable for motorists.

Tree Giveaway

Council has yearly tree giveaways. Future tree giveaways will be advertised on the Events page of the website and on Council's Facebook page.

Love Food, Hate Waste

Did you know the average NSW household throws away $77 worth of edible food every week? Discover how making small changes can save you money and time, while reducing the amount of food you throw away: 

  • we cook too much food without considering portions for the number of people or family members.  Check out this Perfect Portions video for some tips.

  • food passes the use-by / best-before date.

  • we forget about leftovers in the fridge / freezer or we don’t know how to use leftovers. Sign up to Food Smart to assist your planning. 

  • we buy too much because we don’t stick to a shopping list or we don’t check the cupboard or fridge before going shopping.

  • we’re not planning our meals and menus as much as we could. This meal planning video will help you get started.

Keeping & caring for bees

Interested in trying your hand at bee keeping? Check out the following useful beekeeping resources: