Invercargill Sustainable Living Info

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Invercargill City Council have not yet renewed their subscription to Sustainable Living Education Trust for 2017-2018 financial year so free access for the public has been suspended and passwords changed at January 2018.  We'd love to have your Council back but meanwhile, individual household or community organisation subscriptions can be arranged for a fee - contact to arrange!

(The Trust aims to attract neighbouring districts such as Southland into the programme too - enquiries are welcomed from Council staff and community groups, to:  or 03 693 8726)

Information below gives a local angle on the broader NZ content of this website. It is grouped under the same topic headings as our eight Learning Guides. Feedback welcomed on what we may have missed, and any broken links - notify Rhys Taylor at the email address above.

Your local contact for Future Living Skills (Sustainable Living education) within Invercargill City Council had been Rachelle Stephens, based in the Environmental Health team at the Civic Admin Building, 101 Esk Street, 03 211 1777   Rachelle is pictured here, surrounded by the huge quantity of junkmail advertising that was delivered to her house in a year, until she started using 'No junkmail' stickers on her mailbox. If you would you like to stop this paper waste, similarly, ask at the council reception desk for a free sticker!




Minimising Waste

WasteNet Southland

WasteNet is the Invercargill City Councils' shared service that works to reduce waste to landfill and encourage the uptake of actions to improve use of resources. Also on facebook.

Recycling and rubbish services in Invercargill.

The Orange Pages is the Love Southland Waste Guide, where you can find practical information on how to reduce, reuse, recycle and dispose of your unwanted materials.

Garden and food waste are the largest element of Southland’s waste stream: 42% or 12,000 tonnes per year.   In the landfill organic waste breaks down to form methane (a greenhouse gas) and leachate (pollutant liquid), so it's best kept out. 

Around half of the waste we produce at home is organic, generated in the kitchen and garden.   If half the population of Southland reduced their kitchen and organic waste by 26 grams per day (the weight of a slice of bread), within one year it would halve the amount of organic waste disposed to landfill. Read more on reducing food waste.

By composting, worm farming or using bokashi systems we can turn our garden and food waste into a valuable product for use in our vegetable and flower gardens. 

Re-use items that others don't need (and save money) by shopping at charity OP-Shops such as:

  • Affordable Methodist Mission Shop, 85 Miller St.
  • Eastside Baptist Church S.A.L.T., 2 Glengarry Crescent.
  • Habitat for Humanity -Restore. 33 Glengarry Crescent
  • Hospice Shop, 117 Yarrow St.
  • Orphans Aid Op Shop, 106 Spey Street.
  • SPCA Shop, 81 Glengarry Crescent
  • Salvation Army Family Stores: 10 Yarrow St, also 51 King St, 8 Martin Street
  • St.John Ambulance, 130 Yarrow Street
  • St.Vincent de Paul Society,: 209 Pomona Street, also 135 Mary Street.
  • if addresses have changed let us know, to get update published: email  


Read more in the Waste Minimisation Learning Guide from our downloads page, free once you have registered. These learning gudes are designed to support small group study and discussion.


Gardening and back yard crops

Help run a community garden to learn skills and share produce!

South Alive Community Garden

South Alive Fruit & Nuit Trees

Southland Herb Society. 

Southland Community Nursery, Otatara. (native plants) 

Crops for Southland has produced a Soil Information Sheet for most of the 170 soil types that were mapped by Topoclimate South in the 1:50,000 scale soil survey. The aim of the Soil Information Sheet is to summarise the soil survey's technical data and present it in a user-friendly form. The information sheets are designed to inform Southland people about the properties and sustainable land use potential of the soils in their region, so you more confidently know what should grow well in each spot.

Community 'open' orchard and organic gardening experience close by in Riverton:  Email: 

Aim to compost on site, but if you don't have space, send green waste to a council or commercial composter, not to landfill. See Southland's Greenwaste Guide leaflet from the Council

Read and discuss more on food growing skills in the Gardening learning guides from our download page, after you have registered - it's free.

Food options

Your food choices make a large impact on the planet, probably as sizeable as your transport choices. The high carbon impact of of growing, processing and shipping, or worse-still, airfreighting, foods from across the world is not visible when we see them in the supermarket, but worth considering. Buying locally grown and locally processed foods has a reduced 'footprint'. For example, see what is on offer at the Southern Farmers Market (Facebook page) on Sunday mornings in the Scottish Hall, Esk Street.

Love Local Charitable Trust runs a vege box delivery scheme. Read more here or call 03 928 5073. Also  on FB.

Dee Street Market, first Saturday of the month, includes food and health stalls. 0272322173.

Read and discuss more on food shopping and other food sustainability questions in the Food learning guide from our download page.

Water use and household impacts on waterways

Many Southlanders use rainwater for home use (such as toilet flushing or laundry) and around their garden either in conjunction with water supplied by the Invercargill City Council, or sometimes as their only means of fresh water supply. There is a guide available on how to minimise contamination of rainwater.

For information on piped water supplies in the city start here.  And on sewage systems start here.

Use this link to download the Wasterwise info booklet (PDF) .

Good visual advice on washing your car- without polluting streams. Download PDF.  Further information from Environment Southland here.

Eco-Building design and renovation

Whether designing a new home, adding some rooms, or renovating an existing place - perhaps to make it warmer & drier - it pays to do your homework and know just what to ask of your architect or builder.

Free, impartial advice on sustainable building practice - and on cutting energy consumption - was available from the Council's Eco Design Advisor (formerly Keiron O'Connell - ask the Council if there has been a successor appointed). The service is for all Invercargill and Bluff residents and offers guidance on creating warmer, drier and healthier homes, reducing home energy bills, insulation, upgrading your existing home, new home design and layout, passive heating and cooling, improving indoor air quality and effective water use.

Getting around the city

The Bus Smart service has run since December 2012. There are four looped routes beginning and ending at Bus Smart Central (outside Reading Cinemas in Dee Street). The re-branded buses offer features ranging from free Wi-Fi to 10 per cent fare discounts for people who use the new Bus Smart Cards. Have you tried one yet?

There is a Walking and Biking strategy which sets out to improve safety and convenience for these active modes of travel.  Central city walks described here.

An urban walking and cycling guide is available in print from the City Council - ask at city offices or library.  A 16km recreational cycling route is descibed here.

Daily walking, even for as short a time as 20 minutes, contributes to good physical and mental health. The City's 150 parks and reserves offer pleasant free-access places away from traffic - how many do you know? There's also information on walkways.

Resilience and emergency preparation

Will you be prepared for a significant emergency? Have we learned lessons from Christchurch quakes? The civil defence website is a tool intended to provide up-to-date information on emergencies when they happen, what to do in an emergency and how you best can prepare yourself and your family.

Emergency Management Southland has an important role in delivering support to the community in times when it is needed most. Southland’s geology, geography and climate can, and do, expose us to hazards whether they are natural or man-made.

The Facebook page for Southland is here.

Additional local information

City Library at 50 Dee Street can help you to locate reference books and multi-media on sustainability themes - bring in your key words or some suggested titles to see what is in their stock or available on request by inter-library loan, plus on the web. There's aslo a library at Bluff, in the Service Centre, 16 Gore Street.

Community organisations, clubs and societies may share your interest. Ask at the Invercargill Environment Centre  (also on Facebook) and/or contact the ICC Community Develoment team: it helps groups and organisations develop opportunities within the community. It also advocates for particular services for the community. Staff give advice and information on projects, administer funding programmes and co-ordinate projects such as Safer City and the Youth Council.  Outside the city, Riverton's South Coast Environmental Centre has a good network of contacts and educational activity, and across the region schools are taking part on Enviroschools.

If sustainability makes sense but seems a luxury until basic needs are met and debts are paid, access to budget advice may be relevant? A free money advice service is available from Jubilee Budget Advisory Service.  Other challenges in life can be assisted by people who have time to listen and access to independent information, as a confidential service at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Tip: Warm and dry home?
Be ready to tell the builder what you actually want in a house extension or new build. Energy efficiency and solar feature in the Eco-Building & Renovation guide.