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Sustainability E-Newsletter - Winter 2015

Seminar tonight 7 July 6.00pm - Our Fresh & Saltwater Places

Join Mary Gardner, biologist, researcher, writer for the Byron Shire Echo, and others from the Byron-Belongil Environment group as they discuss their learnings about fresh and salt water places.

This session will explore uncovering the history of land and water in Byron Shire, and learning how to read the coastal landscape.

Come along, bring a photo and discuss your favourite salt and fresh water places.



Keep calm and carpool - join up to win

Australia’s first government-funded regional carpooling initiative, Norther Rivers Carpool, designed to link compatible drivers and passengers via the web, will be high on everyone’s radar this month with four new signs being installed around the shire.

The aim of the project is to encourage people to share their car journey to and from work and create a network of Carpoolers across the Northern Rivers region. Significant benefits to carpooling include:

    • Savings on fuel – carpooling 2 days a week could save you around $700 a year (equivalent to a small pay rise)
    • Saves on wear and tear on the car and reduces stress
    • Make new friends
    • Overall carpooling will reduce the number of cars on the roads
    • Benefit the environment 

Registration is FREE and only takes a few minutes, and the site even provides advice on how to promote the travel option to attendees. Go to

Free school holiday sustainable event

Water Lab Wednesday

On again, Water Lab Wednesday (July 8) will discover more about water with fun experiments, investigations and games, for children 5 to 11 years with a supervising adult.

Find the Water Lab at Dorroughby Environmental Education Centre, 2101 Dunoon Rd, Dorroughby. Free, no booking needed. Opens 10am, closes 3pm with last entry 2pm. More detail

Sustainable House Day design competition – now open

The Sustainable Housing for Life Design Competition 2015 is now open to residents, architects, designers and young people in the Northern Rivers. Interested people can find more information and enter here.

The Sustainable Housing for Life Design Competition, Showcase Awards Event & Expo is a joint project with Byron Shire Council, Lismore City Council, Tweed Shire Council, The Green Building Centre, Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre, North Coast TAFE, Rous Water, Byron Community College, Self Seed Sustainability & Dorroughby Environment Educational Centre. 

With a share of over $5,000 in cash and prizes, interested entrants are encouraged to visit the Sustainable House Day 2015 website.

    • Entries close Friday 4 September 2015
    • Sustainable House Day Expo and Design Showcase & Awards - Saturday 19 September 2015
    • Entries will be displayed at venues in Tweed, Byron Shire and Lismore Council areas

Winter Seed Swapfest

Byron Hinterland Seed Savers will host their winter exchange and community sharing on Saturday 25th July at the Seed Savers Headquarters in Byron Bay.

Anyone interested in local food security, permaculture, gardening, growing community or growing love is welcomed to join the celebration.

Arrive 1pm for the garden tour followed by a picnic, music and kids activities. More details can be found on facebook or on community noticeboards around the shire.

Brunswick Valley Landcare Inc. (BVL) is looking for a new treasure

BVL is a volunteer organisation supporting and encouraging best practice and effective natural resource management in Byron Shire. Further information can be found at:

The duties of the treasurer include attending to the activities that contribute to the financial well-being of the organisation including overseeing grant funding and other sources of finance. The treasurer advises the BVL Committee of relevant monetary issues, financial status and compliance. This includes maintaining financial records and providing monthly income and expenditure statements to the Committee. BVL also employs a bookkeeper, and the treasurer is responsible for overseeing the work of the bookkeeper in processing payments and preparing documents for auditing. 

This is a voluntary position and would suit someone with a background in finance, someone who is currently studying in this field, or has other relevant experience, with an interest in the environment and conservation. Training will be provided. Committee meetings are a relaxed monthly affair in Mullumbimby. 

If you are interested, please contact the BVL for more information and a copy of the Duty Statement at:

FREE workshop on household & community facilities energy efficiency

Find out about the many ways you can save significant money on your energy bills using free, low cost or moderate cost retrofitting that pays for itself sooner than you might think.

Byron Community College is taking expressions of interest for 2 free workshops on energy efficiency for community facilities and households to be held in late July and August.

Energy saving kits for low income households are available for eligible participants. (Bulk kits are available for distribution by community service groups).

Workshops funded by Byron Shire Council, kits by NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

Contact: Katrina Shields on

Time: 3 hours

Venue: Byron Community College Mullumbimby campus

Dates :

    • Thursday 30th July 9.30 to 12.30
    • Monday 10th August 1 pm - 4 pm

Win a Mullum Music Fest Gold pass

Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby (COREM) has received an Office of Environment and Heritage Grant and is designing 2 community owned renewable energy projects for Mullumbimby. As part of their community engagement COREM wants your input. Complete the survey ( to be in the draw to win a Mullum Music Fest Gold Pass!! For more info about COREM and to be part of the Community Power movement to help decarbonise, democratise and decentralise our electricity network visit and the COREM Facebook page.

Beyond Zero Emissions Forum - a great success

The inaugural community forum for the Byron Zero Emissions project was held on Sunday the 21st of June and was a great success with over 65 people attending the event held at the Cavanbah Centre, Ewingsdale. 

Mayor Simon Richardson opened the forum, sharing his recent experience of representing Byron Shire Council and Australia at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany. His experience in Bonn showed him how important having a clearly articulated vision around being zero net emissions is and how it can inspire other international councils and communities to do the same. 

Dr Stephen Byrgrave, CEO, of Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) reminded us of the recent scientific data that confirms that we must act now and explained a strategic way forward for the Byron Shire to become zero net emissions. 

Hannah Forrester, President of the Mullumbimby Community Gardens, then gave a brief overview of the numerous projects that are already happening in the Shire.

Five breakout working groups were formed covering the areas of waste, transport, land use, energy and building and the groups workshopped a number of questions around next steps which are for the working groups to self-organise under the guidance of the Steering Committee. A common action plan template for each group will be created and from there information to ascertain a baseline of emissions will begin.

The community were very excited and supportive of all the existing projects and the possibility of many more into a more strategic plan for the shire to become zero net emissions in ten years from now.

For more information or to stay in touch become part of the Facebook Group ‘Zero Emissions Byron’-

Byron Shire Council gives $10,000 in sponsorship to promote sustainable practices

The Events Sponsorship Fund was created in February 2015 to help build community capacity to hold events and encourage organisers to embed sustainability principles in to their events.

Improved waste management and reducing waste to landfill was a key theme for a number of the local events who submitted applications, particularly those with a strong food focus.

Successful applicants and projects were:

    • Mullumbimby Circus Festival – Reducing waste to landfill and measure impact.
    • Brunswick Heads Sculpture Walk – Filming documentary of their inaugural event
    • Mullumbimby Music Festival – Creating three ‘interpretive reuse sculptural bin stations’ to reduce waste to landfill
    • Bangalow BBQ and Bluegrass Festival – Engaging a waste education consultant to reduce waste to landfill
    • Sample Food Festival – Engaging a waste education consultant to reduce waste to landfill
    • Peddle & Hawk - Establishing a quarterly event

This sponsorship recognises the value of these events to the overall fabric of our community, and will enable our event organisers to embed best practice models in to their events, whether it’s through waste management, community engagement or corporate social responsibility.

New Mullumbimby Community Garden Bike Water Pump

Mullumbimby Community Gardens recent sustainability project, sponsored by Byron Shire Council, has resulted in the creation of a new bike powered water pump. 

This is an interactive and engaging educational resource requiring someone to pedal for the power to create a water pressure to water the garden. In doing so, it eliminates the need for electricity and uses water collected from the existing Rotunda structure.

Come down to the gardens to have a look at our bike, and see how fun, sustainable and easy to use it is!

New green organics bin roll out begins

Organics bins are being delivered to urban households and will take two weeks to deliver to about 10,500 properties. 

The roll out has started in Suffolk Park, followed by Byron Bay and Brunswick heads. Bins will then be delivered to New Brighton, Ocean Shores, Mullumbimby and South Golden Beach.  As part of the new service, Council is also supplying a kitchen bench top caddy for food scraps, a six-month supply of compostable caddy liners and educational information. 

The new service is anticipated to divert over 3,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill each year, instead being processed into certified organic compost which can be returned to the soils on local farms and gardens.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson was on hand and getting sorted this week checking out the deliveries. “Our residents have been keenly awaiting this new service and it will have a significant positive impact on how we manage our waste. Currently our red bins are about half full with garden and food organic matter that can be composted and returned to the soil.  By separating and sorting our waste correctly into the new three bin service, we can all play a part in reducing our landfill waste.  Let’s get sorted,” he enthused.

The new weekly service, which is for all food and garden waste, begins on Monday 3 August. Both red landfill and yellow recycling bins will be collected fortnightly on alternate weeks when the new service starts. Check your new calendar in the info pack when the new green bin is delivered.

This project was supported by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the Waste Levy. For more information contact the Waste Hotline on 1300 652 625 or visit the Byron Shire Council website

Step up to the Solar Challenge

It’s not often you can save money and be rewarded, too!  100 Go Solar is a community initiative to encourage Byron businesses to put solar on their roofs and enter the draw for some fabulous prizes!  

Solar is meant for business:  the sun shines during working hours, saving 40% or more on energy, one of the top business expenses. 

Going solar has never been easier: businesses register at then follow 3 steps:

    • 1) book an energy audit or seek expert advice,
    • 2) choose a solar system from the website’s list of recommended local suppliers and installers and
    • 3) sign up! 

Costs can be spread through solar loans or other finance options with payments made out of savings.    Solar is generally paid off in 4-7 years. 

100 Go Solar is supported by Byron Shire Council, Green Building Centre and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 

Register NOW at