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Sustainability E-Newsletter Summer 2015

Sustainability Wrap 2015

Seasons Greetings

This newsletter marks the final month for the huge year that has been 2015 and that deserves some time to stop, reflect and celebrate all that has been achieved so far.

Yet again, we have had such a wonderful and inspiring year with many events held, projects launched, learnings shared and ideas sparked around how we do sustainability in the Northern Rivers.

Here at Council the Sustainability Team have been busy not only supporting all these amazing events, projects, learnings and collaborations but also achieving great wins in terms of our own sustainability. We have successfully kicked off or finished implementing 98% of projects prioritised for Year 1 of the Low Carbon Strategy with still 6 months to go, all helping to reduce our Councils environmental, economic and social footprint.
As we look back over the year that has been, some of the highlights that stand out include:

  • The launch of:
  • Holding 5 informative Sustainability Seminars with over 260 community members attending.
  • Over 50 various events, workshops, talks, marches, exhibitions and gatherings to help create a more informed, collaborative and creative way to inspire and empower our community to be more sustainable

The Sustainabiltiy Team at Council wish to acknowledge and thank all of you for all the passion, commitment and drive to helping create a sustainable future for our Shire and we wish you all a relaxing and rejuvenating summer break.

Thank you for your ongoing support, enjoy the read and we'll see you in your inbox and hopefully in person next year!

Thanks for being a good sort

The New Three Bin Collection Service started in August and we’d like to thank all of our urban residents for getting on board and sorting their organics and recyclables. Since the new service began, our residents have helped divert a total of 1466 tonnes of organic material from landfill!

Byron Shire now recycles an average of 63% of our total kerbside waste each month, which is up from an average of 38% under the previous two bin system. We’re aiming for a 70% recycling rate, so keep being a good sort to help our environment and prevent valuable resources ending up in landfill. 

Give a gift of a Sustainable Byron Future - Zero Emissions Byron

The Zero Emissions Byron (ZEB) project has been coordinated for the last 4 months by our Volunteer Coordinator Tiffany, without any income to support her. The Steering Committee is actively seeking funding, however we need to support Tiffany in the meantime. A lot of the progress on the project to date is down to her support and it would be a serious blow to the Zero Emissions Byron project to lose her now because of a lack of funds.

To that end, ZEB have started a crowdfunding campaign, which you can view at:

The way crowdfunding works is for individuals to pledge a donation to help achieve the target amount within a certain timeframe. ZEB's aim is to raise $10,000 or more (equivalent to a few months salary) by the 25th of December. 

Please support this by donating, but even more importantly, by encouraging friends and family to also donate through word-of-mouth and social media. Donations can be anonymous if people wish.

Thanks for your generousity in advance!

Local electricity trading trial starts

Australia’s first Local Electricity Trading (LET) trial has kicked off in the Byron Shire, running from October to December 2015.

LET allows the excess production from the solar array of one building to be credited against the consumption of another building.

The Byron shire trial involves the trading of excess energy produced from a ‘virtual’ 75-150kW rooftop solar PV system on top of the Cavanbah Centre, which has ample roof space and not a lot of consumption, with the neighbouring West Byron sewage treatment plant, which has little roof and ground area for a solar array, but has heavy energy needs.

Byron Shire mayor, Simon Richardson welcomed the kick-off of the trial. “We are moving one step closer to understanding how LET could work in our Shire.

“The project is a massive game changer - just imagine the Byron Industrial Estate or our CBDs as renewable energy hubs – generating and selling energy to businesses and residents around them, or imagine the whole of the Cavanbah car park shaded under solar shades which are also providing energy to our sewerage treatment plant behind it,” he said.

Read more

Are we there yet? 100 metre dash to the Enova Energy Share Offer closes 17 December

As you maybe aware Enova has been aiming for start-up capital of $4 million but can operate with a minimum of $3 million.  To allow for postal applications still arriving, and processing, Enova can not yet say exactly how much they have raised until next week, however are confident that they are close to commitments of $3 million.  

Thanks to supporters, Enova feel like they have been in a 100 metre dash for the past 2 weeks as people power has been in major play with a huge surge of interest and applications for shares running up to the Share Offer Close today 27 November. 

This close date was set because Enova wanted to resolve the capital raise before the festive season if possible although they have permission to use the existing Prospectus for 4 months i.e 17 December.    

More time - the final leg of the journey!  

Because of the last minute payment processing required to assess how much capital has been raised, the board has decided to extend the Offer to allow for those payments to be processed.  Enova has decided to do this for two main reasons: 
- to maximise the surge of interest, and 
- to maximise the full amount of time permitted by ASIC to raise as much capital as possible to give Enova the best foundation for success.  

Enova can advise you on the amount they have raised to date next week, but if you have not applied for a share, this is the final opportunity!  

The Offer will now close at 5.00pm (AEST) on 17 December 2015.  

Is there anything else you can do to help in the last leg? 

So many people have offered their time, resources and financial support already that Enova truly feel like the community-owned company they are striving to be.  They are a very small start-up team and truly value your help. 

Beyond applying for shares :) if you have not already, the best support you can provide is to continue to encourage others, and share information on Enova.  Via flyers, social media, regional groups, or host a gathering where the team can come to explain and answer any question on the organisation! Enova is building up a library of film that can also be used including a recording of one of our information presentations.  

If you have a group of people who want to hear more, Enova can come and present. Or to work through any promotional ideas or arrange meetings, please contact

Enova will continue to post news on their website FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and can keep you informed via email. (Link to Enova Latest news) 

In the meantime - thank you so much for your support and well wishes so far.  Your passion and enthusiasm keeps the team motivated, and they hope to receive your continued support in sharing the news and encouraging others to help us make a real difference to the renewable energy industry in Australia. 


Many requests being received relate to BPay codes.  Enova would appreciate it if you could please check your spam/junk for emails from Automic registry or Enovaenergy and then call them if still concerned.   

Byron Shire Mayor invited to attend UN Paris Climate COP21 Talks + Australian Climate Leadership Summit

The Mayor of Byron Shire Simon Richardson and BZE CEO Dr Stephen Bygrave are very excited to be invited to showcase the Zero Emissions Byron project at a range of events at COP21 in France. 

Byron Council is leading community action to move to renewable energy, and it already has plans to go far beyond the federal government's emissions reduction target. Set to become one of the most momentous conferences in world history, Cr Richardson was invited to promote the Shire’s Zero Emissions Byron project at the United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, November 30 to December 11.

The Mayor is currently presenting at a number of events including: 

  • The Compact of Mayors event hosted by the Mayor of Paris,
  • The Local Government for Sustainability (ICLEI) Local leaders Climate summit showcasing various climate actions being undertaken by councils around the world, 
  • A 100% Renewable energy event hosted by the World Future Council and Renewable Cities, and
  • A Third Industrial Revolution event in Lille, France.

To keep up to date with the various events and actions check out the blog page and Simon's video updates as well as his Twitter feed #mayor_richo.

Recently, the Australian Climate Leadership Summit recognised Lismore and Byron Shire councils along with the City of Sydney, the City of Adelaide, the City of Melbourne and the City of Perth for their emission reduction efforts earlier this month.

For more information on the Zero Emission Byron project visit or follow us on TKeep up to date by following and sharing  information to our facebook page: Likewise for twitter, please follow



Pay it forward this Christmas !

Give a sustainable gift this Christmas which avoids greenhouse gas emissions and will fund community-owned solar in Mullumbimby!

COREM Offset Cards can be bought for either $30 or $70 and all funds raised go towards installing a 10kW solar PV system on the Drill Hall. The $30 card avoids about 400kg of greenhouse gases - which is the same emissions as driving from Mullum to Sydney and back! The $70 card avoids about a tonne of greenhouse gases - which is the same as a car trip from Sydney to Perth! 

COREM is half way to raising the money to install the Drill Hall solar PV, and your gift will ensure the success of this project and pays it forward - through both electricity savings for the Drill Hall and more funds for local community PV systems. COREM Offset Cards can be purchased at the COREM stall at the Mullum farmers' market Fri 11 Dec 10 or online at


New Northern Rivers Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy

Byron Shire Council and Tweed City Council have just announced that they will be joining forces to co-fund the development of a Regional Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy. This strategy will look at identifying and overcoming barriers to both Council and community uptake of EV. 

The key areas the strategy will be addressing are:
- research into best practice worldwide and technical components relating to fast charging stations (how to make them completely renewable through connecting to PV)
- Identify potential funding and research stakeholders
- Design a regional strategy for the Northern Rivers including a local case study for the Byron Shire

Both Councils see electric vehicles as a key component to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a more sustainable transport system. By creating a strategy and consulting with stakeholders interested in creating this change with us we hope to facilitate a greater uptake of EVs in the Northern Rivers. 

Do you want to share your sustainability idea with us in 2016?

Has your community group got a great sustainability message to get out there? Each year Byron Shire Council partners with community groups to help them host a topical Sustainability Seminar. The evening seminar can be a film screening, key note address or panel discussion depending on the style of message you are trying to get out. 

Council provides support by way of:

  • Free venue hire (Council Chamber Mullumbimby)
  • Free graphic design and printing of posters and flyers (numbers limited)
  • Free advertisement in the newspaper the week prior to the event.

Expressions of interest to the 2016 Sustainability Seminar program will soon be sought... watch this space or email for more information or to register your interest. 

Frolicking with Costa at the Mullumbimby Show

On a wet Sunday morning no one felt like getting up and setting up an information stall at the Mullumbimby Show as part of the Mullum Community Gardens Living Community Village.  However despite the rain and mud there was a steady flow of people who came to chat and left with hands full of free plants, posters and booklets. 

Brunswick Valley Landcare partnered our stall with Byron Shire Council’s sustainability officer Sandi Middleton, who had lots of information on green cleaning and sustainable businesses in the Byron Shire.  Byron Shire Council's Resource Recovery section was kind enough to also give us compost from the green organic bins, compost caddies and liners to give away.  The highlight of the day was undoubtedly meeting Costa Georgiadis, famous from ABC’s Gardening Australia and of course for his impressive beard.  Costa was impressive in himself that he took the time to go around to every stall in the village and chat to everyone.  After talking with him everyone left with a smile and a dose of inspiration.  Thank you to Sandi Middleton, Lucy Wilson, Jude Alcorn, Solé Beatriz, Alys Shilo and Jenny Hartigan for all their help on the day.   

Food Sovereignty Network and Community Food Cooperative update

The Byron Region Food Sovereignty Network continues to meet monthly for networking meetings to help unite local foodies, farmers and food lovers for our sustainable food future. In our November meeting we were spoilt with inspiring company from the Indonesian branch of La Via Campesina as they toured the region with the Family Farmers United Network. It was great to get a bigger picture of the global food sovereignty movement and our place in it. We discussed farmers rights, reclaiming our food and the global moments in agro-ecology. We shared the importance and strength in building farmer networks to organise a common resistance against corporate agribusiness and market domination. We also discussed how to develop our local group, how to enhance our communications and build our networking capacity. Hope to have many more of you join our conversation and contribute at our monthly 

Network meetings and online.

Byron’s Community Food Cooperative, CO*OP Kulcha provides ecologically sustainable food and a friendly place to shop in the heart of Byron’s Industrial Estate. It’s a members run, volunteer cooperative open every Thursday 10am-6pm with over 80 lines of organic whole foods. People who are interested in joining a dynamic volunteer project, help out with stock, serving or perhaps managing are encouraged to visit the CO*OP at Kulchajam, 1/1 Acacia St in the Industrial Estate Byron or learn more at:

My Local Native Garden Seminar

On the 3rd November as part of Byron Shire Council’s Sustainabilitiy Series we talked about “My local native garden”  with 25 partipants.   John Turnbull, Bushland Officer for Tweed Shire Council, Dr Brendan Taylor, Sandpiper Ecological and Brad Green from Mullum Creek Native Nursery covered vegetation communities and chosing suitable local species, how to atract wildlife to your garden and suitable local plants for landscaping. 

On the night we also spoke about the fantastic booklet titled 'My Local Native Garden'. Brunswick Valley Landcare's planting guide specifically written for the Byron Shire is a FREE 40 page booklet jam-packed with information and colour photos to help you design, plant and maintain your own garden with species that are local to your area.

The guide is designed to be practical, informative to use with each section written by a local environmental specialist and BVL members. The Guide is available on the Brunswick Valley Landcare website: The publication has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

Thank you to everyone who attended.  Look out for more events in the new year.  





NCEF "Energy Drinks" a great success

The North Coast Energy Forum's "Energy Drinks" networking event held in Byron Bay on Wednesday 18 November was a great success, with over 60 participants on the evening being inspired and energised by our MC Mayor Simon Richardson, keynote speaker Giles Parkinson (from RenewEconomy) and 'pop up' speakers providing updates on a variety of local community energy projects. 

Project updates and a brief outline of each of the 15 projects showcased on the night can be found on the NCEF website or you can sign up to the NCEF mailing list on the website by clicking here

Thank you for all your inspiring work and we look forward to bringing you news of the next Energy Forum for 2016 in the new year so make sure you subscribe to the newsletter to keep in touch.