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In March 2020, we asked the community to vote in the 2020 Sustainability Awards. Things soon took an unexpected turn, with Covid-19 taking the limelight and forcing Council to re-think how we celebrate our local sustainability initiatives while respecting the new social distancing measures.
Local community groups, businesses, and schools who were nominated are included below. Your efforts inspire us all to make better choices for a more sustainable Shire.
Congratulations to all 2020 Sustainability Award winners!
Earth Bottles started as a sustainable merchandise company focusing on reusable water bottles, however have become much more than just that. Not only did their annual ‘Clean the Coast’ tour remove over 1700kg of litter from the Australian coastline in 2019, the company also donates a percentage of every sale to charity. You can shop a wide range of reusable and environmentally friendly products on their website.
Dani Carr and Ash Grunwald
Earth Bottles website
Resilient Byron is a recently founded not-for-profit playing an important role in driving community adaptation, resilience and regeneration against crises and disasters. Resilient Byron was founded by Southern Cross University lecturer and local fire fighter, Jean S. Renouf.
Resilience and regeneration is something we all need to be working towards after witnessing the effects of drought, bushfires, and flooding that occurred in early 2020, not to mention the COVID-19 and economic crises. Keep an eye on upcoming projects through the Resilient Byron website and find out how you can be part of a more resilient and regenerative community.
Jean S. Renouf
Resilient Byron website
Ocean Shores Tidy Towns Committee is a community-lead environmental group who donate countless hours of their time giving back to the community. The dedicated group helps educate locals and visitors on the benefits of land care, weed eradication, and the protection and enhancement of native habitat.
Their latest volunteer work has helped to improve the quality of native habitat and weed management at various locations around Ocean Shores, including Devines Hill, Carramar Park, Waterlily Park and Binya Park.
Email Ocean Shores Tidy Towns Committee
Mullum Cares is a local not-for-profit that helps to educate the community to reduce consumption and promote a zero waste to landfill culture. They run a number of exciting projects to engage and empower the local community, including the Library of Stuff and their latest initiative, Salvage Culture.
The Library of Stuff is a membership-based enterprise which allows members to share and recycle goods to reduce the need to buy new and connect people with each other and the environment. Salvage Culture intends to develop a Reverse Garbage Northern Rivers, making waste materials accessible and hosting upcycling workshops with local Master Makers.
Over the last five years, Byron Palms Guesthouse has been making important changes to improve the sustainability of their business operations. The guesthouse has incorporated solar hot water and electricity as well as waste and water management practices into their daily operations.
A survey of their bins showed that they recycle up to three times more than their waste to landfill, and their soft plastics are sent to a company who recycles them into furniture. Byron Palms Guesthouse shows us that it’s never too late to start making changes for the environment.
Byron Palms website
Zero Waste Kulture is giving waste products a new life to avoid them ending up in landfill. Using natural fibres and local production houses to manufacture eco alternatives to everyday items , they have diverted over 60kg of waste from landfill since 2019.
They also give back to the community through donation and education to help promote the idea of a circular economy. They are hoping to up-scale their business idea in the future to further empower other communities. Keep an ear out for the Eco Futures program on Bay FM for more sustainability ideas from Zero Waste Kulture founder, Jodee Sydney.
Zero Waste Kulture website
Local sewer management business, Interflow, ensure that that Byron Shire’s sewer network remains water-wise and efficient. Their focus on safety and the environment is at the core of their business, minimising any potential risk to groundwater and the surrounding ecosystems within the Shire. They are also ISO 14001 certified, meaning they are independently audited to ensure they maintain the highest level of environmental management throughout their business practices.
O’Meara Dental is leading by example when it comes to sustainable business practices, from building design and energy efficiency, to impressive waste management. Their state of the art technology also ensures no heavy metals or environmental pollutants end up in our waterways.
O’Meara Dental is carbon positive, meaning they offset all their carbon emissions and more through reforestation projects in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor. They are also a collection hub for used toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss containers and electric toothbrush heads, which are all sent to Terracycle for upcycling rather than ending up in landfill.
O'Meara Dental website
Bangalow Koalas has played a vital role in improving koala habitat in the Byron Shire and beyond. The community group has planted over 50 000 koala and rainforest trees in 2 years, and have an ambitious goal to plant 250 000 trees by 2025. This will form the basis of an important koala and wildlife corridor throughout the Northern Rivers.
The organisation also maps koala sightings, and holds a variety of community workshops to educate, engage and inspire the community to take a hands-on approach to koala conservation. Keep an eye out for their road signage in koala hotspots throughout the Shire.
Bangalow Koalas website
The future looks bright with Mullumbimby High School Green Group’s dedication to waste reduction through recycling and waste management education. The group of grade 8-10 students share a passion for the environment and waste innovation, applying problem solving, management, and leadership skills to a complex real-world issue.
The Green Group students have set ambitious goals to eradicate non-recyclable and non-compostable packaging from the canteen, establish separate waste bins for recycling, green waste, paper and cardboard, and set up a compost system at the school’s agriculture farm. The students were recently awarded the NSW Government Sustainable Schools Grant to help them achieve their goals. Well done students!
Reducing emissions is a vital step toward reducing our environmental impact. Reclaim Energy have recently developed a highly energy efficient hot water system which avoids the use of high impact refrigerants and replaces them with a low impact alternative, significantly reducing the global warming potential of the product. The hot water system helps households to improve their energy use and associated costs by up to 75%.
Reclaim Energy owner, Christopher Taylor, has been the recipient of a number of awards acknowledging product innovation and business excellence. Taylor’s main motivation is to generate more awareness about clean technology and innovation with Byron Shire, and encourage the community to take advantage of the energy and emissions savings on offer.
Reclaim Energy website
Byron Bay Public School (BBPS) is committed to promoting sustainability education within the school community and consistently models sustainable behaviour. With their own in-house Sustainability Team, BBPS are working towards being zero waste through initiatives such as their Waste Free Wednesday’s program, school clean up days, and participation in the Take 3 for the Sea movement.
They were also awarded the NSW Government Sustainable Schools Grant, enabling the installation of edible garden beds and composting systems to support ongoing sustainability and waste-minimisation. The school works closely with the school canteen to adopt sustainable practices wherever possible, and includes environmental education in the school curriculum. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the BBPS students!
High4Pets has created an innovative and unique way to recycle rubber liners used in machines that milk real cows, by recycling them into pet toys. The rubber liners are collected from dairy farms, sanitised, and upcycled into a range of dairy-scented toys for your pets to enjoy.
Typically these rubber liners only have a three-month lifespan, however High4Pets pet toys are diverting this waste from landfill and giving it a new life that our furry friends will love. As an added bonus, they are made here in Australia.
Byron at Byron is under new ownership by Crystalbrook Collection Resorts, and they have been making important changes to the way they operate. The resort strives to be paperless, using only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper where necessary. They also utilise energy efficient lighting, waste management, and sustainable building design to promote natural air circulation.
The restaurant sources beef from their own farms and most other produce is sourced locally. Guests also have the option to have their stay or conference made carbon neutral.
Byron at Byron website