There are many things we can do in our day to day lives to make the way we live more sustainable. Whether it's walking the kids to school rather than driving or installing solar panels on your house, it's individual actions that lead to more sustainable and healthy families, homes, communities and society.
Sustainability actions - what can I do?
Many of us are concerned about changing weather, threatened plants and animals, weeds, clean air and water and increasing food, energy, fuel and water costs - all possible symptoms of our unsustainable lifestyle. Often the challenge can seem overwhelming but it is the cumulative effect of many small actions from many people that result in change across our society. If we all do our bit, we can contribute to a healthier, cleaner, fairer and more sustainable world.
On the table
- Choose locally produced and processed food - it should be fresher and supports local farmers. Check out the Golden Plains Farmers Market in Bannockburn.
- Eat less meat - meat production requires high resource and water inputs. Sure meat is an important part of many peoples diets but do we need to eat so much of it? The Australian National Dietary Guidelines recommend that we eat less meat.
- Eat organic food - who needs or wants loads of chemicals on their food. Try organic.
- Avoid Genetically Modified foods - we have been practicing natural selection by selective breeding for years to create the amazing plants and animals we utilise every day but we have yet to successfully make a wheat plant breed with a fish or tomato in order to combine their genes.
- Avoid eating endangered fish - many fish species have been fished to commercial extinction. Make informed decisions about the fish you eat and if you enjoy fishing, only take what you will eat. Check out the Australian Marine Conservation Society Sustainable Seafood Guide here.
In the home
Reduce your energy use in the home... you'll be amazed at the money you save:
- If it doesn't need to be switched on, switch it off
- Install energy saving light globes
- Install solar power or solar hot water
- Make sure your home is well insulated
- Use the sun to dry your clothes rather than the clothes drier
- Buy energy efficient appliances
Be water wise - water is our most precious resource, use it wisely
- Install water saving shower heads and taps
- Buy a low water use washing machine
- Install a water tank for garden use or plumb it to the toilet
Out and about
Transport is one of our largest energy users and producers of air pollution
- Use public transport where available
- For those short trips, walk or ride a bike - it increases your fitness and saves you money
- Get the kids walking or riding a bike to school. They can walk or ride with friends - it's fun and healthy.
- Change over to a more efficient car or if you can't afford this, drive the one you have more efficiently.
- Offset your emissions through Greenfleet or another offset provider.
These are just a few suggestions to make your lifestyle more sustainable. There are loads of online resources that can provide you with more ideas, information and inspiration. Check out the following:
- Sustainable Gardening Australia - http://www.sgaonline.org.au/
- Sustainability Victoria - http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/
- Geelong Sustainability Group - http://www.geelongsustainability.org.au/
- Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions - http://breaze.org.au/
- Greenfleet - http://www.greenfleet.com.au/
- SaveWater - http://www.savewater.com.au/
- Sustainable Homes - http://www.sustainablehomes.vic.gov.au/index.asp
There are even more links at the bottom of this web page.
Recycling your old mobile phone is easy with Golden Plains Shire participating in the nationwide MobileMuster programme.
Collection points have been established at the Bannockburn and Linton Customer Service Centres. Residents are encouraged to clean out their drawers of unwanted mobile phones, batteries and accessories and drop them in at their nearest Council Customer Service Centre.
MobileMuster is the official recycling program of the mobile phone industry, and is funded by 16 leading mobile phone manufacturers and network carriers.
Key mobile recycling facts:
- Australians upgrade or exchange their mobile phones every 18 to 24 months, meaning there are approximately 16 million unused mobile phones stashed away at home or in the office.
- Over 90% of materials in mobile phones can be recovered such as nickel, cadmium, cobalt, gold, silver, copper, plastics and other metals.
- One tonne of mobile phone circuit boards can yield about the same amount of precious metals as 110 tonnes of gold ore, 123 tonnes of silver bearing ore and 11 tonnes of copper sulphide ore.
Golden Plains Shire has joined Blinky Bulb and is now a drop off point for disposal of used compact fluorescent bulbs for recycling.
BlinkyBulb is an exciting new initiative to provide convenient, safe and cost-free disposal of used compact fluorescent globes, which are then recycled, preventing a significant source of mercury pollution from going to landfill and also, to raise awareness in the community of the importance of doing so.
The BlinkyBulb project has been developed by the Rotary International District 9780 Preserve Planet Earth (Water & Environment) Committee and Highlands Regional Waste Management Group.
Rotarians collect the deposited compact fluorescent globes and take them to a central collection point. The globes are consolidated at the Detox Your Home site in Ballarat before transport to Melbourne for recycling.
Used compact fluorescent bulbs can be dropped off at the Bannockburn and Linton customer service centres and the Smythesdale Hub.
Due to storage restrictions, Council cannot accept the long fluorescent tubes at the Bannockburn Office. For further information, contact Councils Natural Resources Officer on 5220 7111.
Sustainable living tips for renters
Are renters legally able to change their showerheads? How can you make your toilet waste less water when you don't have dual flush? Sometimes it's not easy to find answers to these questions, so Environment Victoria has put together the Victorian Green Renters' Guide, to answer these and more. It's full of suggestions which can be done on a shoe string budget, and the guide also includes information on government rebates, a checklist for people looking for a new place to rent, and an explanation of renting law in Victoria. The Victorian Green Renters' Guide can be downloaded from here.
The Golden Plains Shire Environment Strategy guides the management of the Shire's environment. Adopted in October 2010, this dynamic and broad ranging document identifies a series of actions to address a range of environmental issues.
The strategy was developed in consultation with the community and further informed by two background documents.
The Golden Plains Environment Survey Data Analysis Report provides a summary of the data received from residents through the community survey process and puts the data into a format that can be interpreted.
The Golden Plains Shire Environment Strategy Discussion Paper places some context around the data obtained through the survey process, explores the sustainability issues identified as being of concern in Golden Plains Shire and considers options for addressing them.
The Golden Plains Environment Survey Data Analysis Report, the Golden Plains Shire Environment Strategy Discussion Paper and the Golden Plains Shire Environment Strategy are all available by clicking on the links below or by contacting one of Council's Customer Service Centres
Sustainable Water Use Plan
Council has a Sustainable Water Use Plan to guide Councils use of our most precious resource in our day to day operations. Council is aiming at a 25% reduction in water use by 2020. Actions completed to date include:
- connection of public toilets to water tanks
- replacement of turf at the Bannockburn Bowls Club with a synthetic surface
- water audits at councils major water use sites.
Council will continue to work to reduce water use both within its own operations and across the community.
Councils Sustainable Water Use Plan can be found here
Greenhouse and climate change
Make your home Green - Victorias Building Commission