Waverley Council has been working with sustainability expert Michael Mobbs to launch an exciting new initiative, with the installation of its first temporary ecoPOPS in Bondi in August 2013.

What is an ecoPOPS?

ecoPOPS are small, free-standing and self-sustained garden beds that can be used to grow your own food as well as native trees and plants. They provide habitats for insects and birds, recycle materials, improve air quality, help cooling down in cities, They’re also a great place for community members to get together and learn more about sustainability and public gardening.

How are ecoPOPS different from your usual garden bed?

ecoPOPS use a series of interconnected features including a water tank, a solar panel, a self-irrigation system and a worm farm to catch and store its own water from rainfall, power itself with energy from the sun and generate its own nutrients, all while reducing food waste.

As a result, ecoPOPS are a fun and interesting place for people to connect with other people and share their knowledge about sustainability including solar technology, bush tucker, indigenous cultures, worm farming, growing local food and waste reduction.

How do ecoPOPS work?

ecoPOPS use clean energy from the sun to power itself. Sunlight is captured by a photovoltaic solar panel and transformed into electricity that is stored in a battery. This electricity is then used to power a solar pump that pumps water from the water tank into the garden.

ecoPOPS are also self-irrigated, which means the garden doesn't need to rely on a standard water source. The system catches rainfall water and stores it in a large water tank. The water is then pumped to the garden through a hose buried underneath the mulch, using the electricity stored in the battery, and a timing device tells the pump when to start and stop pumping water.

Where do the plants get their food to grow?

There are four essential things that plant need to grow: sun, air, water and nutrients - also known as ‘plant food’.

In ecoPOPS, plant food can be generated through food waste. This is done through the incorporated worm farm, which helps to decompose food waste to produce a nutrient-rich liquid. This liquid is then carried through the garden with the water from the tank, and helps to feed and nourish the plants.

What plants are in the ecoPOPS?

A variety of herbs, a fruit tree and native edible plants are in the first ecoPOPS for the community to use and care for.

Where is the ecoPOPS installed?

The first ecoPOPS has been installed in Roscoe Street Mall in Bondi, next to the Police Station.

How long will the ecoPOPS be in place?

The ecoPOPS will be in place for a period of six weeks, until the end of September 2013. It will was officially launched by the Honourable Robyn Parker, NSW Minister for the Environment, Cr Sally Betts, Mayor of Waverley, and Michael Mobbs.

Interested in ecoPOPS and supporting sustainability in your school?

 The ecoPOPS School Program uses a creative, hands-on and interactive approach to learning while addressing differentoutcomes in the NSW syllabus’ areas of English, mathematics, science & Technology and history. Age appropriate, stimulating and fun activities and resources are used to increase students’ understanding and knowledge of local and worldwide sustainability issues.

The program provides an exclusive on-site location for teaching and learning about sustainability through everyday issues such as water, waste, energy and food. The on-campus aspect of the program means students and teachers can easily access an outdoor learning experience at their convenience.

If you are you a teacher or parent interested in learning more about ecoPOPS and sustainability in schools, join us at the Eastern Suburbs Sustainability Schools Network (ESSN), an innovative forum for teachers and parents associated with schools in the Eastern Suburbs to network and discuss new environmental sustainability initiatives and programs for more effective teaching and learning.

Where can I get more information about ecoPOPS?

For more information about ecoPOPS and Michael Mobbs’ Sustainable House, visit:

How can I get involved in the ecoPOPS?

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, contact Deborah Law, Council's Biodiversity Officer, on 9083 8207 or email

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