Kicking goals for the planet in 2022
21 February 2022
From net zero carbon emissions and electric vehicle charging stations to waste management and solar energy, Waverley Council is working closely with the community to help create a healthier and more sustainable planet in 2022 and beyond.
We are working with the community to help us to deliver the ambitious targets that our Council has for:
- Reducing our carbon footprint
- Increasing the use of walking, cycling and public transport
- Recycling and reuse of waste resources
- Reducing water use
- Keeping our waterways and beaches clean
- Urban greening and conserving biodiversity
Council's Environmental Action Plan details these targets and aims for Council to lead by example and assist the community to reach our goals.
“The Plan includes a mix of infrastructure solutions, behaviour change and engagement programs, plus operational changes,” Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos said.
We are making several changes in-house at Council and in our neighbourhood to help meet these goals. For example:
- In reducing energy use and implement climate change solutions
- In conserving water and reducing stormwater pollution
- In bushland management
- On waste and recycling
- To promote cycling and public transport options. Click here to find out more.
“Waverley Council was one of the first local governments nationally to formally articulate a strategic environmental vision for its organisation and community which included a detailed and funded cost-effective 10-year roadmap of actions to realise its goals,” Mayor Masselos said.
“Our targets and strategies are based on detailed quantitative and qualitative data analyses and research in each area. In July last year, Waverley Council became one of the first organisations in Australia to declare a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
“Council will be able to meet the new target by purchasing 100% renewable energy, phasing out gas and switching to electric vehicles, whilst ensuring ongoing energy efficiencies.
“Our previous net zero carbon emissions target was 2050 but Council recognised that’s too long in the future and that urgent action was required now to help keep increases in global temperatures to a minimum.
“It is essential that our carbon footprint is reduced as quickly as possible, and I am proud that Council is showing leadership by setting this target for our organisation. I sincerely trust that our community will be inspired by our actions and seek to follow our lead by reducing carbon emissions.”
When it comes to electric vehicle charging, in 2019 Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick became the first councils in NSW to provide public on-street charging stations via the Eastern Suburbs Public Electric Vehicle Charging Station Network.
Stations are currently installed at Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Double Bay, Coogee Beach and Randwick (x2), Rose Bay and Maroubra, and there are plans for more.
Since their installation, the number of users has increased from 45 per month in the first months to over 400 by October 2021. The stations have produced more than 45 mega watts per hour of electricity from 100% renewable energy and used by more than 3900 individual motorists.
“The idea for the Eastern Suburbs Public Electric Vehicle Charging Station Network came from our Low Carbon Future Plan which we did across the three councils and looked at how as a community we were going to reduce emissions across the whole of the eastern suburbs of Sydney,” Mayor Masselos said.
“Transport is the second highest sector for emissions, so we thought we would take the plunge and work together to develop a public EV charging network to support motorists without off-street parking to have the confidence to buy and own an EV.”
Waverley Council is also helping selected larger strata buildings (35+ units) save money on their energy and water bills and to improve environmental performance through our free
Building Futures program.
We work hand-in-hand with participating buildings to easily identify and implement cost-effective solutions that:
- Reduce operating costs
- Reduce common area energy use
- Assist in the installation of solar
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduce water use
- Improve waste management
Participating buildings receive free:
- Expert energy assessments of common areas
- Costed upgrade recommendations
- Solar power screening to identify buildings with good potential for rooftop solar power
- Project management and implementation support
- Access to Sydney Water’s WaterFIX program for high-water users
- Access to Waverley Council’s Apartment Recycling Improvement Program
- Recognition and promotion of participation in the program
- Learning & knowledge-sharing opportunities
“Our award-winning program has helped selected strata buildings in the local area reduce their energy consumption by a higher than expected 24%,” Mayor Masselos said.
“We launched the program in 2018 to help Council deliver its ambitious emissions reduction targets by working with apartment buildings to identify and implement cost and energy-saving solutions in common property.
“The program has won a slew of awards to date, most recently including the Local Government Federation Award for Environmental and Sustainability Leadership.
“Round one of the free program has already helped 10 residential strata buildings reduce their annual carbon emissions by 651 tonnes as well as reduce running costs in each building by an average of $13,000 each year”.
Read our Penkivil St, Bondi, Building Future success story here.
Our other sustainability measures include:
Solar my Suburb
In July 2021, North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney’s east has become the first registered club in Waverley to go solar through the new Solar my Suburb program jointly created by Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick City Councils.
Currently, more than 20 organisations, including sporting clubs, synagogues, surf life saving clubs and others are participating. This follows the success of the Solar My School program where the majority of Eastern Suburbs schools have now installed significant photovoltaic systems and continue to expand on this.
“Solar my Suburb is a great example of how local organisations are investing in renewable energy solutions that make sense for their bottom line and for the environment.
North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club does so much for the community in terms of its volunteer lifesavers helping keep our beachgoers safe, and by supporting our Access Bondi program for beachgoers of all abilities, so to be able to support the club’s sustainability efforts is just fantastic”.
Bondi Junction Cycleway & Streetscape Upgrade
The Bondi Junction Cycleway and Streetscape Upgrade is a priority project from Complete Streets, where we green and beautify public areas and footpaths, make meeting places more appealing and improve connections for cycling, walking and access to public transport. This project enables safe bike access through Bondi Junction, improves water quality through water sensitive urban design (WSUD), energy efficient lighting and additional trees. For information and updates, see here.
Bondi Pavilion Restoration & Conservation Project
Council is soon to complete the restoration of Bondi Pavilion. As well as creating an amazing community facility, the building is being constructed to a 5-star Green Building Council of Australia (GSBC) rating. The new building includes a large solar array while any energy not generated on site be supplied by 100% renewables. There will be excellent passive ventilation with openable windows and atrium, advance building management system with energy efficient lighting and improved waste and recycling collection systems. The building reuses masonry and materials from the existing building and the building will have all non-potable water supplied from the Bondi stormwater harvesting system. For further information including monthly project updates, see here.
Over many years Council has been restoring native bushland in Bronte Gully, Tamarama Gully and more recently Thomas Hogan Reserve. These parks are hugely important refuges not just for people but also for local fauna, connecting local habitat corridors.
With the support of Bushcare volunteers and the community such as through National Tree Day events, Council has removed entrenched weed growth and planted thousands of native plants, restoring an ecosystem similar to what once existed.
At Tamarama, the waterfall and creek line which was overwhelmingly smothered by weeds is now clearly visible and a native canopy and understory is thriving. In Bronte Gully, a staged approach is taken so that zones are weeded only once the planted areas adjacent to them have established, ensuring that there is habitat for the animals in that area. Over more than 20 years this has occurred and now there is an enormous range of plant diversity supporting a broader range of birds, insects and other animals.
Environmental Upgrade Finance
Waverley Council is offering Environmental Upgrade finance to help local businesses save money and improve their economic and environmental performance, and help meet our community environmental targets. In partnership with Better Building Finance, a lender provides the upfront capital for the works, which the business then repays alongside their quarterly Council rates over periods of up to 20 years.
Council’s involvement means Waverley businesses and property owners can take out a long-term loan for works, such as installing solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, or upgrading heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems on aged care homes, and pay it back through Council rates.
“It’s a great way to upgrade existing (non-residential) buildings to improve their overall sustainability and address climate change issues,” Mayor Masselos said.
“Enabling sustainable financing options for our businesses is another example of how Local Government, working together with other levels of government, businesses and communities, can support the delivery of the Paris Agreement.”
To date, BBF has worked with local councils to facilitate more than 100 environmental upgrade projects at an investment of more than $40 million. This finance is responsible for generating almost 10,000kW of solar power, which will reduce carbon emissions by around 500k tonnes over the life of the projects.
Since 2019, Council has been delivering the Living Connections program, with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust. Working together with 160 private gardens, three schools, Council reserves and community gardens, this program has successfully supported links across the Bronte and Tamarama habitat corridors through the creation of small bird habitat and biodiversity friendly gardens.
Participating residents received expert garden advice and native plant seedlings of different heights, structure, and flowering times with over 5000 new native plants established in private gardens, and some public reserves in Waverley.
“Participating gardeners have reported increased knowledge about identifying small birds and their habitat, as well as an increase in insects and small animals visiting their gardens,” Mayor Masselos said.
“Many participants have gone on to add further native plants other vital habitat elements to their gardens, such as bird baths, mulch rocks and logs, using information and guidance developed through the program.
“Over time, as the new plants mature, we hope to track an increase in key local species such as the Superb Fairy Wrens and New Holland Honeyeaters. Building on this success, Council is now working to open the Living Connections program across the whole local government area.
Waverley Council takes an active approach in engaging our residents on waste and recycling through dedicated programs, workshops and community events, blog posts, newsletters and social media campaigns.
Our Recycling Improvement Program focuses on supporting residents in apartment buildings to recycle right. The program has reached close to 5000 households in 120 buildings and has halved contamination rates in both the yellow and blue recycling bins in these participating buildings.
We plan to deliver additional rounds to our building residents as COVID-19 restrictions ease. We also provide a raft of resources to the community including our Recycle Right A-Z webpage and the RecycleSmart app which provide localised disposal advice for hundreds of tricky household items. Council now provides options to dispose of problem wastes such batteries, printer cartridges and x-rays at our Library or Customer Service Centre.
“Waste sent to landfill is costly to manage, creates carbon emissions, and means valuable resources are no longer part of the productive economy,” Mayor Masselos said.
“Councils also need to navigate existing waste and recycling processing contracts, availability of suitable waste processing infrastructure available and transport requirements for waste and recycling.
By encouraging Waverley residents to reuse, repair and share unwanted items, and how to recycle and dispose of household items correctly, we can all lead a more sustainable lifestyle and reduce our carbon footprint”.
Recycled Roads project
Waverley Council’s Recycled Roads project was last month (January 2022) awarded highly commended in the Circular Economy Sustainable Cities Awards, presented by Keep Australia Beautiful NSW. The award recognises projects that divert solid materials from waste streams and return them to the productive economy.
In addition, the Blair Street Recycled Road project has also been profiled as a case study by the Institute of Public Works Engineers Australia in their recent publication Practice Note 12.2 - Climate Resilient Materials for Infrastructure Assets.
Council has re-sheeted sections of Blair Street, North Bondi and Henrietta and St Thomas Streets, Bronte with Reconophalt, an innovative asphalt product composed of materials that would otherwise likely end up in landfill, stockpiled, or as a pollutant in the local environment.
Each tonne of Reconophalt contains around 800 soft plastic bag and packaging equivalents, 252 glass bottle equivalents, toner from 18 used printer cartridges and 300 kilograms of reclaimed asphalt pavement.
“This is great recognition for the best practice sustainability that characterises Waverley’s Public Assets management. Using recycled material in roads maintenance and renewals helps in extending their useful life, minimising environmental impacts and also enhancing local climate resilience,” Mayor Masselos said.
Waste management and FOGO
Waverley Council is participating in a number of waste management projects with the South Sydney Region of Councils (SSROC) which includes eleven member councils in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
We are currently part of a regional feasibility study of food and garden organics and food organics (FO) in Sydney and this project will analyse the organics market to identify best practice FOGO and FO service implementation for councils.
In addition to these investigations, Waverley is actively working to promote circular economy principles in the community. This is through longstanding programs such as Compost Revolution which we share with Randwick and Woollahra Councils and working with, and supporting, local community groups such as Plastic Free Bronte and local businesses to be plastic-free. Through Compost Revolution, Waverley residents are eligible for a compost bin or worm farm at up to 80% off RRP, plus free delivery.
“A staggering 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere each year from food waste so it’s no surprise that Councils such as Waverley are doing their bit to reduce this and other waste through a range of initiatives from composting and worm farms to how to plan meals and shop local,” the Mayor said.