Lismore City Council has achieved significant milestones in its ambition to be a model of sustainability. Two key areas of recent success are in recycling and recovery initiatives for waste reduction, and in energy efficiency.
In November 2014, Lismore became the first council in Australia to achieve organic certification for compost made from collected kerbside food waste from households and restaurants. The compost from garden waste collection had previously achieved organic certification status and been so popular that Council has struggled to meet demand. Earlier this year it launched a new Materials Recovery Facility to process recycled glass and ceramics into new products. Cement waste is crushed for reuse as an aggregate substitute in construction. The Lismore Recycling and Recovery Centre also recycles paper and cardboard, aluminium, steel, and plastics including bagged plastic bags and soft plastics, and bagged polystyrene. Council also provides special e-waste facilities, and reusable items including furniture, appliances and all manner of odds and ends are sold on through its Revolve Shop. Lismore now provides its ‘waste’ resource recovery and recycling services for neighbouring town and councils, and is an important regional centre for responsible waste management and recycling.
New energy efficiency measures save Lismore Council $145,000 a year
“People in Lismore want the city to be a model of sustainability and this came through in our Imagine Lismore community consultation last year. Before we install and begin relying more on renewable energy, we want to make sure we lower our energy consumption as much as possible. Then when we invest in renewable energy in the future, our investment is being used to greatest effect.” Environmental Strategies Officer Vanessa Tallon
This year Council has already undertaken substantial initiatives to reduce energy consumption:
The Corporate Centre building has had LD lighting installed, connected a Sterile-Aire UV treatment system to the air-conditioner and added a new coat of heat reflective paint, which will reduce energy usage by 17 per cent, CO2 emissions by 63 tonnes and power costs by an estimated $16,000 per annum.
The CBD Council building has installed a new, efficient air-conditioning system. This will reduce energy use by 41 per cent, CO2 emissions by 14 tonnes and power costs by an estimated $3500 per annum.
The two council-owned public swimming pools have been retrofitted with with LED lighting, solar hot water and variable speed drives on the pool pumps, representing a further saving of $124,000 each year in electricity costs.
In partnership with the Lismore Community Sustainability Forum (LCSF), several neighbourhood groups were formed to deliver energy efficiency and literacy workshops to encourage behavioural change in the community. Participant Jeremy Stuart said the neighbourhood workshops had been practical and effective.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy it’s been to save energy and money in my home through making small changes,” he said. “I appreciate the support the Lismore Community Sustainability Forum and Lismore City Council has given my family to change the way we use electricity.”