Senate Enquiry into Waste

Lucy Young

“Never before have I seen every stakeholder, from right across the economy, call for national leadership on an issue. This report lays bare the need for federal government action and underlines why it can no longer sit on the sidelines.

At last…some sense..let’s hope it translates to some decent policy for Australia…in the meantime…not need to wait…we can still get on and deal with our own waste…piece by piece.

Read the Guardian article


We use 5 trillion plastic bags…

Plastic Bag Free Castlemaine

We use 5 trillion plastic bags…

per year! That’s 160,000 a second! And over 700 a year for every single person on the planet. We can do better than that. See plastic bags used per year in real time below.

160,000 plastic bags a second

This year 5 trillion plastic bags will be consumed. That’s 160,000 a second! Put one after another they would go around the world 7 times every hour and cover an area twice the size of France.

Top 5 facts about plastic bags

Most bags are simply thrown out

Less than 1 percent are recycled. They are most often made from Polyethylene that takes centuries to degrade. Each ton of recycled plastic bags saves the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil.

What happens to the plastic bags?

In total, we use 100 million tons of plastic every year. Some 10 percent of this plastic end up in the oceans – and not without consequences…

The plastic soup

In the ocean, the plastic is broken down to tiny pieces. These pieces are eaten by fish and cannot be digested. Consequently the plastic builds up and enter into the food chain.

Hundreds of species are affected

Seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish eat the plastics. The death of one sperm whale found in California (USA) in 2008 was caused by 22.2 kilos of plastic that the whale had eaten. Check out the video on plastic bags and their way to the ‘Pacific garbage patch’.

Thanks to www.theworldcounts.com


The Dash and Stash

Penelope Gilbert

Have you spotted our technique posters around town? We’re sure they’re going to become collectors items. Pokemon Go for shopping adults?

Technique no 2 connects you with our friends Boomerang Bags, who sew reusable bags for you to use in place of a plastic bag. We do love seeing these in use around town, however, please return them to the box outside Castlemaine Fresh for others to use. There are incredible health benefits in a 3 step jog or quick side step dance as you return your Boomerang bag.

In Hobart recently I watched a dash and stash in action. The Hill St Grocer is plastic bag free, even their checkout screens remind you to bring your own bag. As I lined up to pay the man next to me was asked “Did you bring your own bag?” The man slapped his pockets in search but had to reply with an apology. Being part of the minimal 20% who forget their bags, the checkout staff member reminded him of the Borrow bags (the same as our Boomerang Bags). He dashed over then collected his stash. As I observed him, he transformed before my eyes. he was fine before, but now he was dashing!

Hub News

MASH Project Heads for a Bright New Day

Castlemaine’s not-for-profit Hub Foundation has owned and managed the MASH community solar bulk-buy project since it started in mid 2014, as well as the newly launched Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy.  To date, over 850 solar systems have been successfully installed by MASH suppliers in central Victoria. As a result, MASH has been instrumental in raising the solar penetration in Mount Alexander Shire from 18% four years ago to 28% today as well as made a significant impact on the Macedon Ranges Shire and City of Greater Bendigo.  The result has been a huge fall in CO2 emissions by around 5,000 tonnes per year.

MASH now under new management

The project has been directed over the four years by Neil and Heather Barrett, and Mark Carter, with day to day management by Executive Officer, Jo Kaptein,  In recent times, as many will know, Neil and Heather have become very involved in The Paddock eco village development on the edge of Castlemaine, to the point where they have decided it’s time to pass MASH over to another not-for-profit, the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA) which is also based in Castlemaine. The Hub Foundation are very confident that the CVGA has the capability to further enhance the penetration of MASH solar systems into residential areas throughout central Victoria and beyond.

Jo Maher, MASH customer in Castlemaine with her new Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery, together with from left to right, Neil Barrett, Chair, The Hub Foundation, Jo Kaptein, MASH solar bulk-buy, Rob Law, Executive Officer, Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance. Photo credit: Carmen Bunting

Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance

The CVGA is a network of 12 local governments in central and northern Victoria, founded in 2001. The CVGA have a long history delivering community energy projects such as the Central Victorian Solar City project from 2010-2013 and more recently the Solar Savers program targeting low income pensioner households. The CVGA is managed by a board consisting of representatives of the councils, with day-to -day management by Executive Officer, Rob Law.  You can read more about CVGA at: cvga.org.au

Jo Kaptein, one of the driving forces behind MASH, will now work with CVGA in the same role she has fulfilled so successfully at the Foundation. She transfers to the CVGA with the directors’ very best wishes.

No change for past MASH customers

All MASH customers have signed contracts with the program’s various suppliers – not with MASH or The Hub Foundation – over the past four years. Customers with warranty issues should contact their supplier for advice in the first instance.  Alternatively, they can go direct to the manufacturer of the panels or inverter. Customers can rest assured that MASH, under CVGA control, will support past customers as effectively as it has under the Hub Foundation.

Finally, The Hub Foundation wish to give a big thanks to MASH’s 850 customers and to its suppliers, staff and contractors. The CVGA looks forward to continuing the success of the MASH program delivering wide ranging benefits to the communities of central Victoria.

For more information about both the MASH community solar bulk-buy and the Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy (which is organised by the MASH team), visit mash.org.au or call the MASH team on 1300 466 274.