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+ News, Uncategorized

MASH project a big success!

26 March 2015: Solar energy has really taken off in the Mount Alexander Shire. In terms of the percentage of homes with solar PV installed, the shire is now running equal second in Victoria to Indigo Shire which includes Beechworth and Yackandandah*.

The number of solar houses in the Shire increased from just over 1500 to almost 1900 in 2014, an increase of 24%*. Half of this increase was due to installations with the Mount Alexander Solar Homes (MASH) project. Also importantly, as shown in the accompanying graph, because the systems are now bigger, the total number of kilowatts installed increased by a whopping 34%. As a result of all this activity spurred on by the Mount Alexander Solar Homes (MASH) project, almost one in every four homes in Mount Alexander is now solar powered.

The solar revolution in Mount Alexander Shire

The MASH project was organised by Castlemaine’s Hub Foundation. Project Officer, Jo Kaptein, is very pleased with the result so far:

“It’s been fantastic. Many more people have saved money on their electricity bills and, at the same time, reduced their CO2 emissions.”

“Today our shire has 24% of houses with solar, compared with Bendigo’s 16%. Victoria overall has only 10%. But whilst we’re doing very well, we’ve still got a way to go before we can catch up to Indigo Shire’s 28%.

“It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though. The electricity distributor and the retailers haven’t always been easy to deal with, perhaps because they’re opposed to the Renewable Energy Target. We have recently written to Maree Edwards MLA to ask her to put some pressure on the government to carry out some reform in this area.

“The Hub Foundation is planning to launch the second stage of MASH in April. MASH 2 will emphasise the availability of a low interest solar loan to help those who are short of upfront cash. For most households this will allow them to be cash positive almost from the start: the savings on electricity bills will exceed the cost of interest and repayments.

“The Foundation’s aim is for Mount Alexander to become the No.1 solar shire in Victoria. We think 35% by the end of 2016 and 50% by 2018 Is achievable” said Kaptein.

*  Clean Energy Regulator, January 2015