The Shire is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of its operations and has taken a range of steps to reduce energy consumption, use renewable energy sources, conserve water, use alternative water sources, reduce waste, improve recycling and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some examples of the Shire’s sustainability activities are described below.
Sustainability Strategy 2013-2018
Council has adopted a Shire of Capel Sustainability Strategy 2013-2018. The Strategy describes sustainability activities carried out by the Shire to date and provides data on electricity, fuel and water use, waste collection and recycling and greenhouse gas emissions. The Strategy sets targets for future improvements and outlines actions that the Shire intends to take to achieve the targets. To view a copy of the Strategy click here.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency
The Shire has installed solar power systems with a total rated capacity of 48.5kW across various buildings. These systems meet about 15% of the Shire’s electricity requirements (excluding electricity use for street lighting). The Shire has also implemented a range of energy efficiency projects, including replacing fluorescent tubes with LED lights, installing timers and sensors to control air-conditioners, exhaust fans and lights and installing heat pump and solar hot water systems in some buildings.
The Shire of Capel is a member of the Water Corporation’s Waterwise Council Program and has carried out a range of water saving activities including:
- Installing water efficient appliances such as waterless urinals, dual flush toilets, tap aerators, low flow shower heads and timer taps in many of its buildings.
- Working with the Water Corporation and developers to promote water efficiency in Dalyellup through a water wise gardening workshop, water wise garden competition, reset your retic programs and sustainable living expo.
- Installing rainwater tanks to supply water to the Shire Office, Iluka Capel Library, Shire Depot and the Dalyellup and Capel Sports Pavilions.
In July 2013 the Shire introduced a third wheelie bin for the collection of organic wastes. About 1,900 tonnes of organic waste are being diverted from landfill via the third bin each year, leading to a reduction in greenhouse emissions of around 2,600 tonnes CO2 per year. The organic waste is now being turned into compost and used as a soil improver instead of going to landfill.
Through the introduction of the third organics bin, existing recycling bin, waste education and promotion programs and improved recycling at the Capel Waste Transfer Station, the Shire has achieved an overall recycling rate of nearly 50%. This is well above the 36% and 24% average recycling rates achieved by metropolitan and regional councils respectively in 2014/15.
Greenhouse gas emissions
In 2016 the Shire ran a tree giveaway program for households in urban areas. Through the program selected residents received a free, semi-established tree to plant in their front or back yards. As well as absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, the trees will help to make our urban areas greener, maintain them as nice places to live, absorb other air pollution and provide a habitat for local birds and animals.
The Shire purchases carbon offsets to offset around 20% of its greenhouse gas emissions from fuel use in Shire cars, trucks and other machinery and around 30% of emissions from electricity use in Shire facilities (excluding electricity use for street lighting). The carbon offsets support Carbon Neutral’s Preston Waters Project near Morawa. As well as sequestering carbon, this reforestation project helps to create biodiversity habitat for flora and fauna, create connectivity between existing remnant vegetation and restore degraded farm land.