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Taking action on Climate Change

Calendar 2016

Wash Against Waste Working Bee
Thursday 21st January 2016

Solar Towns Grants Deadline 
Friday 12th February 2016

Sustainable House Education Day (SHED)
Sunday 28th February 2016

Happy 2016 to all

We hope you are all enjoying your Summer Holidays, and if your back at work, the new year is beginning smoothly for you.

In this e-news we have an invitation to MASG's Wash Against Trailer Working Bee on Thursday 21 January, updates and booking information for The Sustainable House Education Day (SHeD), information regarding the Solar Towns Federal Grants Program, with $300,000 available for Community Organisations within Mount Alexander Shire Council (deadline 12 February), and news update with exciting new bioenergy projects gaining global traction, and an interesting article from The Guardian relating to circular economy emissions reductions.

Wash Against Waste Working Bee 21 January

If you have an hour or so free on Thursday 21 January our beloved Wash Against Waste Trailer is getting a spruce up to be ready for a busy few months of events.

Come and help give the trailer some much needed love! WAWT logo_colour_web

This valued community asset needs ongoing maintenance to keep it operating efficiently. 

We have new crockery, aprons, tubs, signage and decorations thanks to the support of Coliban Water and Loddon Valley Waste and Resource Group, and ideas and energy are warmly invited.

Wash Against Waste Trailer Working Bee

Thursday 21 January 2016

8.30am to 11am

Windarring, 317 Barker St, Castlemaine VIC 3450

*Please enter via the Hunter Street entrance

BYO washing up gloves. Free morning tea provided

RSVP to Helen at

or t: 0429 190 470 by Monday 18 January

For more information about the Wash against Waste trailer or for booking information for your next event see more info on the MASG website here.

'Solar Towns' federal grants program for community organisations (deadline 12 Feb 2016)

The Federal Government is offering grants of up to $20,000 for community organisations in Mount Alexander Shire to install solar photovoltaic panels (or a solar hot water system).  This is a great opportunity for eligible organisations to get funding for the total cost of a system, which will save money on electricity bills and reduce greenhouse gases. 

There are rules of course and forms to fill in. But the great thing about this government program is that the grant can pay for the total cost of the system – the organisation doesn’t need to find any money (other than for meter reconfiguration).  And $300,000 is set aside for community groups in Mount Alexander Shire!

MASG and the Hub Foundation can help you apply:
Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) and The Hub Foundation Castlemaine are not-for-profit organisations which share an objective of encouraging renewable energy  and helping the local community become more sustainable.  We want to bring this grant program to your attention, because it would be a shame if there were insufficient applicants and some of the available grant money was not taken up.

What you need to do:
Applications must be submitted by 2pm on 12 February 2016, so there isn’t much time to prepare your application.  There is a bit of work involved – in brief what you need to do by the deadline is:

Work out if you are eligible
Get two quotes for the installation
Fill in the application forms (online) and attach quotes and other documents

You can find out all the details from the government’s website at:

We have also prepared a summary of a few other things you need to know, which you can find here:

Solar Towns program - Overview

Who to contact for help with your application
If you need some advice or assistance, the Hub Foundation and MASG are willing to help out as much as they can.

For questions about choice of PV equipment and getting quotes from suppliers, contact Jo Kaptein at the Hub Foundation on 0455 589 065 or

For questions about eligibility and filling in the forms, contact Gerry Egan of MASG on 0407 092 642 or


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Sustainable House Education Day (SHED) Sunday February 28th 2016

The Mount Alexander Sustainability Group’s (MASG) popular tour of environmentally progressive homes is back on Sunday 28 February 2016. Be inspired by what local residents of the Mount Alexander Shire have achieved and find out how they did it.

Featured as part of the 2016 Sustainable Living Festival, local residents of the Mount Alexander Shire are opening their homes to the public to discuss some of the design and build choices they have made in their energy efficient and sustainably constructed homes.

For bookings and more information please contact:

Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG)
p: 03 5470 6978

Click here to go to the SHED WEBPAGE and stay up to date with house and tour info.


In the news: The Bioenergy revolution continues, San Franscisco bans plastic bottle sales in public spaces, 2015 study shows that a circular economy could cut 70% emissions by 2030.

New waterless toilet can turn human waste into power

'Around 2.3 billion people around the world are living without access to safe and sanitised toilet facilities, so scientists in the UK have designed a new cheap, waterless, and energy-producing toilet, and it's been scheduled for trials in Africa later this year.

The environmentally friendly and easy-to-maintain Nano Membrane Toilet has secured backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and has been three years in the making. If initial trials go well, the technology could be used everywhere from military vehicles to luxury yachts.

At the core of the toilet's operation is a nanotech membrane, which separates vapourised water from the rest of the waste after some initial sedimentation. This process cleans it up for household washing or field irrigation by removing pathogens while the liquid is in a vapourised state. Nano-coated beads lead to the formation of clean water droplets on the other side.'

Read the full article here.

San Francisco Becomes The First City to Ban Sale of Plastic Bottles

'In a bold move toward pollution control, San Francisco has just become the first city in America to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, a move that is building on a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry.
Over the next four years, the ban will phase out the sales of plastic water bottles that hold 21 ounces or less in public spaces. A waiver is permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available,' reports GlobalFlare.'

Read the full article here.

Circular economy could bring 70 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030.

From The Guardian Newspaper, April 15, 2015.

'Odds are, your mobile phone is less than two years old. Today’s economy is built on a “fast turnover” principle. The faster we replace our gadgets the better – not only our phones, but most items we consume.

This leads to a staggering inefficiency in the way we manage the Earth’s resources, with increased pollution, loss of ecosystems and substantial losses of value with each product disposed. A new study from The Club of Rome, a global thinktank, highlights that moving to a circular economy by using and re-using, rather than using up, would yield multiple benefits.

This Swedish case study, the first in a series of reports in 2015, suggests that 2015 is a key window of opportunity to start modernising the EU economy, while boosting jobs and tackling climate change ahead of the UN climate change conference, COP 21, in Paris in December.

It analyses the effects of three strategies underpinning a circular economy: renewable energy, energy efficiency and material efficiency. It concludes that by 2030, carbon emissions could be cut by almost 70% if a key set of circular economy policy measures were adopted.

In addition, caring for items through repair, maintenance, upgrading and remanufacturing is far more labour-intensive than mining and manufacturing in highly automated facilities. In moving to a more circular economy, the number of additional jobs would likely exceed 100,000 – cutting unemployment by more than a third.'

Read the full article from The Guardian here.

List your event or initiative here!

If you have an event or project that you 
would like to see listed here, or for more information about feature articles contact:
Mandy Field Communications Officer


Become a MASG Supporter


MASG is a volunteer driven organisation with part time staff that support the ongoing project operations that MASG undertakes, to research, advocate and implement large scale community renewable energy solutions, and sustainability initiatives.

MASG is committed to representing community interests in communicating these aims across local government, industry and services.

Though we need your support to continue this work. Click this link to be taken to the membership page on the website.

Or go to:

Support MASG with a donation

Make a tax deductable donation to help MASG continue its shire wide projects including the 'Zero Net Emissions by 2025' campaign.

Click here to make a donation or go to

You can also email Mahesh at
or Ph: 03 5470 6978.

If you haven't already subscribed to MASG's fortnightly enews with clean energy actions, updates, offers and events click here.

Copyright © 2015 Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, All rights reserved.