Innovative products and methods are helping Council operate in a more sustainable way.
Waterless Car Washing
Council vehicles are washed regularly - but without water. The car washing company that visits Council uses a bio-degradable polish that lifts and traps the dirt. Therefore water usage has been more than minimised - the amount of water used is now zero. This saves an estimated 100L of water per car. Plus there is a 15% reduction in labour costs on top of the 100% reduction in water costs.
The office photocopier is no longer known only for duplicating images. The new photocopiers are called Multi Function Devices (MFD). These MFD's have been introduced across Council to perform the tasks of scanning, printing, faxing besides photocopying. So far, four printers, three fax machines, and five scanners have been removed. Each MFD provides savings in energy, hardware, maintenance and consumables by between $50-200 annually. The goal over the next 18 months is to eliminate 80% of other desktop hardware which will further reduce operating costs and provide significant environmental rewards including the avoidance of toxic waste and a lower usage of raw materials.
Council departments host meetings and events for the public. Following sustainable purchasing principles we now use environmentally-friendly paper cups. They have cornstarch coating, are sourced from plantation forests only, and are Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF). The biodegradation time of the cups is 20-45 days in composting conditions. 100% virgin non-chlorine bleach is used.
Fleet and Plant Vehicles
The Toyota Prius was selected as one of Council's lease vehicles from 2004. To this energy-efficient vehicle has been added the Holden Epica Diesel to increase the fuel efficiency and decrease the carbon emissions of the fleet. Furthermore, heavy plant equipment vehicles, including the trucks used to clean pits and gullies, are now hybrid vehicles. We also have an electric bike funded by the Environmental Levy.
A new ceramic tile was selected for an upgrade to a Council building. The tile is treated with Buchtal Hydrotect which absorbs odour ensuring a pleasant cleaner atmosphere. The surface of the tiles is hydrophilic which means that when washed the water spreads over the tile surface to form a thin film that lifts the dirt so it can be removed with minimal cleaning. Less cleaning aids need to be used and there is less maintenance of the tiles. For walls or flooring the tiles are extremely durable.