Monday’s ABC Four Corners program was hardly flattering to recycling in Australia but Fremantle through our part in the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (member councils also include Cockburn, Melville, Kwinana and East Fremantle.) is leading the way in WA for diverting waste from landfill. Here is their official response:


In light of the allegations presented in a recent ABC Four Corners programme into waste management practices in NSW and QLD, the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) would like to reemphasize that recyclables collected in the yellow-topped bins processed by the SMRC are recovered to the fullest extent possible with 85% of recyclables recovered and made into new products.

This includes glass which is recovered, ground and used in road base, as well as plastics, paper, cardboard, steel and aluminum which command a high value when sold to domestic and international markets.

The organic fraction of the green-topped general waste bins processed by the SMRC is recovered and processed into compost which is used in agriculture.

The SMRC is a transparent, local government organisation, committed to working with its member councils and the community to ensure environmentally sustainable outcomes.

The SMRC plays an important role in working towards increased recycling rates and encourages the community to assist our efforts by ensuring they continue to put the right thing in the right bin.

Residents of member Councils and members of the public can attend free tours of the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC) in Canning Vale to see firsthand what happens to their waste and virtual tours are also available on the Recycle Right website

Delivering Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives (SHAC)

This morning was one of those special mornings that captured so much about what I love about Fremantle.

Today, affordable housing, promotion of the arts, sustainability and community all came together in the SHAC Housing project official opening today in WGV, Fremantle.

I still remember when the original SHAC artists came to visit me at the City of Fremantle about their out of the box idea for some affordable housing in Fremantle that was specifically for artists. Housing and studios in perpetuity that Freo artists could live and work in.

It was a bold idea. One without precedent in WA. But the hard work of the SHAC crew along some great support from Landcorp, Access Housing, CODA, JBA, Donaldson and Warn, Peter Tinley, CUSP, City of Freo and others saw this crazy, bold idea become a reality today.

Resident artists have now moved into some of the 22 nicely designed, affordable rental units and artist studios that sit in a sustainable medium density building (with 20kw of solar PV and 40kw of batteries) all among some wonderful native landscaping.

I suspect there was barely a dry eye in the crowd as Michelle who was one of the co-initiators of the project explained its importance to the Freo arts community in her wonderful speech (see below). This is an exceptionally good example of density done well.

This is a project I feel extremely proud to have played a small part in helping it come to reality. I feel even more proud to part of community that can bring bold idea to reality because we care and have a vision for the kind of diverse and inclusive community we want to be.

It was a special day – love Freo


Introducing The Lupin Co: winner of the City of Fremantle’s Sustainable Initiative Award

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with David Fienberg who is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Lupin Co.

The Lupin Co won the City of Fremantle’s Sustainable Initiative Award at the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Business Awards.

While I wasn’t on the judging panel I was impressed to hear about how we have innovative, sustainability focused companies like this setting up in the heart of Fremantle.

David was very  passionate about making  food that tastes great, is easy to use and delivers amazing benefits the whole food chain.

We agreed that  while the ‘sustainable’ word gets thrown around a bit Lupin Flakes are surprisingly good for the environment. Like chickpeas and lentils, as a legume – lupins acts as a natural fertiliser, introducing nitrogen to the soil, therefore reducing the need for chemical fertilisers.

Find out more here:

A Movie About A Life Less Plastic by Quincey for Plastic Free July

It was lovely to join the amazing Hilton Harvest crew, lots of families and Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge for the world premiere of Quincey’s great little stop motion short movie as part of Plastic Free July. Quincey is 10 years old  and Year 5 at Hilton Primary School. He did the clip after doing one day course at the Freo Arts Center. So talented!

I even got a small role. Not sure about my acting talents though!

As you can see it was a huge turnout at the PCYC in Hilton

Productive and Native. Highlights of the Community Verge Walk

Today’s community walk to look at verge gardens was really inspiring. Not only was the walk well attended by many impressive people willing to share their ideas and experiences, but we got to see some really great resident-initiated verges as we wondered along Holland, Montreal and Forrest Streets in Fremantle. Thanks to everyone for sharing ideas and knowledge. I leant lots.

Pleasingly the consensus was that the new City of Fremantle verge policy was definitely heading in the right direction as it encouraged more people to plants native plants or even vegetables in their front verges. The policy not only helps people make verge gardens but it also cuts red tape and lets people do creative things – many of which are already happening if Fremantle. Please check out link to policy on previous post.

What became apparent too is that native and productive verges are not only good for environmental reasons such as reducing water use and increasing biodiversity but they are also important socially, as residents use, enjoy and come together (and even share excess produce) as a result of more attractive verge gardens.

Here are some photos:

On the Verge of a Greener Fremantle: We’d Love Your Feedback

As you hopefully know already, the City of Fremantle encourages residents to develop gardens on their verge. We especially love native gardens that bring birds and biodiversity into our suburbs.

While we have seen some great verge gardens popping up all around Fremantle, we want to see lots more. So in the budget this year we decided we to allocate more resources and services to help people do this.

This includes

  1. a verge preparation and mulch delivery scheme to make it easier for residents to convert a verge to a garden.
  2. An increase the number of subsisted plants made available to the community to support verge gardens.
  3. more regular mulch pickup days for the community.

We are also looking a revising what you can put on your verge. Fruits and nut, trees, astroturf, vegetable planters???

We would love you thoughts before the Fremantle Council meeting on Thursday.

To get a feel for what works on the verge I am going to do a community walk around on Sunday afternoon starting at 1.30pm at the Cool Room Café on Holland Street for an hour or so to discuss what works and doesn’t. You would be very welcome to join us.

Also check out the item on page 138 0f the agenda here:



Launch of Boomerang Bags and Plastic Free July at Growers Green Farmers Market this Sunday

You are invited to join us for the Launch of Boomerang Bags and Plastic Free July at Growers Green Farmers Market this Sunday, 9.30am, 2 July 2017.

Boomerang Bags is a community movement. The bags are made by volunteers using recycled fabric and are available for shoppers to use when they forget their own shopping bags.  This stops the need to use plastic bags.  The bags are boomeranged around the community via stands which enable you to drop off and borrow again.  This simple idea has given communities the opportunity to think and share sustainable practices, recycle materials and come together to stop the amount of single use plastic.

We hope you can join me along with Plastic Free July founder Rebecca Prince Ruiz, and Minister Simone McGurk at Growers Green Farmers Market and see how we are embracing the phase out of single use plastic  in Freo.