As we celebrate 20 years as a City within a World Heritage Area, sustainability lies at the heart of our Community Vision

At this critical moment in global history, Blue Mountains City Council embraces its responsibility to not only ensure the environmental, social and economic sustainability of our community at a local level, but to also play an important leadership role to contribute to the overall health of the planet. 

Read the Media Release: Council looks to establish a Planetary Health Leadership Centre in Katoomba

Header image: ‘Into the Blue’, a permanent exhibition at the Blue Mountains Culture Centre

What is planetary health?  

Planetary Health is an emerging science which links the things we do, with the health of people and the health of the planet. Its aim is to provide a framework for us to reassess and adapt human practices to better support a healthy planet for current and future generations. 

It also includes learning from the more sustainable resource management practices that have been used by traditional peoples from around the world for millennia. 

How is Council contributing to the health of our planet? 

A Carbon Neutral Organisation

In 2016 Blue Mountains City Council endorsed its Carbon Abatement Action Plan (CAAP) with a target of achieving net zero emissions by 2025. 

Key projects enacted within the CAAP include:

  • Replacing 2,781 old, inefficient streetlights with LEDs. Each new bulb achieves an immediate 79% energy reduction, resulting in a 645 tonne reduction of Council’s CO2 emissions per year. The emissions savings are equivalent to taking nearly 100 homes off the grid, or over 250 cars off the road each year.
  • Installing a 289 kW solar panel system on the top of five large, Council-run facilities. This will reduce Council emissions by approximately 313 tonnes of CO2e per year. This is a significant reduction considering the average household generates around 7 tonnes of CO2e per year.
  • Trialing the use of electric vehicles in the Council's Fleet of over 300 vehicles, trucks and plant. 

The initial target for the CAAP was to achieve a 20% reduction in carbon emissions by 2022. This has already been exceeded and replaced with a stretch target of 30%. A new landfill gas capture system at Blaxland RRWMF and the introduction of our residential green bin service are the main reasons for the significant reduction in Council emissions since 2015.

Find out more about our Climate Change targets and results.

Partnerships

Blue Mountains City Council is partnering with other local government leaders on a number of sustainability initiatives.

  • The Centre for Planetary Health. Blue Mountains City Council is partnering with Western Sydney University and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute for initiatives relating to Planetary Health. The Planetary Health program of activities is part of Blue Mountains City Council’s delivery of the Blue Mountains Community Strategic Plan 2035
  • Western Sydney Energy Program (WSEP). Blue Mountains City Council has joined nine Western Sydney councils to launch the Western Sydney Energy Program (WSEP) which aims to reduce Western Sydney's emissions by 200,000 tonnes of CO2e per year. The Program is coordinated by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and focuses on four key areas: renewable energy, transport infrastructure, supporting communities and implementing best practice in energy planning and design for buildings and precincts. Learn more.​​​​​​
  • Resilient Sydney. The Blue Mountains is one of 33 councils involved in developing Resilient Sydney – the first resilience strategy for metropolitan Sydney. The strategy was developed in collaboration with 100 Resilient Cities and in consultation with over 1,000 residents and 100 businesses and government organisations. Find out more.
  • Cities Power Partnership (CPP). In 2018 Council joined The Cities Power Partnership, a free, national program created by the Australian Climate Council that brings together towns and cities making the switch to clean energy. Blue Mountains City Council was among the first 100 Councils to sign up to what is now Australia’s largest Local Government climate initiative, and was pleased to be involved in the first ever national summit to develop regional climate solutions run by the CPP. Learn more.

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Image: In the Line of Fire, 2019, digital photograph by Dean Sewell.  This work is currently being exhibited as part of the critical mass: the art of planetary health exhibition at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.

Arts and Culture 

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of being a City within a World Heritage Area, the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is launching critical mass: the art of planetary health exhibition on 3 October. 

The exhibition is a visual exploration of how people relate to our environment and how we have lived then and now, inclusive of food, energy, and resource sharing. It is led by a partnership between Blue Mountains City Council, Western Sydney University and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute with the aim of leading conversations about the emerging science of Planetary Health. 

The critical mass: the art of planetary health exhibition features the artists Russel Drysdale, Simryn Gill, Fiona Hall, Hans Heysen, Janet Laurence, Sydney Nolan and Louis Pratt alongside Blue Mountains and regional NSW artists Locust Jones, Heidi Axelsen & Hugo Moline, Ona Janzen, Alexander Boynes & Mandy Martin, Rachel Peachey & Paul Mosig, Joan Ross, Andrew Merry and Dean Sewell. The exhibition will run until 3 December. 

Learn more about the exhibition

Managing our waste

After two years of research and extensive consulation with the local community, Council introduced its standard household waste service. This is in line with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) recommended best practice waste service.

In 2019, Blue Mountains City Council conducted a City-wide household garbage, recycling and green waste bin audit. The report found that: 

  • The amount of garden vegetation in the garbage bin is under 2%
  • Extremely low contamination (wrong things) in the green bin continues
  • Waste diversion continues to increase, currently sitting at over 50%, that is, the community recycles more than it puts into landfill; and
  • The total generation (garbage, recycling, green) per household continues to decrease.

To reduce the amount of household waste going to landfill even further, Council has spearheaded a number community initiatives such as our Compost Hub, food waste and recycling workshops, and our A-Z of recycling and disposable of hazardous waste web resources.

Comprehensive information on Council's waste management strategies can be found in our Waste Avoidance and Recovery Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021.

To find out more about Blue Mountains Council's community-endorsed vision read the 2035 Community Strategic Plan.