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December 2016

Village Eco News A publication of Bangalow Land and Rivercare. Welcome to this edition of Village Eco News. For more information about how you can subscribe or contribute see page 4

Household recycling - the devil is in the detail

In 10 years since 1996 our waste has increased by 170% while our population has increased by only 28% this averages 647 kilograms of municipal waste per year.

Councils across Australia maintain that in spite of offering a bin for recycled material contamination of that material is their biggest problem leaving some products to make their way into the wrong recycling system or recyclable products ending up in the garbage.

A Planet Ark report has shown that Australians believe in recycling but often don’t know what can and can not be recycled. We hope to help solve this problem with the guide below that is common to a number of our local Councils and identifies what they expect to find in your household Yellow Bin.

Yes, drop it in

Newspapers and magazines including inserts

Office paper and paper bags

Cereal boxes and non waxed cardboard Glass bottles, jars and lids

Broken glass and crockery Clean polystyrene,

Steel and aluminim cans

Milk, soft drink, juice or water bottles and bottle tops All plastic containers with the approved codes of 1 to 7

Plastic bags. Place them all in one bag and tie the end

No, wrong bin

Food waste

Green waste eg. palm fronds

String, rope and electrical cable

Waxed cardboard and waxed paper Styrofoam eg bean bag ‘beans’ Wood or building material Motor oil containers Light bulbs Batteries Xrays

Disposable nappies

Plastics not marked with the approved codes and cellophane

Landcare Working Bee Our team of friendly volunteers work every Saturday morning, weather permitting from 8.30am to 10.30am rotating through the various sites around Bangalow. All welcome. November Raffle Winner - Bernard

Greening Your Christmas

The simplest way to green your Christmas this year is to avoid buying items that will end up in landfill. Always think 'want vs need' when you shop, life is simpler with less. Think about buying fair trade, recycled and sustainable. Homemade and upcycle too, the effort shows much more thought for the gift receiver than a two second purchase.

Vouchers are good and the memory of the experience you share will outlast the five minutes of engagement a plastic toy will bring.

For the older kids and adults adopting an endangered animal or forest can bring lasting joy and also starts the conversation and engagement in conservation. Here are some website links to give you ideas, the only limit is your imagination.

Single use shopping bags - that last forever

It seems that this issue hits the media every few years and suddenly people are aware of the problem that single use plastic bags present to the environment but then we become complacent and our old habits resume.

I made a commitment to myself in January 2016 to not use a single plastic bag this year and so far just one got through my resolve when I was on holiday but it was a biodegradable one.

It can be achieved by carrying a cloth shopping bag (or 3). They are available from a variety of sources including the CWA, craft stalls or the local Markets and the easiest way to reduce and hopefully eliminate single use plastic bags.

The world did not end when I stopped lining my bins with them. The ones for fruit really bother me, my pet hate is bananas in a bag, really?! I just picture those bags floating in the ocean and looking like jellyfish to a turtle. While the supermarket reusable bags can have plastic in them if reused hundreds of times this is preferable. Look for jute or cotton bags that are washable and completely bio-degradable or purchase a long lasting, washable ‘Trolley Buddy’ ( an absolute favorite with two of our members.

Make your own but if like me you can't sew order via Bangalow Landcare for locally made bags and if you forget your bag(s) a non waxed cardboard box is a handy replacement. Liz Gander.

Plant of the Month - NSW Christmas Bush Ceratopetalum gummiferum This fine, feature shrub grows to 5m high by 1.5m wide and heralds in the festive season in New South Wales. White star shaped flowers in spring develope into beautiful red calyces in summer. It likes a well drained soil and a sunny position. Photo Brian Walters

flower across the top of the canopy in shades of white to reflect moonlight in order to attract them? They are a keystone species and a very important part of our eco-system, they are a major pollinator and seed disperser of native forests helping to spread seed between the remaining isolated remnants of the forest.

Flying Foxes aren't scary but their extinction is. Fear and negative public perceptions hinder the survival of the Flying Fox, of which the biggest is disease.

Going Batty?

There are three types of Flying Fox found in our area, the Grey-headed, above, Little Red on the right and Black below. Flying Foxes just like Koalas are a protected native species.

The Grey-headed Flying Fox was listed in 1999 as 'vulnerable to extinction' and are now protected by Federal law. Early last century, the species was considered abundant, with numbers estimated in the many millions.

In recent years, though, direct evidence has shown that the species is in serious decline. Current estimates list the population at about 610 000, and the national population may have declined by over 30% between 1989 and 1999 alone.

All three species will share a roost site and can gather in large numbers especially in a summer camp. Flying Foxes are the only true flying mammal and nourish their babies on milk. Adults feed exclusively on fruit and nectar relying on great night vision to find their food. Summer camps house both sexes, this is where mating and birthing takes place, winter camps are usually only male or female. Flying Fox camps have moved closer to human habitation in recent times searching for food and shelter. Humans have removed 95% of the forest cover in which they once lived so it is primarily habitat loss that has brought them to our doorstep.

Flying Foxes get very heat stressed and many perish every summer during extreme heat events. Stress can bring on illness so the more the colonies are harassed the more likely they are to fall ill. Global warming, loss of native forest that provides their food and shelter, barbed wire and human intolerance are the greatest threat to this species. Did you know that Flying Foxes are the major pollinator of East Coast Eucalyptus which

The fact is that there has been only three known fatal cases of Australian Bat Lyssavirus, all in Queensland. Unfortunately these people did not seek immediate medical treatment.

The occurrence of the virus in the overall population is estimated at less than 1% and is similar to Rabies. Public health advice is do not touch. If you are bitten or scratched wash the area with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention. A course of Rabies vaccine and Rabies immunoglobulin will be given, I've had both and live to tell the tale.

Wildlife carers are vaccinated and trained to handle Flying Foxes so leave it to them. NRWC Hotline is 6628 1866. It is important to note that these animals are nomadic and will eventually move on. In the mean time remember how important they are and how lucky we are to still have them, they may very soon become just a picture in a book of extinct Australian species. Liz Gander.

10 New Years Resolutions for the Environment

Weed of the Month - Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw (above) is an aggressive ornamental South American vine that has escaped from the home garden to wreak havoc on native vegetation.

Cat’s Claw are fire, drought and frost resistant and spread by wind and waterborne seed and tubers. The woody vine with climbing tendrils ending with tiny sharp hooked claws resembling a cat’s claw are capable of extending over large areas of rainforest killing even the largest trees. Hand weeding is impractical except for very small areas. Large infestations are best reported to your local Landcare. Dawn Lotty Below l to r: Cat’s Claw tubers and seeds

1. Make a commitment to stop using plastic bags. Be aware of all plastic products and reuse them when ever you can. 2. Cancel phone book deliveries, save some trees. 3. Start a sponsorship for an animal or forest anywhere in the world. 4. Buy less! Think twice before you buy and ask yourself if you really need it. 5. Start a vegetable garden, any size. Anything you can grow is better for you and the earth 6. Replace your shampoos, conditioner and soap with products free of paraben, petro-chemicals, SLES, SLS, ALES and ALS 7. Eat less meat and half your carbon footprint. Start with Meatless Monday. 8. Purchase a re-usable coffee cup and help reduce landfill. Think how many coffee cups are thrown away each year. 9. Avoid buying water. Australia has some of the best water in the world! Use your own water bottle and refill it for free. 10. Walk or cycle, leave the car at home whenever you can.

Village Eco News

Our aim is to inform, interest, amuse and educate our readers on all things environmental in and around the Bangalow district. We welcome and encourage you to submit your contributions to our email address.If you would like to be a subscriber to this free Newsletter please send your name and email address to Please pass this publication on to your network of family and friends. Receiving your newsletter online will help to save the environment we work so hard to preserve. Photos: Landcare members Layout & Design: Dawn Lotty Printed by: DiGi PRiNT PRO, Bangalow

Contact Details: President: Noelene Plummer 6685 4470 Secretary: Liz Gander 6687 1309 Email:

Village eco news issue 6 december 2016