The community will reap the benefits of a bold plan to see the city's carbon emissions dramatically reduced.
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Dubbo Regional Council, led by organisational sustainability coordinator Catriona Jennings, has developed a net zero framework to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Net zero means the council will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.
The council's biggest source of operational emissions is rubbish. Waste going to the council's two landfill sites - the Whylandra Waste and Recycling Centre and the Wellington Transfer Station - currently contributes up to 62 per cent of the organisation's carbon footprint.
The next highest at 18 per cent comes from the purchases of goods and services.
Other priority areas are electricity purchased for assets and street lighting, which makes up 14 per cent of emissions, and fuel use, which is four per cent.
To achieve net zero by at least 2050, Ms Jennings acknowledges it will require support, not just from all of the council, but also other levels of government, businesses and the community.
The council is aiming for a 10 per cent reduction in rubbish from every person by 2030, as well as a waste diversion rate - that is, the amount of rubbish that is not sent to landfill - of 80 per cent.
In 2019, Dubbo Regional Council's waste diversion rate was 35 per cent. By 2022 it had increased to 43 per cent, primarily attributed to the introduction of the food organics and garden organics recycling services - the green bin.
Encouraging residents to reduce their waste further will be part of the net zero framework.
"All those changes you can do at home will make a difference and will make a difference to council," Ms Jennings said.
"I know at home sometimes I'm a bit slack with my waste sorting. But even just going that extra 10 per cent think, 'I know if I spend a little more time sorting my rubbish Cat is going to love me because it's going to help in the end'."
Ms Jennings said residents didn't need to install solar panels, but could take small steps like being more water and energy efficient.
"It's all very simple things and the small things add up to big things," she said.
For council, the changes will not only reduce emissions.
"Through this framework we're avoiding the risks of business as usual. Because eventually these things will be legislated. The area is changing so council needs to adapt and move with that. Business as usual in relation to climate change is not an option," she said.
By 2028, council is aiming for a 35 per cent reduction in emissions from its operations and by 2035, the goal is 70 per cent reduction.
That'll put the council on the path of getting to net zero by 2050, or at least having a 90 per cent reduction in emissions with the rest counterbalanced by carbon removal offsets.
"I do find with sustainability you need to chip away at it. You can have best practice plans but unless you get in and try things you're never going to learn and you're never going to improve. Sustainability is all about that continuous improvement really," Ms Jennings said.
"I could spend a lot of time in the community sort of talking about what target council should have but the most important thing is that we have a direction and we start now. Targets are great but they can also be limiting. That's what this whole [framework] is about - having those targets but then having a clear way in which council will start to drive action on these issues and start to implement them on the ground."
A draft report of the council's net zero framework will go on public exhibition from Tuesday, August 15.
Ms Jennings said she would love to hear feedback from the community and ideas were always welcome.
The net zero framework will be available on the Dubbo Regional Council website.
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