At lunchtime today, Kim and I went along to the grand opening of the Melton Shires new Detox Your Home Centre and Re-Sale Centre. It was a small affair and there was about 40 people present for the ceremony. There was light refreshments and lots of interesting conversation. Here is what happened.
We met up with our friend Linda who is the local Environment Education Officer, and she introduced us to some of the people from Sustainability Vic and one of our local councillors. Linda introduced us as the “most sustainable couple in Melton” and we were treated like royalty. Everyone wanted to hear about what we have done around our home, and all asked for tips about what simple things they could do. We talked about the simple things like growing your own vegetables, energy efficiency, and chickens (they loved the chook stories). We even met up with Jo, who visited last year when we had open house with a gathering of people interested in sustainable living. She said that since she met us, she has been inspired to make major inroads into energy efficiency at her own home. She is also starting a veggie patch in the next few months! Good on you Jo.
The local councillor, Chris Papas, talked to us for at least 45 minutes and in the end, we were the only ones left in the shed. He was very impressed with our journey so far. He also suggested that because we have council election coming up in November, that we invite all candidates to our house to show them what we have done, and get them to commit to cleaning up the shires sustainability profile. He said that we were “role models” in our community. Fair enough, but I think he was genuinely interested, because he is stepping down from council in November, so Kim and I agreed to give it a go. I am always looking for a bit of passive activism!
All who we talked to had many questions about how the Solar PV worked and where the excess power went, and if we got paid for putting power back into the grid. After I informed them that the Feed-in Tariff was a travesty, and we didn’t get paid a brass razoo (nothing, nada) for the excess power, they all said that it was wrong, and there was no real incentive to get a system. Then when I told them about the 2kW cap on systems that they would actually pay a tariff on, they were even madder at the State Government. I suggested they right a letter to the Premier, especially if they were thinking of installing a system. The other question we were asked most was how much did it set us back in monetary terms. When I told them that the savings on our power bill was paying for the loan, they were very impressed. I also said that we will have full payback in about 10-12 years at the current rate of energy production. The icing on the cake was when I told them that I haven’t paid for electricity since August 20th! You should have seen the impressed looks we got, I think we got their attention. Its feels good to be living a sustainable lifestyle and to spread the word about how easy it is to change your lifestyle for the better.
I think that Kim and I were only two of a handful of local residents who attended. The rest were from the council and Sustainability Victoria who were joint sponsors of the project. I hope they get more interest from locals, now that it is open.
The Detox your Home centre is a fantastic idea, and it accepts the following items;
- Old BBQ gas bottles
- household and car batteries
- fluorescent light tubes and compact fluros
- old paint tins (full or empty)
- used motor oil
The Re-Sale Centre is basically a hard rubbish drop off site, that you can get rid of unwanted stuff in decent knick and they flog it off for a modest fee to cover expenses. I asked the Waste Manager, Luke, if the charity shops in our area had cottoned on to what they were doing. He said he hadn’t received any feed back from them. I told him about a story on A Current Affair last night which was about volunteer workers at charity shops in Queensland and New South Wales, getting first dibs at the good stuff and selling it to antique shops for a large profit. He was dismayed, and wasn’t surprised though. I always thought some of those volunteers were in it for themselves and not the charity they were working for! I wished Luke luck for the centre and hoped it did well.
We had a good time, and I was very proud of Kim, because she held her own during the barrage of questions we received, even though she tells everyone that I was the instigator of all the big ideas. Honey, if it wasn’t for your support, we wouldn’t be even half way along our journey, and it wouldn’t have been half as pleasurable.
When you are at the local recycling centre, you have a bit of a captive audience, I suppose. It’s funny who you meet at the tip!