Environment and Health
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Sustainable Living

Cook Shire is treasured for its beautiful natural environment and the opportunities this provides to those who live and holiday here.  To maintain the Shire’s assets for future generations, the community and visitors alike are moving toward a way of living sustainably and mindful of the environment.

The following areas provide information on Cook Shire Council’s commitment to environmental sustainability. 

Queensland bag ban

The Queensland Government has passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017, which will forbid retailers form providing or selling lightweight plastic bags (known as single use plastic bags) from July 1, 2018. This ban will affect ALL retailers that currently use some form of lightweight plastic bag, from grocery stores to clothing shops, takeaway shops and everything in between.

Click here for more information on the Queensland Bag Ban.

Minimising waste

Waste minimisation is a sustainable practice that all residents of Cook Shire can assist with that will make a difference to the management of natural resources in our region.

Simple principles of waste minimisation are: Avoid, Reuse, Recycle.  These can be achieved by:

  • Joining the compost revolution and recycle your food waste
  • Learn how to make mulch for your garden
  • Learn about safe green cleaning methods
  • Purchase a council worm farm
  • Recycle
  • Say no to plastic bags

Read more about our waste and recycling services.

Sustainable water

Establishing permanent water conservation measures promotes responsible and efficient use of town water and can result in considerable water savings for all.

Sustainable water practices include:

Check your meter

  • Ensure you are not wasting water and being overcharged because of a leak. Turn off your meter, note the reading, leave it off for 10 minutes and return to check if the number is still the same. Council has a fact sheet about checking water meters.

In the kitchen

  • Look for dishwashers that have a WELS Label. The best water rating achieved by dishwashers is 6 stars.
  • Only use the dishwasher when you have a full load.
  • Use the rinse-hold setting on the dishwasher, if it has one, rather than rinsing dishes under the tap.
  • Catch running water whilst waiting for it to warm up. Use it to water plants, rinse dishes, or wash fruit and vegetables.

In the laundry

  • Look for washing machines that have a four or more star rating (WELS label).
  • Adjust the water level to suit the size of the wash load.
  • Wash with a full load and you will save 10 litres of water each wash.

In the bathroom

  • Replace shower head with one designed for saving water.
  • Take shorter showers. Limit time spent in the shower to soap up, wash down, and rinse off. Shorter showers save on energy costs associated with heating water.
  • Use a shower timer and try to stick to four (4) minutes.
  • Use a bucket to collect water while waiting for the shower to get hot.
  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Wet your brush and use a glass for rinsing.
  • Don’t rinse your razor under a running tap. Filling the basin with a little warm water is just as effective and less wasteful.

In the garden

  • Water only in the cool of the day when the plants will receive the most benefit from the water before it evaporates.
  • Consider grouping plants that require more intensive watering together so you do not have to water such a large area.

Leaking taps can usually be fixed with a new washer, this is easy to do. Just remember to turn the water off at the mains before you start.

Sustainable gardens

The Healthy Communities Initiative was a collaborative project between Cook Shire Council and Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, that ended in June 2013.

One of the successful outcomes from this project was the creation of the No-Mower Food Growers Guide - a handbook for growing sustainable, low maintenance gardens in the wet-dry tropics.

The handbook is available from libraries, community centres and other locations around Cooktown and surrounding communities. You can also download a copy of The No-Mower Food Grower's Guide.

A supplement to the guide is the Soils of Cooktown, published by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

Persons wishing to submit feedback or contribute information on food plants and plants providing ecological functions, please contact author .

Council also offers heavily discounted worm farms and compost bins, and recycled green waste compost and mulch. Read more about our waste and recycling services.

ABN: 45 425 085 688

10 Furneaux Street Cooktown, Qld 4895

Mail: PO Box 3 Cooktown, Qld 4895

Email: mail@cook.qld.gov.au

Phone: (07) 4082 0500

Fax: (07) 4082 0588

Hours: 8.45am-4.45pm Monday to Friday