Sustainable Council

Climate action

Climate Change Policy

We adopted the Cessnock Climate Change Policy in May 2020. The Policy makes clear our position on climate change and outlines a number of commitments, including our commitment to achieve Net Zero corporate emissions by 2050.

Development of a Climate Action Plan which will set out our actions for achieving emission reduction targets and for mitigation and adapting to the effects of climate change is underway.

Cities Power Partnership

We've joined the Cities Power Partnership and made the following pledges:

  • install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on our buildings
  • support cycling through provision of adequate cycle lanes, bike parking and end-of-ride facilities
  • actively participate in the development of a regional electric vehicle strategy
  • open unused Council managed land for renewable energy
  • roll out energy efficient lighting across the municipality

The Cities Power Partnership is a coalition of councils from across Australia working together to reduce their emissions. For more information visit Cities Power Partnership.


Reducing our emissions

Our Energy Efficiency Program commenced 2017 with the aim to reduce electricity consumption in our nine largest consuming sites. These are responsible for 35% of Councils total consumption. Check out some of the progress we've made to reduce our emissions.


We’ve removed old fluorescent lighting replacing it with LED lights in our Administration Building, Works Depot, Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Cessnock Library, Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre and the Cessnock Airport.   The retrofit lighting cost a total of $134,083 but within two and a half years we've recovered this cost through electricity savings.  All savings made are reinvested into Energy Efficiency Program. 

Solar panels

We've got nine facilities with solar panels. These include:

  • Works Depot - 20kW
  • Cessnock Waste Management Centre - 25kW 
  • Branxton Community Hall - 11 kW
  • North End Hall - 6kW
  • Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre - 26.62kW
  • Cessnock Library - 29.52 kw
  • Administration Building  - 97.58kW
  • Cessnock Pool - 29.52kW
  • Branxton Pool - 15kW 


Streetlighting accounts for 51% of Council’s total electricity consumption. The Streetlighting Replacement Program, saw over 2,000 old inefficient streetlights replaced with LED lights on residential roads.

Over the last three years we've decreased electricity usage by 23%. This drop in consumption includes the continual growth in additional streetlights for new subdivisions.  


Waste management and resource recovery

Our Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2020-25 aligns with the NSW and Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Targets for municipal waste. The shared targets are: 

  • Reduce total waste generated by 10% per person by 2030
  • Have an 80% average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030
  • Significantly increase the use of recycled content by governments and industry
  • Halve the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030

Find out what we've been doing to achieve these targets.

Landfill diversion

We're working hard to divert waste from our landfill. We want to share some of our communities achievements from 2021-22:

  • 40% diversion of waste from kerbside collection. On average each house collected 13.9kg of waste per week, 5.8kg of recycling per fortnight and 14kg of garden organics per fortnight
  • 28% diversion from landfill at Cessnock Waste Management Centre and in the last year the Centre separated and recycled:
    • 167 tonnesrecycling (cardboard, plastic and glass)
    • 64 tonnes electronic waste
    • 1,611 tonnes metal
    • 1,686 mattresses
    • 98 tonnes of problem waste
    • 20 tonnes of tyres
    • 1,345 tonnes garden organics
  • free drop-off events saw an additional 2,263 mattresses and 6.7 tonnes of problem waste diverted from landfill and sent for recycling

Let's keep up the good work Cessnock!

Our Garden Organics Program

The garden organics service is contracted to Solo Resource Recovery and Australian Native Landscapes. The material collected in your garden organics bin is processed at Tea Gardens, where it's made into a high quality compost for use by home gardeners and farmers.

Since the introduction of the service we've been able to share the compost in our community in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Garden makeover for Millfield Public School
  • Garden makeover for Natural Steps Preschool
  • compost giveaways with 21 events over the last five years providing a total of 2,800 bags of compost
  • compost to help Mulbring Landcare and Kurri Kurri Community gardens flourish
  • compost to use on local sports fields as top dressing including at Basin, Mount View (Cessnock Minor Rugby League no. 3 training field), Turner Park, Cessnock (Hornets Soccer main ground) and Charmichael Park, Bellbird.

Exciting data we wanted to share:

  • 32,064 tonnes (March 2017- June 2022) has been collected since commencing the kerbside collection of garden organics
  • 5,912 tonnes ( July 2017 – June 2022) received at Cessnock Waste Management Centre has been diverted from landfill and reprocessed
  • 20% reduction in landfill greenhouse gas emissions (from 2009 to 2019) attributed to flaring of methane on site, diversion of garden waste from landfill and reduction in overall quantities of material landfilled.

Our move to Food and Garden Organics (FOGO)

Food and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection will start in late June 2025. Recent waste bin audits show that food waste makes up 26% of bin contents (measured by weight). This is an average of 3.4kg per bin, per week.

After one year, this amounts to an estimated 4,100 tonnes of food going to landfill with the potential to produce 8,610 tonnes of greenhouse gases. We can't wait to roll out this service that will help us divert more waste from landfill. 



Community education - sustainability and biodiversity

In our schools

Our  School Programs section offers programs such as:

  • Our School Environment Grants offering preschools $200 each and primary/high schools $500 each. These open in February every year.
  • Compost and plant giveaways.
  • Talks and support on request.


Our Bushland Campaign

The Our Bushland campaign has been developed to raise awareness about local bushland and its importance to local species. We're sharing a series of videos celebrating our local bushland. View them here. 

Community biodiversity walks led by trained ecologists sharing their knowledge about local bushland and the animals that call it home are held in autum and spring. Keep an eye on our events page or subscribe to the monthly Waste & Environment Newsletter for advance notice of upcoming events.


Sustainability talks and workshops

 Sustainability talks and workshops covering topics about avoiding food waste, rethinking your wardrobe, recycling and native wildlife in your backyard are held throughout the year. 

Keep an eye on our events page for upcoming events or subscribe to the monthly Waste & Environment Newsletter for advance notice.

Green Caffeen

Scan, swap, drink, return. Green Caffeen is a FREE reusable coffee cup system for eco-focused cafes and coffee lovers across Australia. Cafes love it, coffee drinkers dig it and the planet high fives you for it.

Seven local businesses registered in the Cessnock Local Government Area.