Winners stories 2017

Category winners and highly commended nominees honoured for their work in reducing waste and increasing recycling.

Category winners and highly commended nominees were announced at a Waste Authority breakfast function at the Waste and Recycle Conference 2017.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson and Chairman Marcus Geisler presented the awards which featured a natural wood trophy sculpture, made from recycled jarrah off-cuts by a gallery in Margaret River.
Click the speaker icon to hear a brief interview with each category winner.

Category Award Summary

Community

Winner

Northern Agricultural Catchments Council

Six years of data showed that 87 per cent of beach rubbish was plastic. A community workshop to reduce rubbish on Geraldton beaches resulted in the 'Skip the Plastic' project which aims to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill and ending up in the marine environment.

'Keep plastic off your plate' educates the community about the rubbish chain - plastic in the ocean is eaten by fish, which we then eat.

Marine debris art workshops encouraged positive attitudes to collecting and recycling rubbish. New public plastic recycling bins were installed around the city to divert approximately one tonne of plastic from landfill every month.

The project also inspired the start up of the Geraldton Boomerang bags community group and the local government's support of a ban on plastic bags.

Waste Wise Schools

Winner

Esperance Farm Training Centre

A brainstorming process identified wastage of wooden pallets around town. Re-use of this resource allowed the students to be part of the Festival of the Wind, which had a theme of sustainability.

Working with a local soil producer students decided to repurpose the pallets by building recycled planter boxes. The project produced a new challenge - how to disassemble the pallets without damaging the wood?

The solution - students designed their own 'pallet busters' using recycled materials. The highly successful project resulted in all 60 planter boxes being purchased within 30 minutes.

Highly Commended

Walpole Primary

A waste audit provided by Waste Wise Schools in 2016 highlighted the problem - too much food wasted.

Students' food waste behaviour improved immediately after the school swapped eating and play time at the lunch break, making it later in the day.

Now hungry students eat all their food and there is very little in the way of food waste.

Chickens, worms and composters convert the remaining food.

Highly Commended

Mount Manypeaks Primary

For a small school east of Albany with 28 students, they are highly committed to sustainability. Over three years the school reduced landfill waste by 80 per cent.

Before the project, the school made two trips a week to landfill, disposing of about 720 litres of rubbish each time. Now it's just one trip a week with around 240 litres to landfill.

The school introduced Trash free Tuesdays awarding points to students for low waste outcomes. This serves as role model for others in Sustainable Schools WA.

Currently 75 per cent of recyclables are being placed in the correct bins.

Highly Commended

Clarkson Primary

The students in the Green Team are supported by parents in the EcoTeam, The school identified large amounts of food waste going to landfill from kindergarten and pre-primary.

100 per cent of food scraps were diverted from landfill by
pre-primary classes through a combination of source separation and worm farms.

There is a new vegetable garden in the pre-primary area and plans for a larger worm farm for the rest of the school.
75 per cent of recyclables are being placed in the correct bins and the school has diverted 360 litres of soft plastic from landfill.

The project has improved relationships between senior and junior school students and the City of Wanneroo.

Business

Winner

Soft Landing WA

A not-for-profit enterprise that collects and recycles end-of-life mattresses which are a problematic waste stream. The company  has recycled 50 thousand mattresses since 2016; including 600 tonnes of steel, 135 tonnes of foam and 295 tonnes of wood.

This has saved 35 thousand cubic metres of landfill space.

A total of 15 full time jobs have been created including three people with a disability and three previously long term unemployed.

Soft Landing has partnered with the bedding industry to set up a voluntary product stewardship scheme for mattresses.

Local Government

Winner

City of Stirling

The City is the largest local government by population and faces many waste management challenges. It overhauled its tip shop operations in 2016 resulting in major improvements in reuse of goods (66 per cent increase).

A disability services provider won the contract to manage the operation through an expression of interest process and now 10 people with disabilities are employed.

The new centre incorporates a coffee shop and a revamped design that provides safe delivery of goods and browsing by shoppers.

Polystyrene has been added to acceptable materials and clothing bins are now positioned before the weighbridge for free drop off.

State Government

Winner

WA Police

Previously a winner in 2014, the department has continued to deliver initiatives to extend and expand its waste reduction impact.

Ongoing projects include coffee recycling (cups and grounds); food waste from onsite cafes, battery recycling and the elimination of paper hand towels in toilets.

This year's projects include the recycling of breathalyser straws and repurposing of old uniforms. To that end 2,700 kilograms of high quality plastic from 668,000 breathalyser straws were recycled in 2016-17.

Identification is now removed from uniforms so they can be made into a wide range of usable items, including quilts.

WA Police has developed positive partnerships with not-for-profit organisations and Aboriginal owned businesses, adding further value to the community.

Waste Champion

Winner

The Wasteless Pantry

In 2015 Wasteless Pantry won an excellence award from Mundaring Chamber of Commerce only months after opening.

The owners were inspired to act by Plastic Free July and encouraged by a book advocating zero waste. They had also faced the problem of commuting to multiple shops to buy their own low waste groceries.

Wasteless Pantry offers bulk groceries, pantry and laundry items which fits the motto 'just what you need'.

The store serves over 400 customers a month yet produces only 2.7kg of waste, 100 per cent of which is recycled.

It also acts as drop-off point for difficult to recycle items.