For each of the six categories, there was a winner and in most cases two highly commended awards. These were drawn from a field of 22 finalists and all nominations received were of a high standard and reflected the good work being done by a range of people across multiple communities of interest.
These stories below from the six category winners will inspire you. Where you see the speaker icon, click to hear their brief chat when accepting their award.
Waste Wise Schools category - Coolbinia Primary School
The whole school is heavily committed to sustainability - recycling 8 tonnes of their solid waste last year and taking an integrated approach to waste minimisation and education.
In 2008, the school community committed to becoming a ‘carbon positive’ school. Then in 2011, they adopted a "10 Tonne Plan" which has grown to the "100 Tonne Plan" today.
Just some of their "waste wise" actions included:
- recycling lawn clippings, batteries, mobile phones, ink cartridges and paper/cardboard
- worm farming, composting and reduction in materials used (such as the reduction in paper use due to school communication being conducted by email and through the website).
These and other environmentally friendly actions enabled the achievement of the previous "50 Tonne Plan" and the commencement of their new 100 tonne target for 2013-2014.
New partnerships were fostered to enhance waste management strategies such as Sir David Brand School for recycling paper/cardboard; the Australian Association for Environmental Education-WA to trial the Eastern States early childhood waste education program, Little Green Steps, in WA and also with ReMida to produce school resources and artworks from recycled industrial waste.
Students, staff and parents are members of the sustainability committee, called the Cool School Adventurers. A major focus of this committee is promoting wastewise behaviours. Students meet weekly and collect litter from the school grounds during every meeting and plan/implement wastewise events eg Can Crusher Kids assembly skit, Nude Food Days and Clean Up 2013 activities
Also, funds raised from recycling aluminium cans, batteries and mobile phones were used to replace polluting kerosene lanterns with solar lanterns at our Solar Sister school in Uganda.
Innovative strategies were adopted, like creating sand art on recycled paving bricks so garden beds were wheelchair friendly, and recycling art materials from ReMida to make classroom learning resources and to enhance public garden signage.
Cordia Johnson from Chevron with Elaine Lewis, Cross Curriculum Coach.
Community category - UnitingCare West - Food Rescue
Ramping up their efforts in the last 12 months has earned Food Rescue the coveted category winner award. And food needs rescuing! Fresh, perishable food is distributed safely to people in need from a network of agencies that support women and youth in crisis, the homeless, Indigenous Australians and new arrivals.
The rescued food is collected by a fleet of 3 donated, refrigerated vans, from supermarkets, cafes, caterers wholesalers and growers. It is then weighed, sorted and quality checked by volunteers at the warehouse before being repacked into recycled boxes and delivered to participating recipient agencies.
Currently they have 35 agencies that convert the food into meals, and Food Rescue's move to using recycled boxes has enhanced their waste reduction credentials. This year they passed a major milestone of 300,000 kilograms of food saved since December 2011.
In terms of building new partnerships this year they also began their school sorting program where twice weekly, unsorted fruit and vegetable produce is delivered to the school for a team of 20 Year 10 students weigh and record the food, quality check and sort the produce for distribution the next day.
They also weigh and record their waste as a result of the quality checking process. Food Rescue is particularly passionate about engaging youth in the issue of food waste.
For more information about Food Rescue or to get involved, see their website.
Samantha Soley accepts her cheque and certificate from Nathan Morton, MLA, Member for Forrestfield
Business category - St John of God Healthcare
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a hospital problem which causes more deaths each year than bowel and breast cancer and road traffic accidents. DVT patients are treated using an inflatable sleeve which has until now been a one-use throw away item, ending up in landfill. Working with Claveguard the hospital staff knew there had to be a better way and have developed a re-useable sleeve that can be be reconditioned and its life extended. Given the sheer number of these sleeves in use, this has a major impact on landfill.
The new sleeves are also biodegradeable further improving their environmental impacts. This extension of life multiplied by the volume of sleeves makes for a powerful impact and helps reduce waste by a factor of 8:1.
In terms of sheer numbers, the amount is impressive, with nearly 22,000 reprocessed in the last financial year and reducing the medical waste stream by 6.5 tonnes.
Accepting the award left of Nathan Morton is Aaron Krauth and on the right, Shellee Chapman
State Government category - Polytechnic West
The Waste Not! Want Not! program provides a basis for continual improvement in resource management across its training facilities and is part of Polytechnic West’s Sustainability Strategy. It incorporates responsible guidelines for appropriate recycling and disposal of spent resources from both training delivery and facility operations. The program will assist with reducing their carbon footprint and supports the outcomes of the Waste Strategy.
The implementation of good resource/waste management plans has provided an opportunity to demonstrate sustainable business practices, and demonstrate to clients, staff and industry that the organisation is progressive and socially responsible.
To achieve these outcomes it has taken an holistic approach to waste reduction throughout operations and training delivery including:
- Consultation with staff and contractors
- Provision of staff development aimed at building understanding of the waste hierarchy and the capacity to deliver and assess sustainability skills in training delivery
- Facilitation of specialised recycling capability within training delivery workshops
- Implementation of the updated Common Use Arrangement into Polytechnic West in 2010 and 2011 which lead to a reduction in actual expenditure on the disposal of spent resources.
Overall savings of $67,000 have been achieved from 2010 to 2012 which equates to approximately 20% of total disposal costs.
Lorraine Stivey and Rob Berryman accepting their award and cheque from Nathan Morton
Local Government category - Western Metropolitan Regional Council
Plastic Free July began in 2011. The challenge has now grown to a worldwide campaign with thousands of individuals as well as schools, councils, businesses and community groups taking part. Plastic Free July challenges people to refuse single-use disposable plastic during July. Participants can choose to do the challenge for either a day, a week or a month. In 2013 to make the challenge accessible to more people they introduced the Top 4 option. This challenge asks people to refuse plastic bags, plastic water bottles, plastic straws and disposable beverage cups.
Plastic Free July not only reduces the net amount of plastic being consumed, it also raises awareness of the issue. It allows participants to discover how easy it is to say no to unnecessary plastic via events and online forums. Amy Warne, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and Gabrielle Grime share winning smiles.
Waste Champion category - Winner - Alan Grist, Main Roads WA
With over 40 years in road landscaping and rehabilitation his experience and ability to drive initiatives has led to changed practices, and to recycling and market development for waste organic materials in road maintenance and construction projects. Through Alan’s initiatives, Main Roads Construction and Landscape Specifications were amended to incorporate the recycling of waste materials, and use of compost in roadside rehabilitation.
These changes have led to market development for composted products in roadside rehabilitation particularly compost derived from municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in large volumes but with limited market outlets. 35,000 m3 of topsoil was manufactured for the Forrest Highway through composting degraded topsoil, green waste and imported MSW compost. Alan has implemented his approach to topsoil management on other projects and is now in discussion with C-Wise regarding the biggest road infrastructure project to be undertaken by Main Roads, the Perth Gateway Project.
C-Wise actively use the success of the Forrest Highway landscaping to provide confidence to other markets about this approach and particularly the use of MSW compost.
Nathan Morton presents Alan Grist with his well deserved win.