Infinity Awards 2018 - Winners Stories

The winners of the 2018 Infinity Awards

WA Waste Award - Kelly Howlett

Former Port Hedland mayor and founder of Care for Hedland Environmental Association, Kelly Howlett is a driving force in promoting a litter-free community—promoting a hands-on approach to tackling waste, encouraging recycling and sustainability and helping others to reduce and reuse.

Kelly has spent countless hours leading litter-picks on local streets, roadsides, beaches and assisting with monthly recycle day collections. She has earnt numerous accolades, including several waste management, Tidy Towns and environmental awards for her 15 years of dedicated and energetic volunteer work. Kelly is well known for encouraging the community to take an active interest in waste management.

Waste Initiative of the Year & Waste Team of the Year - Workpower Balcatta Re-use Shop

Workpower is an organisation providing opportunities for people of all abilities. In 2016, in conjunction with the City of Stirling, Workpower took over the operation of Balcatta Recycling Centre Re-use Shop and set about overhauling how the facility was operated. Workpower’s objectives were to increase diversion of waste from landfill and enhance the city’s social employment levels.

Two years on, the shop turns trash to treasure, diverting almost 5,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year. Around half the facility’s workforce has a disability, demonstrating the value of an integrated, self-sustaining social enterprise.

Avoid Recover Protect - Community Waste Award - Plastic Free July Foundation

WINNER: Plastic Free July Foundation

Working in partnership with councils, schools, businesses and individuals, the Plastic Free July initiative aims to reduce single-use plastics in Western Australia and beyond. From an initial group of just 40 volunteers, this annual campaign has grown to become a global movement of more than 3.4 million in just eight years. In that time, Plastic Free July has inspired 90 per cent of participants to make positive, life-long changes in their attitude towards plastic waste.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Total Green Recycling

For the past ten years, Total Green Recycling has taken a lead role in driving innovative and efficient solutions to e-waste, recycling more than 14,000 tonnes of electronics from their Kewdale plant. The company is able to process three tonnes of waste every hour and simultaneously operates an IT asset recovery operation, enabling more than 2,000 devices to be refurbished and reused, each month.

COMMENDED: City of Cockburn

The City of Cockburn’s Waste Education Unit has successfully achieved a 2kg waste reduction per household and a five per cent increase in resource recovery across its 110,000 residents, businesses, schools and community groups. The authority uses a wide range of initiatives to raise awareness and change attitudes to waste, including school educational programmes, sustainable living workshops, a subsidy programme and community events, along with providing online resources and an educational media programme.

Avoid Recover and Protect – Commercial and Industrial Waste Management Award - New Normal Bar + Kitchen

WINNER: New Normal Bar + Kitchen Subiaco restaurant

New Normal Bar + Kitchen is at the cutting edge of environmental sustainability within WA’s hospitality sector. Driven by co-founder Darryl Naidu, New Normal has embraced new and emerging technology to efficiently manage and track resource usage and waste production to minimise the impact on the environment. This includes the first commercial application of an entirely WiFi controlled LED lighting and energy tracking system, eliminating all ‘single-use’ plastics from the kitchen and delivering 100 per cent of the restaurant’s organic waste back into the nutrient cycle.


Crown Perth boasts one of the largest recycling systems in Australia and is able to process 20 separate waste streams—from playing cards to used hotel soap and mattresses. Through its Recycle90 programme, the hotel is on track to recycle 90 per cent of the waste generated by its Perth operation by 2020, diverting 77 per cent in 2017/18 alone. The initiative is driven by efficiency, shifting from multiple waste collection contractors to just one provider working from a centralised waste collection site to allow greater control over its waste management and more accurate reporting.

COMMENDED: Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital’s operating theatre suite performs up to 700 surgical procedures a month with significant anaesthetic and surgical waste generated from each procedure. The hospital set up a ‘Green Team’ to consider potential solutions for managing this waste safely and efficiently. Sustainable recycling initiatives in operating theatres include operating room plastics, instrument tray wrap, batteries, single use ‘scrub suits’ and a dedicated cytotoxic waste trolley. There has been a clear reduction in clinical waste and increased recycling activity across the hospital, particularly in theatres where much of the single use disposable items are now diverted from landfill.

2018 Waste Champion - Joanne Bumbak

WINNER: Joanne Bumbak

After seeing up to 60 per cent of all fresh grown produce go to waste in Carnarvon’s horticultural district, Jo Bumbak decided to take action. Working with local growers, Jo rescued fruit and vegetables deemed too unappealing for sale in supermarkets—using produce which would have otherwise been dumped and left to rot. Bumbak’s Preserves and Ice Creams has bought 36 tonnes of fresh mango, banana, tomato, chilli and capsicum, turning it into award winning products for sale. Jo has capitalised on growing consumer concern about where food comes from, winning a gold award at the Perth Royal Agricultural Show and providing support for Carnarvon farmers.


Pam Van Effrink is the caretaker of a 76-unit apartment complex in West Perth. She has created a sustainability programme to improve the waste disposal habits of residents. Pam tackled pre-existing problems at the complex, including overflowing landfill bins and contaminated recycling as well as addressing isolated incidents of careless waste disposal, such as on tenant move-out days. Pam set out to demonstrate the benefits of positive recycling to tenants, setting up a community garden with shared compost bins, worm farms and chickens. A ‘share zone’ for working but unwanted goods was established and unclaimed items—such as bicycles—were donated to local charities. As a consequence, Pam has improved waste practices at her complex—decreasing waste sent to landfill by 50 per cent.

COMMENDED: Lindsay Miles

Independent blogger, campaigner and advocate, Lindsay Miles’ website Treading My Own Path attracts up to 90,000 readers a month. Her combination of lifestyle tips and free online resources has attracted almost 50,000 followers. Lindsay also provides workshops for businesses and local government bodies and is an in-demand spokesperson for waste reduction having appeared on BBC News, The Guardian, Perth Now, ABC and Channel 9. She has also set up a growing community composting hub in her local suburb and is a board member for the Plastic Free July initiative.

2018 Young Waste Achiever - Sacha Winter

WINNER: Sacha Winter

In her role as Environmental Captain at Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Year 12 student Sacha Winter has taken a lead in implementing a number of sustainable initiatives to reduce the amount of waste produced by her school. Sacha organised a school-wide waste audit and coordinated the introduction of paper recycling and a central recycling centre for frequently wasted items, such as pens and batteries. Working with the school catering provider, she helped the school move to more sustainable BioPak packaging and reusable cups for the school café.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Nina Prado and Amelie Harrison

Perth College Junior School students, Nina Prado and Amelie Harrison, have created a unique solution to engaging primary age students in recycling and tackling waste. The eight-year-olds created a device which rewards their classmates for recycling and actively encourages students to divert recyclable materials from landfill. The ‘Swap Machine’ uses an iPad, two scanners and a motion detector within a Lego Frame. The invention identifies a recyclable item—including paper, HDPE plastics, PET plastics, cans and glass—using barcodes, before applying credit to the student’s canteen card.

Waste Team of the Year

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Wasteless Pantry

Wasteless Pantry has a zero waste philosophy at the heart of its business model. Providing local and sustainable bulk groceries to customers, without single-use packaging, Wasteless Pantry makes low waste shopping accessible, enjoyable and mainstream. This successful model has grown from a single store in Mundaring to two new stores in Bassendean and Greenwood—in just three years. Wasteless Pantry has also inspired other stores to work within a similar framework—taking a holistic approach to considerations on landfill waste generation, food miles, agricultural land use and ethical sourcing of goods. Wasteless Pantry founders have become sought after commentators and educators on waste reduction and their work has attracted thousands of fans through social media channels.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: City of Cockburn Waste Team

The City of Cockburn Waste Team manages and operates Henderson Waste Recovery Park—a transfer station, landfill and methane recovery plant. It also acts as a hazardous household waste drop-off point and TechCollect e-waste recycling point. The 39,000 serviced households are each provided with six trailer passes per year and are able to take advantage of the ‘Reuse Shop’, which aims to divert reusable material away from landfill. By engaging with the community—including educational tours of sites, personalised feedback on bin usage, education packs and information stands at local retail centres—Cockburn has reduced waste tonnage by 3.7 per cent, recovered 155 tonnes of verge side collections and distributed 1,850 tonnes of free garden mulch to the community.

Waste Innovation of the Year - Mindarie Regional Council

WINNER: Mindarie Regional Council – Face Your Waste

Mindarie Regional Council’s (MRC) created the Face Your Waste campaign—that included the creation of 20 transparent kerbside bins so residents could literally face the scale of their household waste and be inspired to improve their waste disposal habits. The bins were used for promotional purposes and appeared in communities across Mindarie and wider Western Australia. This innovative approach generated a high level of interest from residents and the media. Advertising, social media, print and broadcast media campaigns reached more than two million people, including international audiences.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: City of Joondalup – Ocean Reef Fish Cleaning Station

Joondalup’s Ocean Reef Harbour provides the local community with boat launching facilities and spots for fishing. The City of Joondalup identified the need for a fish cleaning station in order to prevent organic waste from cleaning and gutting being dumped into general waste bins or directly into the ocean. The new facility—comprising motion detecting lights, a prefabricated fish cleaning station, a shade structure, seating and a storage tank for waste—is regularly emptied by the council and its contents used to make fertiliser. 

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Spider Waste Collection Services

Rob Santoro owns and operates small Western Australian family-owned business Spider Waste Collection Services. The company—with five employees—recovers, processes and recycles used mattresses on behalf of the Town of Victoria Park. Since 2015 Spider Waste, has diverted 3,309 mattresses from landfill—the equivalent of 132,360 kilograms which contributes to meeting Victoria Park’s waste minimisation targets. The recycling process involves separating each mattress into its component parts, including foam, springs, wood and fabric to be processed separately. Recently Spider Waste has begun a new initiative—facilitating the collection and sanitisation of the good quality used mattresses for communities in need.

Waste Wise School of the Year - Hillcrest Primary School Bayswater

WINNER: Hillcrest Primary School Bayswater’s

Hillcrest Primary School is a great example of a Waste Wise School. In 2017, the school set up its ‘Eco Canteen’ with all food waste being turned into compost—at least 5kg every day. The school has been able to cancel two large skip bins, saving $2,000 a year. The school shares its composting experience, providing workshops for the local community. Single-use cutlery and cups were banned and re-usable or bio-degradable alternatives are provided to students. The school has organised educational visits to local landfill sites, introduced recycling across the school and organised student teams to help keep areas free of plastic litter. Students are hands-on, taking responsibility for council bin collections, sorting waste and organising classroom recycling.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Lynwood Senior High School

Lynwood Primary School has a long established reputation as a leader in projects and programs which encourage students to tackle waste at home, at school and in the community. This culminated in 2016 with the appointment of a sustainability programme coordinator to improve the school’s environmental practices. Students recycle a wide range of items, from coffee pods to mobile phones and toothbrushes. Food waste from the canteen is taken for chicken food and staffroom food waste is used in the school’s worm farm. Between 2016 and 2018, the school recycled more than 53,000 coffee pods—in 2017 the school recycled 22,760 pods—more than any other school or business in Australia.


Santa Maria College, an all-girls 5-11 school in Attadale, is working hard to improve its environmental impact. Led and coordinated by the Eco Sisters co-curricular group, the school now boasts the Plastic Free Café, which has saved approximately 120,000 pieces of plastic from landfill. The school has set up facilities for recycling plastics, batteries and disposable coffee cups. Students have also learned how to cut down on e-waste—stripping down old computers and turning their components into art work and jewellery. The school has taken its environmental initiatives into its yearly fundraising Mercy Day, selling college branded keep-cups, bamboo toothbrushes, metal straws and wax alternatives to plastic wrap.

Media Award - Lisa Morrison

WINNER: Lisa Morrison – Regional West Australians Wage War on Waste

Australians wage war on waste—Lisa’s series of reports published over a six-month period, localised the popular national War on Waste campaign for her Great Southern audience. Her reports, showcasing lifestyle and community change in waste management practices were designed to inspire others to avoid, protect and recover for the good of the entire community. They were well researched, well written and used a good mix of news platforms to inspire change at an individual, school and community level.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Emma Young – Behind the Plastic Bags Ban (body of work)

Emma took readers ‘behind the plastic bags ban’ with a series of cleverly constructed pieces, written from a personal viewpoint with a generous dose of humour. It was innovative, interesting and inspiring—taking a policy initiative and translating it into an irresistible read for a broad audience.

Created Date:
Mon 4 November 2019

Last Edit Date:
Mon 9 November 2020