Category winners of the Infinity Awards for 2015
With 20 finalists vying for the awards, it was a night of bellowing lions competing with presentations by the Minister for Environment, the Hon Albert Jacob and the award winners at the Perth Zoo on 6 November. For each of the six categories the outright winner was interviewed briefly and that audio accompanies the snapshot about their project. The venue this year was the garden marquee at the zoo and it provided an interesting space to highlight the amazing work being undertaken across Western Australia by a range of organisations and individuals.
"We congratulate all the finalists and the award recipients - your work is truly inspirational", Marcus Geisler, Chairman.
Waste Wise Schools category winner - Hilton Primary
A small school that punches way above its weight, with a Sustainability Action Plan that maintains focus on activities across the board. From recycling batteries/paper and toothbrushes to running waste free market stalls, committing to Plastic Free July and cracking the whip on litter with their Rubbish Rangers, this Waste Wise School integrates waste education into the classroom.
Their own worm farms live on food scraps as do their chooks and the canteen uses ceramic bowls. They even make their own bees wax lunch wrappers and more than half the students have 100% waste free lunchboxes.
[L-R Tamara Travia, Freda Rule, Principal Julie Harrison, Moana Tutuki, Amy Warne]
Business category winner - Gateway WA
One of the biggest road construction projects in WA, the Gateway WA Perth Airport and Freight Access Project used approximately 5.9 million tonnes of earthworks and pavement. By reducing the amount of material being sent to landfill, reusing material from other projects and recycling material such as soil this demonstrates just what can be achieved when waste minimisation and resource recovery thinking is applied.
Over 1 million tonnes of recycled material was used and 1.8 million tonnes re-purposed from cut-waste. As the first first construction project in Western Australia to be approved a licence to carry out the treatment of acid sulphate soil and degraded soil material within its project boundaries, this saved on costs and transport allowing re-use of material on site.
[L - R Brook Larance, Tim Orpen, Adrian White, Rachel Champion]
Local Government category winner - City of Karratha
Waste management issues are many and challenging in a remote community - but when your own residents demand better facilities you'd better create something special. In the case of Karratha, extending the life of their landfill by reducing waste that can be easily recycled and re-used was paramount.
With a new transfer station, tip shop and enthusiastic partnerships, they completely overhauled their practices and are striving towards meeting the diversion targets in the State Waste Strategy.
[Steve Wacher, Manager Waste Services]
Community category winner - Food Rescue, UnitingCare West
Food waste is a major problem worldwide. Because it is often perishable, there are many challenges to preventing unsold/unused food being binned. Food Rescue came up with the idea of “Cargo Carts” – a mobile collection system for inner city cafes that provides a solution to food waste and re-directs it to those in need. Bringing 30 CBD cafes and Perth’s corporate community together has proved to be a winning combination.
Each week day afternoon Food Rescue volunteers collect two cargo carts from the basement of the ENEX100 building and push the carts around the CBD to gather surplus fresh sandwiches, wraps and rolls (that would otherwise be discarded). The fresh food is then collected by a Food Rescue van and immediately delivered to a number of charitable organisations which provide a daily meal for those experiencing homelessness.
[L-R Lyndon Nilsson and Julie Broad framing our Chairman]
State Government agency category winner - Fremantle Ports
With three separate sites, different waste streams and associated operations, confusion about what applied and where was hindering Fremantle Ports’ waste management. The organisation set out to develop a consistent approach involving staff, volunteers and tenants.
With a complete review of all waste streams and consultation at every step, it developed a comprehensive guide that consolidated the information for all users. In addition benchmarking and targets were established for waste reduction with key performance indicators now in place to track performance.
Many tenants have now installed recycling systems in their own operations and timed their collections to match the port collection intervals, saving money along the way. With a fresh new look at waste management, the port staff have developed new ways of reusing items such as logs and rubber fenders – now making their way to schools for playground duties. Even sawdust is now donated to worm farms in community gardens. Other organisations are learning from Fremantle Ports experience with Ports Australia and the Kwinana Industries Council receiving presentations on what has been achieved.
[L-R Marco Pasalich, Rebecca James and Adam Van der Beer]
Waste Champion category winner - Rebecca Prince-Ruiz
To win this category a person or organisation must have shown they are committed to waste reduction over the long haul and have a number of achievements under their belt. Beginning as a Coordinator of Earth Carers, a group run out of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council, where she still works part-time, Rebecca has developed innovative and successful campaigns that have extended way beyond her local area including “Plastic Free July” and “Bring One, Get One Tree”.
“Plastic Free July” is now a global phenomenon and involves some 90 countries. And its growth has been exponential. “Bring One, Get One Tree” is also expanding to other states and now New Zealand. Her creative approach to highlighting major waste issues has proved that strong determination and clever engagement strategies can energise people to change.
It is her ability to bring people together and inspire them through her personal experience and leadership that makes her a worthy recipient of this award. Taking an active part in research means she brings significant data analysis and scientific rigour to providing information that informs and encourages lifestyle change.