Woolworths working with start-up to tackle food waste

Woolworths is working with independent start-up Escavox, a business tasked with extending the shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetables in retail outlets by tracking and monitoring produce from the farm to the supermarket, according to an Australian Financial Review report.

Escavox was started last year with a plan to track each pallet of fruit and vegetables and measure temperature, time and location.

John Dahlsen, former chairman of Woolworths has joined the start-up led by CEO Luke Wood.

Temperature controls and specialised packaging are common measures to prevent product losses in the supply chain.

According to Escavox’s website, production and supply chain data needs to be automatically collected and impartially managed if it is to be trusted and acted on.

It points out that siloed operators, inconsistent visibility in each leg of the chain, limited incentives to collaborate and multiple points of handover has led to no aggregated data and no person or party able to see or understand the complete supply chain.

This makes it difficulty to assign product accountability and prevent liability from those who own the product even if that cause is not within their control.

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Entries open for Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards

The Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards is now open for entries and features a new category to celebrate outstanding contributions made by volunteers.

The new environmental volunteering category will recognise the impact made by thousands of dedicated individuals and groups who give their time to sustainability projects and environmental protection.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said as the most prestigious program of their kind in Victoria, the awards are a terrific showcase of leading edge sustainability practices.

“Through these awards we proudly showcase the businesses, government, schools, institutions and community groups that are leading the way helping to stop the effects of climate change, developing more integrated circular economies and creating a more liveable, engaged, prosperous community for us all,” Mr Krpan said.

According to Mr Krpan, recent research shows that while sustainability remains an important concern for most Australians, only half believe they are doing enough.

“Joining the program’s existing ten categories, the new environmental volunteering category will make the awards more accessible to more people who take environmental action in real, practical and tangible ways,” Mr Krpan said.

The Premier’s Sustainability Awards includes the categories built environment, community, education, environmental justice, environmental protection, environmental volunteering, government, health, innovative products or services, small to medium sized businesses and large business.

2018 winners include small business Yume Food, who won for building a marketplace exclusively for surplus food, the Caulfield to Dandenong level crossing removal project and a campaign by Zoos Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks that addressed the threat of plastic debris to marine life.

Entries in the Premier’s Sustainability Awards close on Thursday 13 June.

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Geelong installs recycled roundabout

Recycled rubber has been used for the construction of a roundabout in Geelong, a first for south western Victoria.

The innovative road design includes road resurfacing works and the installation of a right-hand turn onto Horseshoe Bend Road from Barwon heads Road, which will allow for better traffic movement.

The intersection of Barwon Heads Road and Marshalltown Road, which functions as a feed for five roads in Geelong, had been flagged for improvement by Regional Roads Victoria following incident reports and multiple near misses over the last five years.

A spokesperson for Regional Roads Victoria said to increase safety, a permanent 60 kilometre per hour speed limit has also been introduced on Barwon Heads Road when drivers are approaching the intersection.

Regional Roads Victoria’s use of recycled rubber follows a recent acceleration in the use of recycled material in roads by local councils in New South Wales and Victoria. A trial in Melbourne last year for example, saw 27 tonnes of recycled rubber used in Tyre Stewardship’s Equine Air paving product and installed on 550 square metres of the Pakenham Racing Club Tynong.

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400 million returns for QLD container refund scheme

Queensland’s container refund scheme Containers for Change, has seen the return of 400 million containers since beginning in December.

The scheme, which is run by not-for profit organisation Container Exchange, provides a 10-cent refund for recycling cans and bottles.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the scheme has generated $40 million for residents and community organisations.

“It provides a financial incentive to recycling containers, and there is also the option for people to donate their refunds to charities and community organisations,” Ms Enoch said.

“Container redemption volumes are about a third higher than forecast, and Containers for Change continues to defy expectations.”

Ms Enoch said containers are the second most commonly littered item in the state, with Queenslanders using nearly three billion every year.

“More refund points are becoming established, creating more business opportunities and making the scheme more accessible for Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch.

“The scheme has also created more than 620 jobs across Queensland, which is fantastic.”

Container Exchange CEO Ken Noye said when the program launched it had 230 container refund points statewide, which over five months has grown to 270.

“We’re now seeing things settle down at most depots and bag drop-off points due to a steady increase in the number of container refund points around the state,” Mr Noye said.

Seven new deposit points are scheduled to open by the end of April at Hervey Bay, Atherton, Bribie Island, Cooroy, Yamanto, Airlie Beach and Beaudesert.

Regional breakdown:

  • Greater Brisbane: 174.2 million
  • Gold Coast: 36.8 million
  • Sunshine Coast: 19.9 million
  • South East (including Ipswich): 3.5 million
  • Darling Downs: 28 million
  • Wide Bay: 35.9 million
  • Fitzroy/Central Queensland: 30.6 million
  • Mackay: 11.9 million
  • Townsville/North Queensland: 33.3 million
  • Cairns/Far North Queensland: 26.5 million
  • South West: 5.9 million

Total: 406.5 million

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Plastic not so fantastic

Consistent labelling and increased industry capacity would help councils identify the correct pathways for recyclable plastics, writes Australian Local Government Association President David O’Loughlin.

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Looking into a later levy

Waste Management Review examines some of the reasons why the Queensland Government’s waste levy was pushed back to 1 July 2019 and what it means for the industry going forward.

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