Sustainability Victoria has announced finalists for the 2019 Premier’s Sustainability Awards, after a record number of entries.
The awards celebrate sustainability in 11 categories, as demonstrated by educational institutions, businesses in every sector, health organisations, government and community groups.
Sustainability Victoria Interim CEO Carl Muller has congratulated finalists, describing the 2019 entrants as exceptional.
“Not only is the quality impressive, but we’ve had the largest number of entries in the program’s 17 year history,” Mr Muller said.
“As sustainability becomes increasingly important for communities, businesses, industries and governments, the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards has never been more significant to share learnings and inspire us all.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will personally select two winners for the Premier’s Regional Recognition Award and the Premier’s Recognition Award, to be presented at a ceremony on 10 October in Melbourne.
Waste finalists include:
Education category: Ballarat Tech School for their Precious Plastic Program, which empowers students, other schools and businesses in the battle against plastic waste, encouraging them to consider the long-term effects of waste on our environment and to use circular economy thinking.
Large Business category: Veolia for their Waste Pioneers Program, which teaches school students about waste and recycling in an interactive way, covering waste hierarchy and circular economy principals, environmental stewardship and community leadership.
Innovative Products or Services category: Hotel to Hands by Soap Aid, which collects discarded soap from hotel and travel industry partners, then sorts, cleans, and reprocesses it into fresh, hygienic soap bars. In 2018, Soap Aid distributed over 301,440 bars of soap to communities without adequate sanitation in Cambodia, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and the Philippines, as well as remote Australian Indigenous communities.
Community, Environmental Justice and Innovative Products or Services categories: Enable Social Enterprises, whose mission is to break unemployment cycles by enabling disadvantaged jobseekers to connect with community and environment, improving their prospects of participating in gainful employment through supportive work and learning programs. In 2018, their IT Recycling business created 10 employment pathways while diverting 133,046 kilograms of e-waste from landfill.
Small and Medium Enterprises category: Smart Recycling, which has been operating on a 35-acre former landfill site in Dandenong South for the past 22 years, recycling roughly one million tonnes of waste. It has developed a Smart Pallets App, used by their fleet of collectors to locate timber pallets from building sites all over Victoria, ensuring that pallets are collected efficiently, repaired effectively and returned for re-use.
Small and Medium Enterprises category: retub, a modern reusable take-away food container that reduces waste in up to three different ways and uses a unique, built-in container exchange program, Reswap. It endeavours to eliminate single-use take-away food-containers through product and process design with a focus on supply chain and marketing.
Health category: Drukshini Dissanayake, for her role as Associate Nurse Unit Manager and leader of the Green Team at the Alfred Hospital, where she established a successful program saving 45-60 kilograms of pure aluminium from disposal into landfill via free collection bins and hospital pick-ups in a dedicated waste recycling program.
Melbourne Health, for tackling food waste by having surplus patient meals collected daily by OzHarvest, who deliver them to community food hub Northpoint Centre for processing and distribution, helping community members in need. Since February 2018, over 4000 meals per month have been redistributed, removing nine tonnes of food from landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 tonnes CO2 per year.
Western Health for its Equipment Reissue Program for Hardship, which re-homes potentially useful second-hand pieces of allied healthcare equipment, such as crutches and shower chairs, to patients who would have struggled to obtain them otherwise.