Premier’s Sustainability Awards finalists announced

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.

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Sustainability Victoria announces $4.7M RRIF grants

Sustainability Victoria have announced the recipients of 13 new grants, administered via the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund (RRIF).

A total of $4.7 million has been awarded to projects that will increase Victoria’s capacity to recycle locally generated waste materials into high value commodities.

Sustainability Victoria Interim CEO Carl Muller said RRIF funding supports the recovery of recycled materials, the expansion of recycling facilities for kerbside, construction and demolition, commercial and industrial waste and improvement in the quality of collected and sorted materials suitable for commercial use.

“We cannot deny the importance of the waste and recycling industry. These grants will boost the resource recovery industry, creating jobs and driving investment in the sector,” Mr Muller said.

“The Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund facilitates change to support industry growth and development, in tandem with Victoria’s growing population.”

Mr Muller said investment in recycling infrastructure is vital to increasing the recovery valuable materials, for use in other manufacturing sectors.

“These exciting and innovative projects will drive a strong circular economy that maximises the reuse and recycling of materials and reduces waste,” Mr Muller said.

“Collective action from industry, government and the community can ensure Victoria remains a great place to live and operate in.”

Recipients include: 

Alex Fraser Group: $336,500 to install an additive bin at its Clarinda facility, which will divert low-value recovered glass that is unfit for reuse from landfill.

Repurpose It : $500,000 to install new infrastructure and improve the recovery and washing of glass fines sourced from materials recovery facilities.

Cleanaway: $500,000 to install optical sorting equipment for plastics from e-waste processing.

Pipeconnex: $500,000 for a new facility production line that will recycle up to 5246 tonnes of plastic each year.

Close the Loop: $500,000 for infrastructure that will recover 5,000 tonnes of soft plastics annually, for use in asphalt road base.

Boral: $500,000 to upgrade its asphalt plant to receive plastic, glass and crumbed rubber for asphalt production.

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2018 winner encourages Premier’s Sustainability Awards entrants

Previous entrants in the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards say that their participation has helped their organisations build better customer and community relationships.

Previous winners and finalists in the Premier’s Sustainability Awards say that their involvement has led to better staff morale, improved profiling with their customers and stronger community relationships.

Recent research by Sustainability Victoria says that entrants not only demonstrate increased energy efficiencies and reduced bills through their sustainability projects, by telling their stories through the awards they enjoy a range of other benefits.

The diverse array of historical entrants has comprised councils, government organisations, not-for-profits and businesses across categories such as innovative products and services, environmental protection, government and health. Many of these organisations document their sustainability performance as part of their standard operations, so developing an entry can be a streamlined process.

Last year’s winner of the Premier’s Recognition Award was Yume Food – Australia’s first online platform that connects producers of quality surplus food with buyers. The platform enables food suppliers, such as manufacturers, primary producers and importers to sell their products at a discount to commercial buyers in the food service industry comprising caterers, wholesalers, restaurants, hotels and event centres.

IKEA Richmond won the Large Business category.

Yume won three awards in total, including Innovative Products or Services and the Small and Medium Enterprises categories.

The company’s exceptional results will lead to nearly 850,000 kilograms of food diverted from landfill; 1,682,000 kilograms of CO2 saved, 58 million litres of water saved and more than 23,000 kilograms of food donated to rescue organisations.

Yume’s Founder and CEO, Katy Barfield said that the organisation is asked to enter a lot of awards’ programs but have to be quite selective and the Premier’s Sustainability Awards program was appealing.

“One of the reasons why we go for a small amount of awards is because as a start-up we have limited band

width and put our energy to awards that will further our mission of creating a world without waste,” Ms Barfield said.

She added that the Premier’s Sustainability Awards was simple to enter for multiple categories.

“One of the best results for us has been the recognition. Through our hard work and acknowledgement of programs like this, we have a respected voice in media.

“I’m often asked to speak at conferences and other industry events. It gives us a great opportunity to spread the word even further,” Ms Barfield said.

She said the prestigious awards recognise the groundbreaking innovations emerging out of Victoria and provided Yume Foods with an audience in front of government – the largest procurer of food in the country.

She advised others to put forward nominations and enjoy the benefits of the evening such as networking with important stakeholders, as Yume was able to connect to IKEA the previous year.

“Enjoy the night because it can be a hard road being in this space and the opportunity to celebrate are few at times.”

Western Health won in 2017.

Last year, the Department of Justice and Regulation was a finalist in the government category, after developing a Recycle, Reuse, Donate Woodwork Program for offenders serving Community Correction Orders. The program was established as an environmentally sustainable project that contributes to waste avoidance, while teaching offenders valuable new skills and creating an avenue for them to give back to the local community.

IKEA Richmond won the Large Business category after conducting a refurbishment of its store and rebuilding its showroom, installing a café and improving its in-store navigation, leading to about 85 per cent of all construction materials recycled.

In 2017, Western Health won an award for its single-use metals instruments program, with around 500 kilograms of steel recycled in 2016, representing about 80 per cent of all single-use metal instruments.

In 2016, the City of Booroondara on behalf of the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action Councils, a network of seven councils in Melbourne’s east, won the government award for its work with a variety of organisations to develop and trial a framework for monitoring biodiversity.

Sustainability Victoria (SV) assists entrants throughout the nomination process, then finalists and winners are provided with media releases, social media graphics, professional photos and other promotional collateral.

SV Interim Chief Executive Officer Carl Muller said the 2018 finalists and winners demonstrate that the awards process improves engagement and marketing opportunities at every stage.

“From the time they complete their entries through to the announcement of finalists, then at the prestigious ceremony to announce winners and beyond, entrants report a really positive experience,” Mr Muller said.

“Now is the time for any group doing good sustainability work to highlight their sustainability through the Premier’s Sustainability Awards.”

In the awards’ 17-year history, businesses, schools, organisations and community groups have enjoyed the chance to not only demonstrate their sustainability success, but to promote it.

Entries close at 5pm Thursday, 13 June, 2019.

To find out more, click here

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Sustainability Victoria CEO moves to Solar Victoria

Stan Krpan will leave his position as CEO of Sustainability Victoria after being appointed inaugural CEO of Solar Victoria.

Mr Krpan said it was a privilege to lead Sustainability Victoria and watch its impact grow.

“I am enormously proud to have been able to work with so many passionate people across projects which inform, educate and deliver tangible outcomes for Victorians to act on climate change and improve the way we manage waste and recycling,” Mr Krpan said.

“I am particularly grateful to the many and varied stakeholders, who have been the key ingredient to our success and share our passion to position Victoria for a sustainable future.”

Mr Krpan said the position at Solar Victoria will present an opportunity to transform the way Victorians generate residential power from renewable sources.

“In less than a year since Solar Victoria was established, we have seen the huge demand for household solar energy by Victorians,” Mr Krpan said.

“This program is a cornerstone of the Victorian Government’s target to achieve 50 per cent renewable energy in the state by 2030.”

Sustainability Victoria Board Chair Heather Campbell thanked Mr Krpan for his service.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to acknowledge and thank Stan Krpan for his dedicated leadership of Sustainability Victoria since 2012,” Ms Campbell said.

“Under Stan’s leadership Sustainability Victoria delivered Australia’s first statewide waste infrastructure plan, growing investment in waste and resource recovery infrastructure, market development and education to their highest levels.”

Ms Campbell said the board wished Mr Krpan all the best in his new role as CEO of Solar Victoria, which will deliver the state government’s $1.2 billion Solar Homes package from 1 July.

“In August 2018 Stan led the establishment of Solar Victoria as a dedicated business unit under Sustainability Victoria,” Ms Campbell said.

“This will be a seamless transition for both Stan and Solar Victoria, as that organisation moves to become a standalone entity reporting to the Environment Department and Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said Solar Homes would cut Victoria’s carbon emissions by four million tonnes – the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road.

“Household solar is expected to generate 12.5 per cent of Victoria’s 40 per cent target for renewable energy by 2025,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“Mr Krpan has a strong record in this sector and the right experience to lead the delivery of our landmark Solar Homes package.”

Sustainability Victoria Director Corporate Services Carl Muller will act as interim CEO while a full recruitment process is underway.

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