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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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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Victoria first recycled concrete trial in Hoppers Crossing

In a Victoria first trial, a two-hundred-metre long concrete footpath made with 199,000 recycled glass and plastic bottles has been laid in Hoppers Crossing.

The new concrete, developed by Sustainability Victoria and Swinburne University of Technology, was funded through the Victorian Government’s Research, Development and Demonstration grant as part of the $4.5 million Resource Recovery Market Development Program (RRMDP).

RRMDP was announced last year and aims to develop Victorian markets for recyclable waste, boost research and increase the use of recovered glass fines and flexible plastics in products and processing techniques.

The Swinburne University of Technology research team worked with recycled content supplier PolyTrade, Wyndham City Council and concrete contractor MetroPlant to develop the material.

The aggregate contains 2600 kilograms of shredded recycled plastics between four and eight millimetres and 5500 kilograms of glass fines —leftover glass particles typically between three and eight millimetres in size.

The glass fines and plastic are bound directly into the concrete through a technique similar to that used for traditional aggregate materials.

Approximately 100,000 tonnes of flexible plastics and over 60,000 tonnes of glass fines, which are too small to be recycled by standard process, end up in Victorian landfills every year.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said the development of innovative new products helps encourage government to invest in building better waste systems that divert materials from landfill, consume fewer natural resources and reduce carbon emissions.

“Sustainability Victoria has been thinking circular for a long time, we can create more value from our waste by designing for reuse, keeping products circulating in the economy at their greatest value for as long as possible.

“A circular economy requires commitment from industry, government and the community, which is why we apply the principles to our program design and delivery,” Mr Krpan said.

The footpath will be closely monitored to confirm durability and performance, and if, or how, any plastics could potentially be released from the solid bound pavement.

The aggregate blend meets required strength and standards for footpath construction, with tests showing similar wear resistance to control samples.

Information from the project will be captured and used to improve recycled concrete technology to inform future projects.

Sustainability Victoria will continue to work with councils, Local Government Victoria and the Municipal Association of Victoria to increase the uptake of recycled content in infrastructure.

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Victorian State of the Environment report lists recommendations

The Victorian State of the Environment 2018 report says the Victorian Government needs to align its institutional planning and procurement processes to support the delivery of its planned circular economy strategy.

The report, commissioned by Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Dr Gillian Sparkes, says five out of six waste indicators are stable.

Indicators used were total waste generation, generation of municipal waste per capita, total food waste generated, diversion rate, littler and illegal dumping and total hazardous waste managed and reported.

While most indicators are stable, except litter and illegal dumping which is improving, the report says the total amount of waste generated is poor and offers two key recommendations to improve the waste situation in Victoria.

First, in 2019 Sustainability Victoria need to develop indicators and implement a comprehensive monitoring and reporting framework to measure delivery of the statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan against circular-economy design principals.

Recommendations suggest that from July 2020 this progress should be expanded and a reporting framework that tracks progress put in place, with a public report released annually.

Second, the Victorian Government needs to align its institutional planning and procurement processes to support the delivery of the circular economy strategy and clarify which agencies will be responsible for delivering policy, procurement, program, reporting and regulatory roles.

The report says this alignment should be adopted statewide to enable an orderly transition to a circular economy in Victoria by 2030, with the initial focus being reducing consumption and contamination levels in kerbside recycling.

Recommendations also note that the Victorian Government needs to commit to long-term, systemic, statewide community education to support these transitions and improve long-term system outcomes.

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Bingo awarded SV grant for Braeside recycling redevelopment

Sustainability Victoria (SV) has awarded Bingo Industries a $500,000 grant to revamp its Braeside recycling centre as part of the third round of funding released under the Victorian Government’s Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.

Bingo’s Braeside recycling centre will process mixed solid inert commercial and industrial and building and demolition waste. The Braeside facility will divert approximately 100,000 tonnes of waste from landfill across target waste streams in its first year of operation, with a target resource recovery rate of 80 per cent.

The redevelopment will be see a complete rebuild of the existing infrastructure with plans to significantly improve resource recovery rates and minimise operational impacts on neighbouring land. The recycling facility will be completely enclosed with innovative noise and dust mitigation systems installed across the facility.

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SV’s fund aims to recognise innovative recycling infrastructure projects that improve the collection and processing of recyclable materials and generate jobs in the Victorian resource recovery industry.

Bingo Industries Managing Director Daniel Tartak said Bingo is excited about the role it has to play in assisting governments and communities in achieving their sustainability outcomes through developing innovative recycling infrastructure.

“We see the redevelopment of our Braeside and West Melbourne facilities as crucial in assisting Victoria in addressing the recent issues developed as a result of external pressures on waste management infrastructure such as China’s ban on importing Australian waste,” Mr Tartak said.

 

Bingo invested $53 million on its initial expansion into Victoria in late 2017 with the acquisition of three businesses, Konstruct Recycling, Resource Recovery Victoria and AAZ Recycling.

The company purchased the Braeside site in late 2017 and was awarded development approval by City of Kingston local council on 21 December 2018. Redevelopment work will commence at the site in early 2019 and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2019.

Bingo now operates a fleet of 77 trucks and five recycling and waste management facilities in Victoria, employing over 130 Victorian employees. The company views Victoria as a key part of achieving its vision to see a waste free Australia by diverting waste from landfill and moving towards a circular economy.

NSW launches draft of its Circular Economy Policy

The NSW Government has revealed its draft of its Circular Economy Policy as part of the state government’s plan to improve its resource recovery methods.

The policy draft defines the state government’s role in implementing circular economy principles across NSW and how it can commit to achieving long term objectives.

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Minimising the consumption of finite resources by replacing raw materials with recovered and recycled products is one of the main principles of the policy.

Additionally, the policy aims to decouple economic growth from resource consumption by maximising the value of resources through keeping materials in use for as long as possible.

Product design will also play a role to implement a circular economy with an aim of creating long lasting products that are able to be easily re-used, remanufactured and repaired.

The draft aims to extend the life of existing landfills to reduce the demand for new landfills along with a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Local market for high quality post-consumer recycled materials will be developed to keep them materials use for longer to reduce dependency on international markets. It also aims to improve the quality of collected materials through better sorting.

To move away from the “take, make and dispose” status quo, the policy recommends innovating technologies that increase resource recovery efficiency and referencing higher value re-use opportunities.

Creating new jobs in manufacturing, service and resource recovery sectors is listed as a main principle behind the delivery of a circular economy.

The draft sets out certain focus areas to guide future government action which involve supporting innovation, encouraging sustainable procurement practices for businesses and government, improving recycling systems and making the most of organic resources through food donation or composting.

Mainstream product stewardship will also aim to provide incentives for producers to take responsibility for the management of products at the end of their lives.

To establish this framework, the NSW Government aims to incorporate circular economy principles in the revision of the NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy in 2019. A Circular Economy Implementation Plan to be developed by 2020 will also aim to provide timing and direction for the implementation of circular economy principles.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the policy draft is the beginning of a better way for NSW to manage its waste and resources.

“Achieving a circular economy will minimise our waste, reduce our impact on the environment and is an opportunity to boost the NSW economy,” Ms Upton said.

“It’s an antidote to the current “linear economy”, where we make things, use them and then throw them away. Instead, we can use items for as long as possible, through repair, re-use and recycling, rather than being thrown away.

“At the same time NSW is working with the Federal Government on the development of national circular economy principles,” she said.

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has welcomed the release of the draft, however it says there is more work to be done on the policy.

The association has urged the NSW Government to set up an organisation similar to Sustainability Victoria or Green Industries South Australia to implement in the final policy.

WMAA CEO Gayle Sloan said that all states are preparing or implementing similar strategies, so it is vital that they align and work together.

“WMAA supports the paper’s proposal that the NSW Government will investigate opportunities to incorporate circular economy principles into the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy as part of the five-yearly review process,” Ms Sloan said.

“WMAA commends the government for its support for broadening and strengthening stewardship schemes. This has been discussed time and again and it is pleasing to see that industry’s feedback has been heard,” she said.

“We are also calling on government to consider how the waste levy should look like in a circular economy environment, including how collected monies are re-invested in industry to further boost processing and jobs.