Premier’s Sustainability Awards announced

Premier's Sustainability Awards

A not-for-profit organisation that rescues surplus food and a paramedic who recycles old uniforms took out top honours in the Premier’s Sustainability Awards waste reduction and the circular economy on Tuesday night.

The 2021 awards were revamped to reflect the current focus of sustainability in Victoria and align with global best practice across six categories. They attracted the largest number of entrants across all categories since the awards began two decades ago.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the entrants worked tirelessly to protect and enhance the future and make Victoria “a more sustainable state for generations to come”.

Jo Algie, an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic and Team Manager at Ambulance Victoria, was named the community champion in waste reduction and circular economy for a unform recycling program which donates thousands of clothing items, work boots and dress shoes to people in need.

Partnering with AV’s supply team, a series of drop-off points and storerooms were established to accommodate the returned uniforms for processing. The team found several opportunities to upcycle and donate old uniforms, partnering with Gippsland Lions and Rotary groups to hold working bees to help de-badge uniforms.

In 2020, the Uniform Recycling Program donated, recycled, or rehomed more than 12,300 items. Some key recipients include ambulance services in Vanuatu, PNG, Fiji, and Thailand, Indigenous communities near Alice Springs, and Scout Association First Aid trainers.

The judges said the program was an excellent reuse and recycle initiative that had scope for expansion.

Algie said what started as a small project had become “something huge”.

“We’ve learned there’s no limit to what we can do.”

Food rescue and redistribution program OzHarvest claimed the waste reduction and circular economy industry leader award.

The not-for-profit rescues surplus food that would otherwise go to waste from restaurants, retailers, food outlets and corporate kitchens, delivering food to charitable agencies to feed vulnerable people.

The judges praised the program for solving an important food industry waste problem while helping some of the most vulnerable in the community.

In 2020 OzHarvest worked with 150 charities in Victoria to rescue surplus food from 457 food business. It delivered close to four million meals to charities across Melbourne, saving 1.31 million kilograms of food from going to landfill.

The Premier’s Recognition Award went to The Nature Conservancy Australia for a project to bring back Victoria’s lost oyster reefs.

The Premier’s Regional Recognition Award was won by Macedon Ranges Shire Council for its healthy landscape for healthy livestock.

For a full list of award winners, visit:


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