AORA Victoria 2018 Award winners announced

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) has celebrated industry achievements from the past year in Victoria at its 2018 awards dinner.

Its event was attended by more than 90 representatives from organics processors, industry suppliers, to state and local government organisations.

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Speeches from Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan and Parliamentary Secretary for Environment Anthony Carbines highlighted the support the government is putting forward into the organics industry.

The Melbourne Cricket Club won the 2018 Sustainability Victoria Outstanding Contribution to Industry Development Award thanks to the club’s organic fertiliser that it creates on site form organic waste.

Waste produced at the MCG is treated in-house and turned into a soil additive that is being used to sustain the heritage listed Yarra Park which surrounds the stadium. An Eco Guardians dehydrator at the MCG takes the organic waste and processes them into a soil additive known as SoilFood.

Glen Eira City Council won the 2018 Yarra Valley Water Outstanding Local Government Initiative in Collection/Processing/Marketing Award thanks to the councils Food Organics into Garden Organics (FOGO) program.

Food scrap recycling was identified as a priority in the council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2016-2021. Glen Eira changed organics processor to Veolia to bring the service to residents sooner, as the company are the only contractor currently servicing the South East Organics Processing contract that is capable of processing food waste.

The campaign was soft launched in November 2017, with further marketing in the lead up to its introduction on 1 May 2018. Council offered residents a free kitchen caddy as part of the program, with around 7721 households receiving one.

Environmental management company Kilter Rural won the 2018 RMCG Compost User Demonstrating Innovation and Advocacy in Agricultural Markets Award. The company has led the recovery of severely degraded farmland in the irrigation district in Northern Victoria and restored the land to profitable production.

Burdett’s Sand and Soil won the 2018 Compost User Demonstrating Innovation and Advocacy in Amenity Market Award after using compost through its solids for at least 20 years. The company has expanded into pine barks and mulches and is known to be an avid compost user and support of recycled organics.

Image: Melbourne Cricket Club

Best on ground

You may not know what they’re called, but chances are if you’ve been to a large sporting event in recent years, you’ll know what they sound like.

Thundersticks have become a fixture at many sporting events in the past few years, and the little inflatable tubes that make a spectacular racket when clapped together en masse have become a particular fixture of the Big Bash cricket over the past two summers.

But it almost wasn’t so – at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) at least. When the Big Bash league first raised the idea of handing out thundersticks to spectators with MCG management, the reception was not immediately positive.

“I denied the request originally as we didn’t know if it was a recyclable product,” says Vince Macolino who is the Venue Presentation Coordinator for the MCG’s managing body, the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC).

Such is the MCG’s commitment to waste reduction, working with Terracycle they sent the thundersticks in question over to the USA to be analysed, and only approved their use once it was determined that they could be recycled.

This is the kind of thinking that has seen the MCG recycle more than 77 per cent of the 1691 tonnes of waste it produced in 2016.

When Macolino joined the MCG’s team at the end of 2013, he conducted a thorough review of the venue’s waste management procedures.

While the venue was doing a reasonable job at the time, with multiple recycling streams in place, capturing just over 60 per cent of the waste generated on site, Macolino set to work with external consultant David Raiko and KS Environmental to find ways to improve. “We came up with a training and education program that was targeted at our contractors and caterers – the main people who produce and needed to be aware of the waste management producers,” Macolino says. “We identified the waste streams at the MCG, what they looked like, where they were located, and everyone who attended those sessions was then responsible for on-training their teams.”

Macolino implemented monthly reporting procedures to track how they were performing and to help identify any problem areas.

“For example, if we’ve sent more waste to landfill, investigate why that’s happened,” he says. “We make each department and contractor accountable for their own recycling – if you’re doing the wrong we’ll follow up on it.”

Macolino’s team developed a waste hierarchy that prioritises avoidance, reuse and recycling of waste that is now regularly communicated to all departments within the venue.

“People can also phone me if they’re unsure,” he says. “Over the past year, I’ll get phone calls from staff and contractors asking about how to dispose of a waste properly, because people are aware that we’re doing something about it.”

One of the MCC’s key partners in this task is ISS.

“ISS are on the ground day-to-day – they’re one of the big companies responsible for recycling at the MCG,” Macolino says. “They’re invested in our recycling rates as well and trying to get the best for MCC.”

Macolino says that one of the biggest challenges is dealing with what people bring into the MCG and leave behind on event days, such as bags,  food packaging and drink bottles that might not be recyclable.

To read more, see page 40 of Issue 10.