Reducing waste, repurposing goods and closing loops have emerged as themes among the 33 finalists in Australia’s longest running and most prestigious sustainability awards.

The Banksia Foundation has today announced the shortlist for the awards, which spans 10 categories and celebrates sustainable development by businesses, communities, individuals and governments.

“After what has been an extremely challenging year, we are keen to celebrate those who are striving to make positive change,” says Banksia Foundation CEO Graz van Egmond.

“Our judges were blown away by the quality of the entries. In spite of COVID-19, change-makers across Australia are innovating and collaborating to do their bit to improve life on the planet.”

The finalists include:

An online marketplace that reduces food waste by enabling food suppliers to sell their quality surplus products at a discount to the food service industry.

Technology to trap restaurants’ grease waste and sell it for biofuel.

Australia’s first Circular Economy Precinct that renews, repairs and repurposes goods.

A program to change the way the water industry views its ‘wastes’ by thinking of them as resources instead.

A buy back and re-sell service from a national furniture company.

The impressive crop of finalists also includes projects to restore natural environments, increase renewable energy, build more resilient communities, and more.

The winners in each category, including the overall Gold Award and a special Minister for the Environment Award, will be announced at a virtual awards ceremonyon March 24.

The Banksia Sustainability Awards are the longest-running sustainability awards in Australia. They are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all – something that is more important than ever as businesses, communities and governments continue to respond to the pandemic.

Established more than 30 years ago, the Banksia Sustainability Awards recognise individuals, communities, businesses and government for innovation and excellence in environmental and social stewardship.

Information on the finalists in each category is provided on the following pages.

Learn more and book tickets for the virtual Banksia Sustainability Awards Presentation and a Q&A session with the finalists the day before here.

Banksia Small Business Award sponsored by Australia Post

Organisation Entry name Description Location
Yume Food Yume Food Yume Food is a social enterprise that runs an online marketplace for food suppliers to sell their quality surplus products at a discount to the food service industry. This helps reduce great quantities of food waste. Already, Yume – which works with hundreds of leading food manufacturers, such as Unilever and Mondelez – has sold over 2.3 million kilograms of quality surplus food, returning over $7 million to Australian farmers and manufacturers. This has also saved 158.7 million litres of water and prevented 4,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released. These efforts support SDG 12. VIC
Reef Ecologic Reef restoration and innovation Environment consultancy Reef Ecologic collaborates with artists, scientists, communities, students, tourism operators, Indigenous leaders and government on projects to restore and raise awareness about reefs. Innovative projects such as The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) are the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere and have reached over 184 million people globally. The MOUA project has encouraged new knowledge and edu-tourism that has saved several Great Barrier Reef dive businesses that had been closed by COVID19.

This work supports SDGs 9, 13, 14 and 17.

Unsurpassed Australian Grown Bio Nutrients Limited UAG Bio Nutrients UAG Bio Nutrients has developed a process that takes organic waste and turns it into clean energy and fertiliser for protected cropping systems, like greenhouses. UAG’s vision is to feed the world from waste to plate. Its patented four-stage process is scalable and sustainable. It can help address issues including food security, food waste, soil degradation and climate change, thus advancing most of the SDGs. NSW
eWater Systems Pty Ltd Hygiene that doesn’t cost the earth – eWater Systems Pty Ltd eWater Systems creates sustainable hygiene systems replace high carbon, wasteful chemical production with on-site electrolysis equipment. These systems provide highly effective and unlimited supply of biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning, disinfecting and food sanitising solutions – on demand. This bypasses transport, storage, drain and plastic packaging waste. eWater uses only tap water and salt. This supports SDGs 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14 and 15. VIC
PumpFree Energy PumpFree Energy innovation and disruption PumpFree Energy works with restaurants to reduce, divert and transform their grease waste into renewable energy. Its technology once fitted into a grease trap, significantly reduces the waste and pollution that ends up in our waterways and oceans. An important issue because1 litre of oil can contaminate up to 1 million litres of water, impacting marine life. The collected waste is then sold and processed into biofuels – reducing pollution and C02 emissions. Its works supports SDGs 7, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 17. NSW
Green Eco Technologies Green Eco Technologies WasteMaster food waste conversion for positive climate action Green Eco Technologies diverts food waste from landfill. Its innovative WasteMaster units process organic waste into much smaller, reusable material.  This material can be used for green energy production and other resources. One tonne of WasteMaster residue has the potential to create enough green energy to power 100+ homes for a day. Research from Deakin University has shown that using the WasteMaster reduces CO2 equivalent emissions by 84% when compared to disposal in landfill. This work supports SDGs 6, 9, 11, 12 and 13. VIC
Piping Hot Australia Piping Hot Australia Born from a love of the ocean, Piping Hot is determined to make sustainable fashion affordable and to protect our oceans from waste.The Piping Hot team has taken steps towards low impact materials. In 2021 every Piping Hot product will be made from verified sustainable materials. Piping Hot’s strategy aligns with SDGs 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17, while maintaining a commitment to keeping fashion affordable for Australian families. NSW