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Banksia Sustainability Award finalists shine light on waste

Banksia Sustainability Award finalists shine light on waste

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.

QLD
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
Banksia Medium Business Award sponsored by Currie Communications
Organisation Entry name Description Location
NPF Industry Pty Ltd Seas of Change Unwanted catch, or bycatch, is the Achilles’ heel of commercial fisheries, including Australia’s tropical Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF). In 2015, NPF Industry Pty Ltd launched the NPF Bycatch Strategy 2015-2018 with a vision to reduce the capture of small bycatch by 30 per cent within three years. The key to this strategy was to harness industry innovation and collective experience to design solutions. Industry developed three effective Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) that allow non-target species to escape from trawl nets. The devices were fully implemented in the NPF tiger prawn fishery in 2020. These efforts support SDGs 9, 12 and 14. QLD
Breathe Architecture Arkadia Breathe Architecture, in partnership with DKO Architecture and Oculus have created Arkadia – a new wave of large-scale residential developments that bring together the best of community, sustainability and good design. To strengthen community Arkadia is broken into four buildings cleverly composed to encourage neighbours to get to know one another. For the environment, there is no gas plumbed into the site. The entire project is 100% electric allowing for an entirely renewable, carbon free energy source to power a highly efficient building. Arkadia supports SDGs 7, 11 and 12. VIC
BioPak How BioPak Is Driving Sustainability in Retail In collaboration with Woolworths, Aldi and Big W along with other businesses in their supply chains, BioPak has created a range of plastic packaging alternatives made from sugarcane pulp. The innovative BioCane range presents a massive opportunity to combat the national recycling crisis and looming climate emergency Australia faces. Its work supports SDGs 9, 12 and 17. NSW
World’s Biggest Garage Sale Resource Recovery Partnerships: The Foundations of a Circular Economy World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS) is an impact venture that activates the circular economy to provide positive benefit to the environment and people. Through a partnership with Officeworks, WBGS has diverted more than 32 tonnes of product from potential landfill. At Australia’s first Circular Economy Precinct, in Brisbane, WBGS takes dormant goods from community households and businesses and renew, repair and repurpose these them. Thus transforming waste into saleable goods. WBGS’s model incorporates workshops to teach people resource recovery skills. WBGS supports SDGs 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 17.

 

QLD
Large Business
Organisation Entry name Description Location
ALDI ALDI’s Roadmap to 100% Renewable Electricity ALDI Australia committed to power all of its stores and warehouses with 100 per cent renewable electricity by the end of 2021 in August 2020, making it the first supermarket to do so. It will reduce its direct carbon emissions by 85 per cent. Being Australia’s 64th largest electricity user and with responsibility being one of the core business values, ALDI recognises that taking action on climate change is not only important to manage its business risk but is the right thing to do customers and communities. The pathway to 100 per cent renewable electricity includes: energy efficiency, maximising onsite renewable energy generation and procuring renewable electricity. This activity supports SDGs 7, 8, 13 and 17. NSW
Icon Water No opportunity wasted Icon Water’s innovative ‘No opportunity wasted’ program is changing the way the water industry views its ‘wastes’ – thinking of them as resources instead. Through eight innovative, industry-leading initiatives, Icon Water has demonstrated the multiple benefits of regenerating resources, upcycling and collaborating. Examples include producing a range of landscaping and soil enhancer products from material that would otherwise be sent to landfill. It also uses previously unwanted product streams in their operations, instead of extracting virgin materials. This work aligns with #SDGs 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 17. ACT
ICC Sydney Legacy Program ICC Sydney is more than a landmark venue. ICC Sydney functions as an incubator for ideas, a champion of change and an advocate for community. Through its Legacy Program which covers five distinct streams, the venue provides its clients the opportunity to contribute to the city’s cultural capital—and advance the social and environmental objectives of their events—in real and meaningful ways. ICC Sydney’s Legacy Program supports #SDGs 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 17. NSW
IKEA Australia IKEA Australia Buy-Back & Re-sell service IKEA Australia is on a transformative journey to become 100 per cent circular in all its operations by 2030. IKEA Australia wants to operate its business within the limits of the planet and enable our customers to do the same. The IKEA Buy Back & Re-sell Service is an important initiative in helping extend the life of our products, divert potential waste from landfill and inspire our customers to live a more sustainable life at home. These efforts align with SDGs 5, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 17. NSW
Ventia Ventia’s SourceZone: Removing PFAS Contamination From Soil Ventia’s SourceZone® is a first-of-its kind, low-emissions, patented technology for removing per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination from soil. SourceZone offers a cost-effective treatment technology that has been proven to remove up to 99% of PFAS from a range of soil concentrations and types, including sands and clays. PFAS are a group of synthetically produced chemicals used in industrial applications, firefighting foams, and household products from the 1950s. Many PFAS do not degrade in the environment and are linked to health effects in humans. Ventia developed the technology in conjunction with CleanEarth Technologies Canada. It supports SDGs 3, 6, 11, 12 and 13. NSW
Community
Organisation Entry name Description Location
Share The Word Design Studio The Only Butt Campaign The Only Butt campaign inspires butts in bins, healthier lifestyle choices, and body confidence across all genders. Share The Word Design Studio delivers this campaign in partnership with Woolworth’s, Lions International, Rye Community Action Group and Bendigo Bank. This campaign encourages people to post and tag photos of their own butts, or even the butts animal fish friends, as the only type of butts that should be at the beach. Cigarette butts don’t belong at the beach. This campaign draws attention to the fact that 8 billion cigarette butts are littered each year in Australia. The campaign combines cheekiness with education and positive reinforcement of good behaviours. It aligns with SDGs 4, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17. VIC
Sustainable Schools Network Limited Reimagining Education The Sustainable Schools Network Limited (SSN) is reimagining education. The schools aim to educate and connect school communities to imagine a sustainable future. The charity uses the SDGs as a framework to understand sustainability. Its approach involves partnerships and whole-of-school approach – including parents, cleaners, business managers, principals and others within a school community, as well as teachers and students. The SSN has created a legacy of relationships and educational material, whilst building momentum to ensure a sustainable future for those we hold dearest: our children. QLD
Kua World-positive coffee for workplaces. Kua is a social enterprise that does world-positive coffee for workplaces like Canva, WWF and SAP. All profits are used to mobilise Kua’s farmers on the path to climate resilience, and all waste coffee grounds are collected for local repurposing. Kua’s closed-loop service takes coffee drinkers on the journey from crop to cup to community garden. Since launching in 2019, Kua has onboarded 35 workplace partners, diverted three tonnes of coffee waste from landfill and worked with 75 coffee farming families in Uganda. It supports SDGs 10, 12 and 13. NSW
Millennium Kids Inc Millennium Kids Inc Millennium Kids Inc is a not-for-profit, environmental youth organisation, that empowers young people with a ‘skills for life’ approach so they can become leaders and change-agents in their communities today. Since 1996, Millennium Kids has enabled thousands of young people to have their say about the environment. Their work supports SDGs 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17. WA
Enable Social Enterprise Creating social, environmental and economic impact from used tech Enable Social Enterprises is a not for profit organisation on a mission to tackle disadvantage and break unemployment cycles. Enable Social Enterprises provide work and learning programs to help improve job prospects for people in our community experiencing or at risk of severe hardship, often due to significant employment barriers. Since April 2020, Enable has also distributed over 300 items of affordable tech to community in need to help stay connected. Their work aligns with #SDGs 1, 8, 9, 11,12 and 17. VIC
Government
Organisation Entry name Description Location
Department of Planning, Industry & Environment Saving our Species program Saving our Species (SoS) is a movement involving volunteers, scientists, businesses, community groups and the NSW Government, all coming together to secure the future of Australia’s unique plants and animals. Its objectives are to maximise the number of threatened species that are secure in the wild in NSW for 100 years and control the key threats facing our threatened plants and animals. Between 2016 and 2021, $100 million is being invested cost-effectively to secure threatened plants and animals in the wild for the next 100 years. SoS aligns with SDG 15. NSW
Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Strategy Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy provides long-term direction and allows council to guide growth and shape the future of the region to 2041. The strategy reflects the Sunshine Coast Council’s work to strike a balance between the natural and the built environment, as well as how we live in them. It also supports a strong economy, with diverse communities. The Sunshine Coast Council is taking action through region-wide projects and community based initiatives. This work supports SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17. QLD
Randwick City Council Randwick City Council, Living and Breathing a Transformation to a Sustainable City and Community Randwick City Council is living and breathing sustainability for its community. Adopting and embedding ambitious and credible targets to reduce energy, greenhouse, waste and water and increase sustainable transportation across corporate and community strategies has been a key focus in the past two years. Ambitious and creative implementation and progress has been achieved in the past 12 to 15 months, including a new Environment Strategy to 2030. This work most strongly aligns with SDG11 –sustainable cities and communities. It also supports SDGs 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. NSW
NGO/NFP
Organisation Entry name Description Location
Conservation Volunteers Australia Koala Rehabilitation Project – Conservation Volunteers Australia Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) has rehabilitated koala habit for many years. A three-year partnership with NRMA Insurance is ramping up their work to restore, increase and maintain known koala habitat areas in Queensland and NSW. As part of this project, CVA is engaging its network of volunteers and project partners to deliver beneficial conservation outcomes for these marsupials and build community connection and resilience. Thanks to the support from NRMA and over 3000 community volunteers, CVA planted over 67,500 koala habitat and food trees in the first partnership year (2019), exceeding its target. This work aligns with SDGs 3, 13, 15 and 17 NSW
Beyond Zero Emissions The 10 Gigawatt Vision Beyond Zero Emissions researched and wrote the ‘10 Gigawatt Vision’ to show how the Northern Territory can put renewable energy at the centre of a sustainable growth strategy, creating over 8,000 new jobs and over $2 billion in revenue by 2030. For the first time an NT election, all major parties across the political spectrum supported renewable energy. The Government adopted the main elements of the ‘10 Gigawatt Vision’ in their ‘Climate Change Response – Towards 2050’ policy. This work, supported by Environment Centre NT, aligns with #SDGs 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 15. NT
OzHarvest OzHarvest FEAST (Food Education and Sustainability Training) Program OzHarvest developed FEAST, a year 5 and 6 curriculum aligned program, inspiring kids to eat healthy, waste less and become change-makers in their local community. Like any good FEAST, it’s designed to be fun, engaging and filled with good food! Over seven to 10 weeks, students explore and design their own recipes to prevent food waste and increase healthy eating. They create a School Cookbook to educate and engage their community. The curriculum package uses the latest teaching and learning strategies, with access to a range of online resources and training. FEAST aligns to SDGs 2, 3, 4, 9, 12, 13 and 17. NSW
Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Planet Ark and PREP Design The Australasian Recycling Label Program The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) Program is an on-pack labelling scheme that helps consumers to recycle correctly and supports brand owners to accurately design, assess and label packaging for recyclability. It was launched in 2018 following a collaboration between Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Planet Ark and PREP Design. The ARL Program is about creating behaviour change that will underpin how our community interacts with packaging for years to come. It supports SDGs12 and 17. NSW
Banksia Academia & Research Award sponsored by SUEZ 
Organisation Entry name Description Location
The University of Melbourne Placemaking Sandbox The Place Agency is an online sandbox for placemaking. It’s where people come to invest space with meaning and create thriving urban places that connect people to nature and country. The Place Agency Consortium is formed by academics from the University of Melbourne, The University of Adelaide, Curtin University, The University of Queensland, the University of Technology Sydney, Notre Dame University and the University of New South Wales, and 14 industry partners. Its work supports SGDs 2, 3,  4, 5, 9, 14, 15 and 17. VIC
Blue Carbon Lab (Deakin University) The #BlueCarbonArmy Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab delivers the #BlueCarbonArmy in partnership with HSBC and Earthwatch Australia.  It is educating Australia’s corporate executives in climate change literacy, while empowering them to build a sustainable future and value Australia’s coastal ecosystems. More than 300 executives (from 20-plus industries) have swapped their suits for gumboots, to help with coastal wetland research. They’ve collected data that helped inform increased investment and develop new markets based on coastal ecosystem services. This work aligns with SDGs 13, 14, 15, 17. VIC
Minister’s Award for Environment sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment 
Organisation Entry name Description Location
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. After use, these natural materials are recycled as neutral water keeping uncontaminated water in use. The result is a sustainable, circular solution to hygiene management, which supports SDGs 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14 and 15. VIC
 

World’s Biggest Garage Sale

Resource Recovery Partnerships: The Foundations of a Circular Economy World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS) is an impact venture that activates the circular economy to provide positive benefit to the environment and people. Through a partnership with Officeworks, WBGS has diverted more than 32 tonnes of product from potential landfill. At Australia’s first Circular Economy Precinct, in Brisbane, WBGS takes dormant goods from community households and businesses and renew, repair and repurpose these them. Thus transforming waste into saleable goods.

WBGS is also dedicated to building community awareness and engagement. Its model incorporates workshops to teach people resource recovery skills. WBGS supports SDGs 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 17.

QLD