Meet the waste champions who are owning it

Posted on: July 13, 2020

Every wondered how Western Australia will make significant inroads in its collective efforts to reduce waste? The answer may well lie with some of the passion and ingenuity showcased by the finalists in the 2018 Infinity Awards, a celebration of WA’s waste champions.

We are shining a spotlight on the winners - announced at a gala event on Thursday 15 November - who aren’t just reducing their waste, but also helping others to as well!  


Plastic Free July

Plastic clean up effort at the beach

Winner of the Avoid Recover Protect – Community Waste Award, the Plastic Free July Foundation has spearheaded a global movement which has seen some 3.4 million people, in the past eight years, to pledge to reduce their single-use plastic consumption. If you’re up for the month-long challenge you can find out more here.

Also recognised in the same category were Total Green Recycling (Highly Commended), an electronic waste recovery and recycling business which processes three tonnes of waste every hour, and the City of Cockburn (Commended) whose Waste Education Unit has supported households to cut waste by 2kg per week and achieved a five per cent increase in recycling.

New Normal Bar + Kitchen

Waste free food

Subiaco restaurant New Normal Bar + Kitchen's unique mission saw it named winner of the Avoid Recover Protect - Commercial and Industrial Waste Award. The establishment delivers high quality, locally sourced food whilst simultaneously maintaining an unparalleled focus on sustainability and ecological impact. This includes eliminating all ‘single-use’ plastics from the kitchen and returning 100% of the restaurant’s organic waste back into the nutrient cycle. 

It's not just small business that is making massive inroads in this area. Crown Perth (Highly Commended) and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (Commended) were also congratulated for innovations to recover and reduce waste. 

Workpower Balcatta Reuse Shop

Workpower employees

Shopping second-hand is about more than nabbing a bargain. It's also about preventing waste from going into landfill too early. The team at the Balcatta Reuse Shop divert nearly 5,000 tonnes of waste each year, and attract around 1,600 people to the shop each month - a terrific feat. Winning awards for both the Waste Team of the Year and one of the top honours of the evening, Waste Initiative of the Year.

Other teams achieving incredible outcomes include The Wasteless Pantry, who have helped make low waste shopping accessible, enjoyable and mainstream in WA, and the Waste Education Unit at the City of Cockburn, both receiving high commendations.  

Face Your Waste 

Face Your Waste billboard

The idea of actually seeing how much waste is generated by a household over a week or fortnight captured the imaginations of many, and saw Mindarie Regional Council scoop the Waste Innovation of the Year award with its Face Your Waste initiative. This clever campaign, where residents received clear bins to use for a short period of time, challenged the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality and got people talking about waste - which is a great thing! 

Other innovations that impressed judges included the City of Joondalup's creative approach to dealing with the waste generated by fish cleaning, and Spiderwaste Collection Services which has worked with the City of Victoria Park to divert 3,309 mattresses from landfill since 2015.

Cutting food waste to landfill 

Various bin types

FOGO, or Food Organics and Garden Organics, collection is the next big thing in reducing the volume of waste WA households send to landfill. Southern Metropolitan Regional Council, together with the City of Melville, scored top marks with the judges and won the Avoid Recover Protect - Waste Management Award for the three-bin trial they implemented across almost 6,700 households. This program is helping to divert 66.5% of all household waste from landfill - a significant achievement! 

The introduction of state-wide recycling guidelines, coordinated by the Waste and Recycling Industry Association of WA, Cleanaway WA, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council, SUEZ WA and Western Australian Local Government Association was given a high commendation by the judges. The Shire of Collie was also commended for the roll out of it's FOGO program.

Waste Wise Schools 

Schools are a hotbed for learning, and, when it comes to getting a waste-wise education, it seems that Hillcrest Primary School students (pictured at top) are leading the way. From an 'eco canteen', where they create about 5kg of compost daily, to a ban on single-use plastic and a program of educational visits the school impressed the judges with its commitment, winning the title of Waste Wise School of the Year. 

Judges also recognised Lynwood Senior High School and Santa Maria College for their waste-savvy programs, with both earning high commendations from the judging panel. 

Individuals who are owning it 

WA is fortunate to have some incredibly committed individuals who do more than just reduce their waste, they're bringing others along for the ride too.

Joanne Bumbak

Environmentally-minded, Carnarvon-based entrepreneur Joanne Bumbak was awarded 2018 Waste Champion.

Passionate landlord Pam Van Effrink received a high commendation for her efforts to cut waste at the West Perth apartment building she managers, while blogger and low waste living advocate Lindsay Miles received a commendation.

Lisa Morrison

Journalist Lisa Morrison won the Media Award for her localised reporting to help bring the War on Waste to regional audiences. 

WAToday reporter Emma Young's series to take readers 'behind the plastic bags ban' earned her a high commendation.

Sacha Winter

Year 12 Presbyterian Ladies College student Sacha Winter impressed judges with her passion for driving change leading her school's waste reduction efforts to take out the Young Waste Achiever of the Year Award. 

Eight-year-olds Nina Prado and Amelie Harrison Swap Machine concept which was developed to help show their Perth College Junior School peers what can and can't be recycled received a high commendation.

Kelly Howlett

The top honour of the night went to long-time waste champion Kelly Howlett. The former Port Hedland mayor and founder of Care for Hedland Environmental Association was presented with the inaugural WA Waste Award for the countless hours she has devoted to reducing waste and pollution as a volunteer over the past 15 years. 

It's exciting to see the innovative approach being taken across all areas of business, community and government to help people living in WA to reduce their waste. If you know of any other great success stories, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line or get in touch via Facebook

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