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Volunteer program and green beer big winners in environment awards

A program to help volunteers get involved with community environment projects and a new carbon-neutral beer are the major winners in the 10th Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence.

The Tasmanian Landcare Association’s Extra Hands program won three of eight awards including the coveted Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

The Cascade Brewery’s energy conservation program and its new carbon-neutral beer won the Large Business Sustainability Award and the Premier’s Award for Climate Action.

The Minister for Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts, Michelle O’Byrne, congratulated all award entrants for setting new benchmarks in environmental protection and preservation.
She said that over the past decade Tasmanian industry, government and community groups have supported the awards with exciting and innovative projects addressing vital sustainability issues.

"The Extra Hands program was a practical way to entice greater community participation in a variety of important environmental projects," Ms O’Byrne said.

"It is a clever concept because it is a winner all round. Those who genuinely want to contribute to meaningful projects but are strapped for time or opportunity can enrol as an extra hand and work on their own terms."

This year’s awards were judged by the Banksia Environmental Foundation. All category winners are automatically nominated for the foundation’s national awards to be announced in July 2008.

The Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence will be announced at an awards dinner at Wrest Point in Hobart tonight.

The 2008 Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence category winners and their projects are:

Large Business Sustainability Award
Cascade Brewery Company Pty Ltd - Sustainability Program - Cascade has been driving environmental improvements to reduce its carbon footprint for over a decade. In the last six years, it has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent and reduced water use by three per cent per unit of production. Environmental improvement opportunities have been highlighted in the supply chain of Cascade products, particularly water and greenhouse gas emissions. It has recently introduced Cascade Green, a 100 per cent carbon offset beer.

Small Business Sustainability Award
at+m integrated marketing - Rethinking Environmental Initiatives - An Environmental Management System across its entire business has enabled at+m integrated marketing to offer clients environmentally responsible marketing solutions, including the Rethink® printing process. The company has reduced its chemical use by 20 per cent, trade waste by 41 per cent, and its overall output of waste by 39 per cent. It is setting new industry standards, particularly in recycling, where 97 per cent of all the waste generated within the business is now recycled.

Education Award
Tasmanian Landcare Association - Extra Hands: A Dating Agency for Sustainability - Volunteers are lining up to join the Extra Hands casual volunteer placement program that links them to activities for environmental work. It has strategically targeted schools and other educational institutions matching education-focused environmental activities to "care" groups. Extra Hands offers a wide range of custom-designed environmental activities to deliver educational outcomes while contributing to the sustainable management of Tasmania’s land and water.

Community Award

Tasmanian Landcare Association - Extra Hands: Volunteer Placement Program - The Extra Hands volunteer placement program links people who want a casual volunteer experience with places that need assistance. It provides Tasmanians with an easy and safe way to volunteer by providing insurance coverage, on the job training and an opportunity to build practical skills. Most of all, it offers a positive, obligation-free, casual volunteer experience that contributes to the sustainability of Tasmania’s environment.

Local Government Award
Clarence City Council - Clarence Recycled Water Scheme - The Clarence Recycled Water Scheme diverts treated effluent from the Coal River and the sensitive Pittwater wetlands for agricultural and horticultural use. By substituting recycled water it has the potential to free up 645 megalitres of potable water and at the same time protects native habitat and valuable aquaculture assets. Strict environmental monitoring enables a supply of nutrient-rich water to 29 users. The scheme shows responsible regional economic development.

Environmental Stewardship Award
Greening Australia/Derwent Catchment Natural Resource Management Committee - Derwent River Recovery Program - Greening Australia has joined the Derwent Catchment Natural Resource Management Committee and other partners in a holistic approach to protect and enhance the Derwent River catchment area. Strategic action by the Derwent River Recovery Program is building momentum to ensure the region continues to function as a great provider.
Greening Australia has liaised with landholders and community groups for a variety of environmental projects.

Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence
Tasmanian Landcare Association - Extra Hands: A Dating Agency for Sustainability / Volunteer Placement Program - The Extra Hands program links Tasmanians who want a casual volunteer experience with places that need assistance. Extra Hands customises every volunteer experience with a community group undertaking environmental work and has strategically targeted schools. It provides people with an easy and safe way to volunteer and offers a positive, obligation-free, casual volunteer experience that contributes to the sustainability of Tasmania’s environment.

Premier’s Award for Climate Action
Cascade Brewery Company Pty Ltd - Cascade Green Carbon Neutral Beer - Cascade has produced a 100 per cent carbon offset beer certified by the Australian Greenhouse Friendly Program (GFP) highlighting the brewery’s commitment to the environment and pure, local ingredients. Cascade Green has initially purchased certified carbon offsets for the Hobart Landfill Flare Facility but ways to reduce the brewery’s carbon emission footprint are being pursued further to produce greener products across the company’s portfolio.