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2010 Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence Winners

Category winners of the 2010 Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence

  • Large Business Sustainability: Hydro Tasmania - Sustainability Program
  • Small Business Sustainability and Minister’s Choice: Resource Work Cooperative - Deconstruction Project
  • Community: Source Community Wholefoods Cooperative - Sustainability Demonstration Project
  • Education: Bookend Trust - Schools Engagement Program
  • Local Government: Dulverton Waste Management / Cradle Coast Councils - Kerbside Recycling Initiative
  • Environmental Stewardship: Roaring 40s / Tasmanian Land Conservancy - Eagle Habitat Protection
  • Leadership in Climate Change Action: Department of Health and Human Services - Bruny Island Community Health Centre

Award Nominations

Large Business Sustainability Award

Cascade Brewery Co Pty Ltd - Water Saving in Vinegar Production

Cascade has been driving year-on-year environmental improvements to reduce its carbon footprint for more than a decade.  In the last six years the company has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent and reduced water use by 30 per cent per unit of production.

To support and further expand these programs, Cascade embarked on a project to conserve water used to cool the acetators in vinegar production and reduce wastewater entering the sewage treatment facility. The water from the cooling process area now passes through a cooling tower in the beverage production area and back through the acetator cooling system resulting in a saving of around 2.5Kl per day.

Any excess water then goes to the recycled water tanks for re-use in other cooling activities throughout the beverage plant. A computerised data logging and flow management system has also been installed to ensure optimum performance during off-peak times.

Cement Australia - Minimising its Environmental Footprint

While still a relatively young company, Cement Australia has embarked on a journey to understand what sustainability means and what form its approach to sustainability might take. As a commercial entity, there is clearly an imperative that the company is financially successful. But it understands that longer-term financial success can be achieved only by embracing a broader view of sustainability. It does not believe that one can exist, in the longer term, without the other.

Its overarching objective is that Cement Australia develops into a sustainable business that delivers on financial, social and environmental commitments today, all the while ensuring a long-term capability to do this in the future.

This objective links with the company vision to be the leader in cement in Australia. To achieve and maintain this vision, and with a view to achieving a sustainable future, the three core inter-related elements of sustainable performance, partnerships and practices must be managed in parallel.

Hydro Tasmania - Sustainability Program

By encouraging the development and implementation of sustainable practices across its organisation, Hydro Tasmania is addressing community and stakeholder expectations while at the same time ensuring its long-term business success and sustainability.

Sustainability is embraced throughout the organisation. The Board of Directors has established an Environment and Sustainability Committee to specifically consider sustainability issues. A business-wide Sustainability Working Group assists in setting the direction and reporting of sustainability. Working Group members also act as champions of sustainability throughout the business.

Over the past two years the organisation has implemented a range of projects to embed sustainability into the business. Primary among these is the evolution of a balanced Sustainability Scorecard employing the six sustainability principles to guide the development and implementation of Hydro Tasmania’s business strategy.

Hydro Tasmania has also developed a sustainability self-assessment process. The results are reported annually and assessed externally against the AA1000 Assurance Standard for materiality, completeness and responsiveness.

Nyrstar Hobart - Foreshore Stack Plume Abatement Project

As Tasmania’s largest exporter, Nyrstar Hobart prides itself on the sustainable conduct of its business. It rises to the challenge of operating in an environmentally sound and socially responsible manner while continuing to address the legacy of past practices at the zinc works.

Nyrstar’s Environmental Management System is accredited to the ISO 14001 standard ensuring that significant risks are addressed and resources are targeted to achieve the greatest benefit. A standout example of how Nyrstar values its place in the Hobart environment and responds to the wishes of its surrounding community is the $12million foreshore stack plume abatement project – implemented with no financial or regulatory impetus.

The plume was a source of nuisance and concern to both Nyrstar and stakeholders. In recognition of Nyrstar’s desire to maintain its "social licence" to operate, an electrostatic mist precipitator was installed on the foreshore gas system in June 2009 and has since been highly successful in eliminating the emission.

Rio Tinto Alcan - Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Management System

Rio Tinto Alcan’s Bell Bay aluminium smelter is committed to operating its assets sustainably and to continually improving its health, safety and environment performance to achieve its goal of zero injury, health effects and environmental harm. To this end it uses the Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Management System (HSEQ MS) to set targets, to plan to reach these targets, to track compliance and to reward performance.

The HSEQ MS is a documented and verifiable set of plans, actions and procedures to systematically manage all health, safety, environment and quality aspects of the operation. Its framework is the primary driver to the continuous improvement cycle. It is documented under 17 elements which are essentially an expansion of a "plan, do, check, act" cycle.

Three elements of this system relate specifically to setting targets and planning for environmental improvement. They ensure staff are aware of their accountabilities with respect to environmental performance and managing environmental risks.

Small Business Sustainability Award

Clydesdale Manor - Integrating Sustainability Principles

Clydesdale Manor, a small heritage-listed hotel in Hobart, has embraced a responsibility to become an environmentally sustainable business. It was the first hotel in Hobart in 2009 to be awarded the Eco-Friendly STAR Accreditation by AAA Tourism, the internationally recognised performance improvement program for the tourism industry.

Over the past two years the owners have been steadily working towards adopting successful environmental practices and integrating sustainability principles. Recognised as an evolving work in progress, the initial focus has been on energy efficiency, water management, waste minimisation and recycling. As well as implementing several in-house strategies, various suppliers have taken up the challenge to reduce the impact of packaging of both goods and delivery.

After participating in both the 2009 and 2010 Earth Hour programs it is now a tradition at Clydesdale Manor to use candle power in the foyer and drawing rooms each Saturday evening.

Nichols Poultry Pty Ltd - Renewable Energy Initiative

In 2008 Nichols Poultry Pty Ltd became an industry leader with a plan to generate its own renewable energy to ensure a sustainable future. The construction of a 225KW wind turbine generator has enabled the company to have long-term energy security while providing brand recognition as being a business that is committed to all aspects of environmental excellence.

A second-hand Danish turbine was secured with the assistance of a CleanBiz grant in 2008 and to date it has exceeded expectations with close to 100 per cent reliability. Power generation has been in the vicinity of 50 per cent of the company’s requirements, providing security and savings while reducing CO2 emissions by an estimated 250 tonnes per annum.

Nichols Poultry has embraced other sustainable farming concepts including wetland preservation, creation of frog habitats, fencing of streams and creeks to minimise stock damage, and water treatment and recycling principles.

Resource Work Cooperative - Deconstruction Project

Materials from a large warehouse and former whaler’s cottage in Hobart will be reincarnated as a sustainability centre after a "hands-on" demolition project undertaken by the Resource Work Cooperative.

Ninety-eight per cent of all material from the demolition site was reused or recycled, with approximately half of that earmarked for a new School's Together sustainability centre.

While most demolition projects are completed quickly and invariably use heavy machinery, the Resource Work Cooperative salvage team of 12 dismantled the buildings by hand considerably reducing the project’s environmental footprint. An enormous volume and variety of materials was recovered. Even "waste" material was reused with rotten hardwood transformed into mulch and broken bricks set aside for road base and clean fill.

The Resource Work Cooperative, which also operates the South Hobart Tipshop, worked in collaboration with Morrison & Breytenbach Architects, the Department of Education and Housing Tasmania to achieve exemplary environmental outcomes.

Community Award

Bookend Trust - Bookend Community Engagement Program

The Bookend program seeks to engage the community to show that good, co-operative environmental solutions can be found that strike a workable balance between environmental management and development. The community can use Bookend to tap directly into the work of university students building their own careers in a range of different environmental disciplines. The public can also participate directly in on-ground projects via field courses, interact with the on-ground environmental investigations of a travelling teacher (Expedition Class), view online and DVD documentary material produced by local students, or attend presentations by students and others to appreciate what can be achieved in Tasmania. Bookend has supported major public presentations by Bryce Courtenay and Chris Jordan and has hosted the national launch of international environmental documentaries and exhibitions in Tasmania. Bookend is backed by donations and commitments from private individuals interested in benefiting Tasmanian students and the community into the future.

Friends of Maatsuyker Island - Weed Removal Project

The success of a program to remove invasive weeds from Maatsuyker Island highlights the achievements of a volunteer community group working in partnership with government, non-government organisations and other community groups.

The Friends of Maatsuyker Island group has coordinated working bees over several years on the remote island in the Southwest National Park to restore burrowing seabird habitat threatened by invasive weeds. Weeds are incompatible with the island’s wilderness classification and world heritage status as they modify the native vegetation and negatively impact on the burrowing seabirds that migrate annually to the island to nest and breed.

The ongoing war on weeds, in particular blackberry, montbrecia and hebe elliptica, has led to the recolonisation of native vegetation and habitat renewal for short tailed shearwaters, fairy prions and the threatened soft-plumaged petrel. The project has achieved widespread recognition and has formed the basis of a case study for the national Blackberry Best Practice Manual.

Penguin Leo Club - Central Coast Community Litter Reduction Project

This community-driven research and education project was sparked by a youth community group approaching local government about reducing littering and raising awareness of Tasmania’s new litter laws.

With assistance from the Sustainability Programs Section of the EPA Division (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment) the Leo Club of Penguin is now working with stakeholders, including local businesses and the Central Coast Council, to develop a social marketing strategy aimed at achieving behavioural change towards littering in the Central Coast municipality.

Based on the premise that littering is a whole-of-community problem, the project focuses on improving waste management practices, increasing recycling rates and highlighting cigarette butts as a major littering issue.

To date this innovative project has included focus group workshops, litter counts and analyses, road and bin signs, targeted litter reduction campaigns in the commercial centres of two towns and a campaign against cigarette butt litter in conjunction with business owners.

Source Community Wholefoods Cooperative - Sustainability Demonstration Project

Source is Tasmania's first comprehensive urban sustainability demonstration project. It incorporates an organic wholefoods cooperative, a community garden and a green waste recycling station. A volunteer-led project, it increases the sense of community in Hobart by bringing students and the wider community together around issues of urban sustainability.

Source is centred around an organic food cooperative on the University of Tasmania Sandy Bay campus. It provides minimally packaged, organic and/or local foods at not-for-profit prices for students and the wider community.

The site exemplifies sustainable building concepts and promotes water conservation with an urban grey-water reuse system and rainwater tanks for garden and orchard watering.

The project provides training and opportunities to share knowledge in skills such as organic gardening, sustainable building, sustainable consumption, teamwork, financial management, volunteer co-ordination, community facilitation and project management.

Source has been developed as a model for replication in other areas.

Sustainable Living Tasmania - Supporting Change and Empowering Action

Over the last few years there has been a shift in community understanding and concern and a growing desire for information and support for householder and community change towards sustainability. Sustainable Living Tasmania is a key community organisation responding to this concern and interest, raising awareness, and catalysing and supporting engagement and action on sustainable living and climate change.

SLT has organised training and provided on-going support to individuals and groups engaged in Transition Towns initiatives, it has responded to hundreds of requests for sustainable living information and has helped many households make their homes more sustainable with small scale retrofits and mentoring. The organisation has also supported and facilitated many events and projects by providing organisational support.

Sustainable Living Tasmania’s community standing means that it has established valuable partnerships with business and government and with community to enable real change.

Education Award

Bookend Trust - Bookend Schools Engagement Program

Bookend is a diverse initiative supporting teachers and engaging students on several fronts, inspiring them to solve rather than dwell on environmental challenges. Tasmania is an ideal location to develop a strong, solutions-based environmental economy, and Bookend believes that careers and opportunities can be built if students are given the spark to find them. Bookend's work includes the interactive, online "Expedition Class" which has doubled student participation in each preceding year, and is targeting 5,000 participants in 2010. Bookend produces scholarship-supported student documentary material for schools, and was the only non-Government/non-business sponsor for last year's Tasmanian visit by internationally renowned sustainability artist Chris Jordan. This is all possible through the voluntary effort, donation and commitment of private individuals interested in seeing what Tasmanian students can achieve. Bookend was awarded the 2008 Pride of Australia Medal for environmental endeavour in Tasmania, and Expedition Class won the 2009 Australian Geographic Spirit of Adventure Award.

Local Government Award

Clarence City Council - Rosny Park Tennis Club Car Park

Clarence City Council is the first Australian council to used recycled crushed glass as sand replacement in asphaltic concrete. In partnership with Hazell Bros, Veolia and the Packaging Stewardship Forum, Clarence City Council built a demonstration site at the Rosny Park Tennis Club car park. Project engineers used recycled crushed glass to replace virgin sand in pipe bedding, concrete kerb and gutters, concrete footpaths and bitumen asphalt surface.

The $87,000 project used 53 tonnes of recycled glass sand in the works, avoiding the mining of 53 tonnes of virgin sand from southern Tasmania’s rapidly depleting natural sand reserves. This has given new life to glass that previously went to landfill.

The successful car park project will assist to find markets for 20,000 tonnes per year of recycled container glass and offers a real-world reference for other Australian councils when considering the use of recycled crushed glass in asset projects.

Devonport City Council - Devonport Road Network Strategy

The Devonport City Council is taking a proactive approach to the management of its road network by developing a Road Network Strategy (RNS) to provide a long-term vision to meet the needs of the community, business, tourism and industry. The Strategy also provides a framework to build on past and current actions as well as consider options to improve the road network in the future.

The RNS provides a transport-related framework for integrating sustainability into the management of the existing road network, and directly developing sustainable transport objectives and initiatives. The key achievement is the development of a strategy to specifically manage road network and transport issues. It integrates areas of sustainable transport, asset management, regional connectivity, economic development, traffic management and road safety in full consultation with the community and key stakeholders.

The RNS model can be readily adapted to any local government network and policy framework.

Dulverton Waste Management and Cradle Coast Councils – North-West Regional Recycling

The Cradle Coast Recycling Program involves the joint contract of seven north-west councils, Central Coast, Devonport City, Kentish, Burnie City, Waratah Wynyard, Circular Head and Latrobe, facilitated and managed by Dulverton Waste Management with Veolia Environmental Services. This innovative $15 million contract will see the rollout of a kerbside recycling service to 37,000 households and kerbside collection services until 2019.

The success of this project speaks for itself, based on six months of collections. Participation in kerbside recycling has increased from 23 per cent up to the current rate of 70 per cent. The contamination rate (materials that should not be placed in recycling bins), is low 4 per cent, the lowest in Tasmania and one of the lowest rates in Australia.

Households previously recycled on average 95kg of waste each year. The recycling program is now achieving 216 kg per household a year – an astounding 230 per cent increase.

Glenorchy City Council - Concrete Crushing Operations a Diversion from Landfill

Concrete material which would normally be buried in the landfill section of Glenorchy City Council’s Jackson St Waste Management Centre is now diverted to an on-site crushing operation for reuse. Construction and demolition waste material, including concrete, is delivered to a designated area of the waste facility and then crushed to be re-used by council or sold. All the material produced by the concrete crusher can be reused as road base, drain lining and as sub-base materials under driveways, footpaths and roads. Reinforced steel materials are also recovered as part of the operation.

Since the project was commissioned, the crusher has processed 24,000 tonnes of concrete material and 100 tonnes of steel reinforcing has been recovered. As well as reusing materials and decreasing demand for new resources, the project also reduces environmental impact by diverting large quantities of recoverable concrete materials from landfill.

Southern Tasmanian Councils - Authority Home Energy Audit Toolkit

Home Energy Audit Toolkits (HEAT) offer Tasmanian households a real opportunity to better understand and take control of their energy use. They enable households to undertake home energy audits in their own time and space and provide practical and affordable suggestions on how to save energy and money on energy bills. Importantly they promote an understanding of domestic energy use that can lead to lasting behaviour change and ongoing savings.

The kits contain equipment to measure electricity consumption of appliances, check for leaks around fridge doors and the effectiveness of ceiling insulation, assist in determining flow rate of hot water from showers and taps, and identify the orientation of homes for installing passive solar and solar technologies.

Developed through the Southern Tasmania Councils Authority Regional Climate Change Initiative by the Hobart City Council, the toolkits can be borrowed from the 12 participating councils, with troubleshooting support provided by Sustainable Living Tasmania.

Environmental Stewardship Award

Gunns Ltd - Conservation Management of Biodiversity and Threatened Species Values in Montane Grasslands of North-West Tasmania

The montane grasslands and moorlands of north-west Tasmania occur on a range of land tenures including 4,788 hectares of Gunns Ltd’s Surrey Hills Estate. Most of the grasslands are dominated by Poa labillardierei (white grass or tussock grass) and are listed as a threatened vegetation community under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002.

Management of the high conservation values of the grasslands was formalised with the Tasmanian Government in December 2009. A voluntary Conservation Covenant was registered on the Gunns land title to permanently reserve approximately 1,880 hectares and a 10-year Vegetation Management Agreement completed to cover all the estate grasslands. Gunns actively manages these grasslands for maintenance of biodiversity and natural values on a voluntary basis, with particular focus on maintaining habitat for the threatened Ptunarra brown butterfly (Oreixenica ptunarra) through ecological burning and wasp eradication and monitoring the endangered crowded leek orchid (Prasophyllum crebriflorm).

GHD and Nyrstar - Groundwater Interception System

The Derwent Estuary is an integral part of Tasmania’s heritage and an important and productive ecosystem supporting a variety of flora and fauna. The estuary has suffered impacts from past industrial practices, resulting in extremely high levels of heavy metal contamination.

The Derwent Estuary Program recognised that diffuse groundwater inputs from the Hobart zinc smelter were a major ongoing source of this pollution. Acknowledging the need to address legacies at the Hobart smelter, Nyrstar commissioned the Groundwater Interception System (GIS), a free draining, horizontal bore system designed to reduce discharge of contaminated groundwater to the river.

Operational since mid-2009, the GIS has already recovered approximately 61 tonnes of zinc, 1.5 tonnes of cadmium, three tonnes of aluminium and 175 tonnes of sulphate, all of which otherwise would have entered the river ecosystem via groundwater. The GIS has provided significant environmental benefit to the Derwent and will play a key role in the future improvement, and ultimately sustainable management, of this critical ecosystem.

Friends of Maatsuyker Island - Maatsuyker Island Weed Eradication

A relentless campaign by volunteers on Maatsuyker Island has made huge inroads into restoring burrowing seabird habitat threatened by invasive weeds.

Working in partnership with government and non-government organisations as well as other community groups, the Friends of Maatsuyker Island group has staged working bees over several years on the remote island in the Southwest National Park.

Weeds are incompatible with the island’s wilderness classification and world heritage status as they modify the native vegetation and negatively impact on the burrowing seabirds that migrate annually to the island to nest and breed.

The ongoing war on weeds, in particular blackberry, montbrecia and hebe elliptica, has led to the  recolonisation of native vegetation and habitat renewal for short tailed shearwaters, fairy prions and the threatened soft-plumaged petrel.

The project has achieved widespread recognition and has formed the basis of a case study for the national Blackberry Best Practice Manual.

Roaring 40s and Tasmanian Land Conservancy - Eagle Habitat Protection

A partnership between wind energy supplier Roaring 40s and the not-for-profit Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) is protecting threatened eagle nesting habitat across Tasmania. Roaring 40s engaged the TLC to assist because of its expertise in achieving outstanding conservation outcomes and protection of significant environmental values.

In response to Australian Government approval conditions and in line with the objectives of the State Government’s Threatened Tasmanian Eagles Recovery Plan: 2006-2010, perpetual and fixed-term covenants now protect 428 hectares of eagle habitat, tripling the area required by Roaring 40s’ approval conditions. The project has exceeded expectations with the protection of nine wedge-tailed eagle and seven white-bellied sea eagle nests.

Roaring 40s has provided additional funding to monitor the protected nests to determine nesting activity and breeding success. The program has also led to the discovery of new eagle nests, protection of habitat for the Tasmanian devil, swift parrot and forty spotted pardalote, and protection of 33 hectares of threatened native vegetation communities.

West Coast Weed and Fire Management Group - Cooperative Weed Management

The West Coast Weed and Fire Management Group comprises land managers with a common goal to control environmental weeds in Tasmania’s remote West Coast region.  Weeds have proliferated with fluctuations in industrial activity, leading the group to adopt a strategic and cooperative approach to protect the area’s natural values. Efforts are equally focussed on community education and on-ground best practice weed control to gain sustainable and long-term weed and fire management outcomes.

The group pools funds and resources to achieve valuable and responsible land management objectives. The wide experience of stakeholders has enabled the group to effectively progress weed management and it has been instrumental in repairing and enhancing land, rivers, lakes and estuarine and marine environments. Between February 2008 and February 2010 the WCWFMG reclaimed more than 300 hectares of land from gorse and employed a project officer and field officer.

Leadership in Climate Change Action Award

Department of Health and Human Services - Bruny Island Community Health Centre

The new Bruny Island Health Centre is designed to be the first zero energy building constructed in Tasmania by the Department of Health and Human Services. Located on the picturesque but exposed and windy site at Alonnah on Bruny Island, it was an ideal candidate for the inclusion of a 10kW wind turbine which will be a net energy generator back into the local electricity grid.

Passive solar design features, including building orientation and energy efficient external fabric and glazing, ensure the building will be very energy efficient at the outset. But the addition of a 1.5kW photovoltaic solar array, evacuated tube solar hot water, energy efficient lighting and the wind turbine have created the most energy efficient building in the DHHS property portfolio. There is no loss of service functionality and the building will be used as a learning tool across the broader range of DHHS properties.

Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority - Home Energy Audit Toolkit

Home Energy Audit Toolkits offer Tasmanian households a real opportunity to better understand and take control of their energy use. Households can undertake energy audits in their own time and space as well as providing practical and affordable suggestions on how to save energy and money on energy bills. Importantly, the toolkits promote an understanding of domestic energy use that can lead to lasting behaviour change and ongoing savings.

They contain equipment to measure electricity consumption of appliances, check for leaks around fridge doors and the effectiveness of ceiling insulation, assist in determining flow rate of hot water from showers and taps, and identify the orientation of homes for installing passive solar and solar technologies.

Developed through the Southern Tasmania Councils Authority Regional Climate Change Initiative by the Hobart City Council, the toolkits can be borrowed from the 12 participating councils, with troubleshooting support provided by Sustainable Living Tasmania.

Waste Minimisation Officer
134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4599 Fax: 03 6173 0254
Email: EnvironmentEnquiries@environment.tas.gov.au