The EPA's vision is for a Tasmania that is clean, healthy and sustainable. EPA's objective is to protect and enhance the quality of the Tasmanian environment in balance with economic and social values, and the needs of future generations.
The EPA Sustainability Award is part of the Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards, run by Awards Australia, and aims to acknowledge businesses from any industry sector who have developed and implemented cleaner production initiatives that have delivered measurable improvements in preventing pollution, conserving energy and water, minimising waste and maximising resource efficiency.
Submissions should be for a project or initiative that results in measurable improvements in any or all of the following areas: energy efficiency, water conservation, resource efficiency, waste minimisation; and results in wider community or flow-on benefits to the sector.
Neville Smith Forest Products Pty Ltd of Mowbray won the 2020 EPA Sustainability Award for its commitment to cleaner production, waste minimisation and energy efficiency, and demonstrating measurable benefits to the environment and the timber industry through its business innovation and leadership
The Company installed a pellet factory mill at its Mowbray Remount Road site, removing tonnes of timber processing residue from landfill to produce a consumer product of wood pellets (in 15kg bags) for use in pellet heaters, boilers, outdoor fires or barbecues.
The company is diverting a significant waste from timber processing and converting it into a biofuel that burns more efficiently. The timber waste includes dust, off-cuts and sawdust which would otherwise decompose in landfill releasing methane into the environment.
The pellets are burnt at a relatively high temperature in the pellet heating devices, improving efficiency and reducing harmful emissions, delivering both environmental and cost benefits to consumers.
Neville Smith has achieved economic benefits by broadening its revenue base and product portfolio, reducing reliance on the construction industry and improving financial stability. The company has demonstrated leadership in the timber industry, showing the benefits of its approach to business and environmental sustainability, and this is a strategy that can be replicated by other forestry industry stakeholders.
The other three finalists were
- Kingborough Council for the use of an asphalt product that incorporates recycled materials. The Kingborough Council has adopted the use of an innovative new asphalt product manufactured by Downer called Reconophalt. Reconophalt incorporates recycled products such as soft plastics, waste toner, recycled asphalt pavement and recycled glass to deliver an improved life for road surfaces by up to three years. During 2020 alone, Kingborough Council helped to divert the following from landfill; 876,316 plastic bags, 355,200 glass bottles and 25,615 printer cartridges, creating a saving of approximately 7 Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. At the end of its life a Reconophalt road surface can be recycled again, contributing to real circular economy outcomes.
- The Good Car Company for their work in increasing the affordability of electric cars for individuals and businesses. The Good Car Company of Mount Stuart was created in 2019 to decarbonise transport. They import preowned electric vehicles, reducing the new car price, to provide affordable electric cars to individuals and businesses. They conducted Australia's first Electric Vehicle Bulk-Buy and offer rentals and access to finance to further reduce the cost of driving electric. The Good Car Company has enabled the South Hobart community to reduce tailpipe emissions by 72 tonnes of C02 each year, by taking 24 internal combustion engine vehicles off the roads, resulting in lower climate impact and quieter streets. Used batteries can be recycled, where 99% of the materials can be recovered.
- Harvest Launceston Community Farmers Market for the introduction of Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) bins and waste education for marketgoers. They are rapidly progressing towards their ambitious goal of 'zero-waste' by 2021. A waste audit identified 95% of all waste generated at a single Harvest market could be composted. Six FOGO bins have been introduced at each market and each bin is managed by designated volunteer 'Waste Educators' who provide direction, education and advice to marketgoers on how to correctly dispose of their rubbish. Since FOGO was introduced at Harvest, 82,320 litres of waste have been diverted to compost. This equates to 98% of Harvest's total waste that would otherwise have been processed as recycling or general landfill.
Lion Dairy & Drinks of Lenah Valley won the 2019 EPA Sustainability Award for its commitment to cleaner production, waste minimisation and environmental sustainability.
Lion Dairy & Drinks operates a Level 2 industrial milk processing facility in Lenah Valley, which is regulated by the EPA.
Wastewater generated at the site is disposed of to sewer under a Trade Waste Water Agreement with TasWater but over a five year period, the company reduced its milk waste by 50 percent, halving the biological oxygen demand of its sewerage waste.
The company increased its overall production while implementing a range of sustainability measures, focusing on technology and process efficiencies.
Multiple operational improvements were made based on clean production principles and technology, targeting waste capture and resource use. Examples of the latter include providing local pig farmers with waste milk products and donating other viable milk products, with minor imperfections such as incorrect coding, to community groups.
The company also runs community tours of the factory, spreading information about its environmentally sustainable practices.
The other three finalists were
- Southern Waste Solutions for developing the Copping C Cell for the burial of hazardous waste. This reduce the need for shipment of hazardous wastes from Tasmanian industries and Antarctica, thus reducing the risk of waste spill in transit, carbon footprint and cost of transport. It also eliminated the need for long-term storage of hazardous material and is reducing the environmental risks of contaminated waste stockpiled around the State. The company overcame intensive media scrutiny and community opposition during a drawn-out development process. Between November 2018 and November 2019, Southern Waste Solutions accepted over 2,000 tonnes of contaminated material at the Copping site, which was purpose built with best practice environmental management, including specifications beyond current regulatory requirements.
- Hobart Airport for improved waste management practices. With an aim to increase the diversion of waste to landfill by more than 25 percent, Hobart Airport developed a waste management strategy in May 2018 with a goal of understanding waste streaming. In February 2019, a three-stream waste segregation initiative was introduced in the Departures area following months of research. The three streams were Landfill, Commingled Recycling and Organics and required the installation of new bin systems, which provide clear directions on waste segregation for passengers and visitors. After extensive consultation, major food and beverage outlets have commenced segregation and transition to compostable packing.
- Salamanca Market for its innovative waste minimisation initiatives. Being Tasmania's most visited tourist attraction, with nearly a million visitors annually and with one tonne of waste produced weekly, the Market engaged consultants to perform three waste audits. Their report resulted in Market stallholders committing to several waste initiatives and recycling programs that have seen the elimination of single use plastic, replacement with biodegradable packaging, organic bins for composting and the direct recycling of plastic bags for the production of public benches. As a result of these efforts, there has been a significant and measurable reduction in waste going to landfill as well as broad scale community education and social flow-on benefits. In June 2019, Salamanca Market reached a major milestone of being single-use plastic bag free.
Clean Rivers and Fert$mart Partners of Port Sorell won the 2018 Award for their achievements in protecting and improving water quality on dairy farms around the State.
The EPA Sustainability Award acknowledges businesses that have developed and implemented cleaner production initiatives, delivering a measurable improvement in pollution prevention, energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimisation and/or resource efficiency.
Clean Rivers and Fert$mart Partners collaborated with DairyTas, farmers, industry and NRM Tasmania on a range of practical projects aimed at protecting and improving water quality.
The 'Clean Rivers' and 'Cows out of Creeks' projects involved 137 farmers, resulting in increased effluent storage volumes and extended effluent irrigation areas.
200 farms also completed Fert$mart plans for best practice management of fertiliser and effluent.
The other two finalists were
- Tasmanian Alkaloids for implementing improvements to reduce waste and raw material consumption. Tasmanian Alkaloids of Westbury is one of the businesses regulated by the EPA. It is a fully integrated manufacturer of controlled substances providing alkaloid raw materials from poppies grown in Tasmania. Recent manufacturing innovations have resulted in significant environmental improvements in waste reduction and raw material consumption. Innovations in 2017 resulted in a 100 percent reduction in offsite disposal of flammable waste solvent, a 90 percent reduction in offsite disposal of aqueous process waste and a 35 percent reduction of raw material solvent purchases per unit production.
- Plasticwise Taroona for its works as a not-for-profit community organisation reducing plastic waste with over 2,000 hours of volunteer time being used. Prior to the awards, they had run over 20 beeswax-wrap making workshops in schools and crowdfunded $6,000 to subsidise further workshops. They created Tasmania's first 'bag library', providing retailers with 1,500 handmade reusable cloth bags, made from donated, recycled materials. Customers who forget bags, can borrow a bag and return it later.
2017 - Hobart City Council for its Waste Management Strategy 2015-30, a blueprint to achieve zero waste to landfill
2016 - Botanical Resources Australia (BRA) and Greenhams Tasmania for their conversion of pyrethrum waste into clean biofuel briquettes as a substitute for coal
2015 - Veolia for its design of a $7 million waste management depot at Sorell
2014 - Hazell Bros Group for their environmental management and rehabilitation at the Leslie Vale Quarry
2013 - Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary for its education and conservation programs promoting caring for wildlife
For more information about the Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards, and how to submit an application for the EPA Sustainability Award, go to the Awards Australia website.