Neville Smith Forest Products Pty Ltd of Mowbray has won this year’s 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.
EPA Board Chair, Warren Jones congratulated Neville Smith Forest Products at the Tasmanian Achievement Awards Online Presentation on Friday 6 November. He said that it was a well-deserved win by the company, which has demonstrated a clear commitment to environmental sustainability.
“The company is diverting a significant waste from its timber processing and converting it into a biofuel that burns more efficiently,” Mr Jones said.
“The timber waste includes dust, off-cuts and sawdust which would otherwise decompose in landfill releasing methane into the environment,” he said.
“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,” Mr Jones said.
The Sustainability Award is one amongst nine other Award categories in the Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards, and is specifically aimed at businesses that have developed and implemented cleaner production initiatives, and can demonstrate measurable improvements in pollution prevention, energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimisation and/or resource efficiency.
Mr Jones said that the EPA had received the largest number of submissions for the Award this year with 43 applicants – double the number in previous years. He went on to acknowledge the other Sustainability Award category entries and the other three finalists, being Kingborough Council, The Good Car Company and Harvest Launceston Community Farmers Market.
Kingborough Council of Kingston 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. This year alone, Kingborough Council will have 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 the life of a Reconophalt road surface, it is recycled again, contributing to real circular economy outcomes.
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 also 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 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 Food Organic Garden Organic (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.