Leaders in the New Zealand waste, recovery resource and contaminated land management sector recognised for their innovative initiatives.

Auckland Council, and Foodstuffs in partnership with EnviroNZ, were presented the top awards at 2016 Waste Management Institute New Zealand (WasteMINZ) Awards for Excellence in Wellington on Wednesday 19 October.

Auckland Council won the best communication, engagement or education initiative category for their Inorganic Collection Service, while a partnership between Foodstuffs (NZ) and EnviroNZ to reduce supermarket waste has won the award for the best project or initiative in the commercial or public sectors.

“They are both incredibly deserving winners,” said WasteMINZ Chief Executive Paul Evans. “Not only have they created sustainable programs to reduce waste and its environmental impacts, they have also demonstrated the need to positively collaborate in order to be successful.”

Communication, engagement or education award:

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Marcus Braithwaite and Ian Stupple from Auckland Council receive the award from Neil Mackenzie-Hall (EnviroNZ). 

Auckland’s new inorganic collection service was introduced in September 2015, and is a pre-booked, on-property service offered to 540,000 properties across the Auckland region.

The project is led by Auckland Council with collections undertaken by Waste Management NZ and materials sorted and distributed to community groups by the Community Recycling Network. 100 community champions were trained as part of the service in order to deliver the message at a grassroots community level.

Over 80 community groups, such as Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army, have received close to 2,000 tonnes of recovered material for reuse or sale from the service.

“We applaud Auckland Council for this project. It clearly demonstrates the benefits of councils willing to take on risk and try something new through a collaborative approach in partnership with the private and community sectors,” said Evans.

Progressive Enterprises was highly commended for its Countdown Food Rescue program.

Best project or initiative award:

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Dave Elder (EnviroNZ), Jennifer Elliott (Foodstuffs NZ) and Carol Dunn (EnviroNZ) receive the award from John Kernahan (SULO NZ).

Foodstuffs (owner of Pak’nSave and New World) and EnviroNZ were recognised for their waste minimisation program which has seen 23,500 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill in the last 12 months alone.

Working together since 2014, the businesses have developed a holistic approach to managing waste, with EnviroNZ managing the separate collection of up to ten different waste streams from stores.

Rather than focussing on reducing waste to landfill with recycling a side-line, their aim is to maximise diversion with targets of 80% diversion for stores after 12 months on the programme, and 90% after 24 months.  So far residual waste has decreased by 45%. Stores are also seeing financial benefits with the average store now saving more than $2,000 per month, which ensures the programme’s viability.

“The programme works with a broad range of partners to achieve positive waste minimisation outcomes,” said Evans.

“What was once a waste product to the store is now a valued commodity. Where possible the programme also aims to have materials utilised within New Zealand, thus minimising the environmental impact and supporting the local economy.”

4Sight Consulting was highly commended for their Benmore Pole 1 Deconstruction project.

The WasteMINZ Awards for Excellence, which were introduced in 2015, recognise key successes and advances in the New Zealand waste, resource recovery sector.