awardsThis year, for the very first time, we have introduced the WasteMINZ Awards for Excellence, which will be presented at the WasteMINZ conference gala dinner. This was in response to feedback from members that WasteMINZ should play a greater role in recognising the many successes and advances made right across our industry.

There will be four awards presented at the gala dinner on Wednesday 21 October, these are.

  • Best expo site (judged from those exhibiting at the conference)
  • Best written paper (judged from papers presented at the conference)
  • Best communication, engagement or education initiative (judged from applicants)
  • Best project or initiative in the commercial or public sectors (judged from applicants)

We received a total of 22 applications for the two application based awards. We are now very pleased to announce the outstanding finalists in each of the two categories.

Best communication, engagement or education initiative

E-toolbox (Waste Management NZ)

The E-toolbox is a selection of short videos developed for Waste Management’s Wellington Recycling branch. They relate to specific health and safety topics and are communicated in both English and Samoan.

Each topic relates to one of the top 12 risk focus areas identified at the branch. Each month, a new topic is communicated, for example, handling sharps, manual handling and vehicle/pedestrian interactions.

Feedback from employees at the Wellington branch highlighted that Samoan workers accounted for over 50% of the workforce. For many of these workers, English is a second language and there was the very real possibility that they were not getting the critical health and safety messages due to language barriers. Waste Management had previously translated hard copy toolbox material into Samoan and a translator had been trialed, however success in transferring the messages was limited.

With the new health and safety legislation, everyone needs to step up and take greater accountability and responsibility for health and safety, a new approach was required, and so the birth of E-toolbox.

Judging panel’s comments:

  • A unique way to build engagement and participation with respect to health and safety
  • Provided an innovative solution to a well identified issue, which prioritised key risk areas
  • Demonstrated strong buy-in from staff, with many staff members vying to be in coming E-toolbox videos


Gearing up for change (Central Otago District Council)

In late 2013 Central Otago District Council, and a number of community partners, launched the Gearing Up For Change campaign. They were ‘gearing up’ for the introduction of a fortnightly rubbish collection across the district from 1 July 2014.

The move from a weekly to fortnightly collection had been agreed to by community and Council as one of the actions within the Waste Minimisation and Management Plan 2012 to lead “Towards Zero Waste and a Sustainable Central Otago”.

The Council recognised that the change would not be popular with everyone and would be challenging for many, so sought to help prepare and transition the community with a focused programme of communications, learning opportunities and engagement.

Judging panel’s comments:

  • Clearly identified the need to proactively communicate a challenging service level change and the rationale behind the change
  • Undertook a well planned and fully integrated approach to communicating the key messages, within a very limited budget
  • Effectively partnered with community based organisations to maximise community reach


Make the most of waste (Auckland Council)

In September 2014, Auckland Council launched Make the Most of Waste. This engagement and education campaign steps Aucklanders through new waste services as they are introduced to the region over the coming years and supports them to adopt waste minimisation behaviours.

The first campaign launched focused on recycling. It was designed to tackle the increasing issue of wrong items in recycling bins; helping all Aucklanders to become better recyclers. Recycling is a familiar topic which provided an entry point to ease Aucklanders into the region’s waste story.

The recycling campaign integrated a community engagement approach with mass media and public relations and included creation of Over 6,000 households across nine areas were directly visited by Council’s WasteWise Advisors and the Council worked with local champions in targeted areas to share key recycling messages with householders.

Judging panel’s comments:

  • Undertook a sophisticated, well planned and fully integrated approach to communicating the key messages
  • Developed a significant launch event to generate high levels of media coverage
  • Significant investment in “face to face” interactions in targeted areas through the Council’s  WasteWise Advisors


The Great DDT muster (3R Group)

The Great DDT Muster is a current project undertaken by 3R Group to identify, collect and dispose of any Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which remain stored on properties in New Zealand. DDT is the most well-known and most common of all POPs, but a dozen chemicals fit into this classification.

The project, funded by an application to the Waste Minimisation Fund, launched publicly in early 2015. Collection activity has commenced and will be completed over a 2 year period which may be extended, depending on demand and funding.

While ongoing, the project is surpassing expectations. With a target of four tonnes over two years, bookings reached three tonnes within three short months, demonstrating that many POPs remain on-farm despite all previous collection efforts.

The communications and engagement strategy was tightly focused on the target sector and was designed to prompt the required behaviour. By June 2015 bookings were at four tonnes!

Judging panel’s comments:

  • Clearly defined target audiences and the behaviours they wanted to encourage and designed a campaign to effectively deliver upon these
  • Effectively utilised existing systems and infrastructure that the target audience were familiar with, thus eliminating barriers to participation
  • Clearly demonstrated extremely positive results, meeting their two-year booking target within the first six months


Best project or initiative in the commercial or public sectors

CID Resource Recovery Initiative (CID Resource Recovery)

The development of the construction and demolition sort line and recycling plant initiative at CID’s operation in Onehunga was an extension to the existing resource recovery operations already on site.

The plant was conceptualised and developed through global research on like plants and applying NZ specific design criteria to maximise diversion from landfill. The plant consists of large mechanical, fluid, aero and magnetic separation complimented with manual sorting to recover approximately 70% of materials by weight for further reuse.

The recovered materials are primarily timber, hardfill, steel, cardboard and wallboard. The timber is processed through a larger two stage grinder and mill to produce biofuel, landscape and animal bedding products. The wallboard is processed through New Zealand’s only dedicated plant for the purpose of separating paper from gypsum. The gypsum is then sold into the fertiliser and landscape markets. Steel and cardboard are sold into traditional commodity recycling markets.

The project has created eight new jobs and is set to expand as the market becomes aware of the significant benefits that CID offers in relation to diversion and compliance with Greenstar and Homestar accreditation.

Judging panel’s comments:

  • Built upon existing business models and infrastructure to deliver significant levels of diversion
  • Introduced new and innovative technology to address a well identified issue
  • Effectively partnered with central government to deliver strong waste minimisation outcomes


Foodstuffs waste diversion programme (EnviroNZ)

EnviroNZ is working alongside Foodstuffs to deliver a new holistic approach to waste management to more than 200 Foodstuffs sites nationally. Foodstuffs own the New World, Pak ‘n Save and Four Square brands.

Foodstuffs’ stores are a huge part of their local communities and want to be able to stand up as a good corporate citizen, not only at front of store but also back of house where all waste streams end up. However, the stores are all run at an individual level by owner/operators and correspondingly had widely disparate systems. Initial research identified a huge opportunity to streamline and systemise the processes, allowing more waste to be diverted from landfill.

EnviroNZ’s challenge was to work closely alongside each store’s owner and team leaders to introduce the programme, train staff and ensure smooth operation so the organisation’s target to recycle 80% of their waste by the end of 2015 could be reached.

Judging panel’s comments:

  • Excellent example of a partnership based approach to deliver good staff engagement and consistent performance outcomes
  • Effectively utilised economies of scale to find viable markets for problematic waste streams
  • Ultimately delivering strong economic benefits to the business


Marlborough rural community recycling (Marlborough District Council and The Packaging Forum)

In 2014 Marlborough District Council, with funding support from The Packaging Forum’s voluntary product stewardship schemes, developed recycling containers for the collection of glass (separated by colour), plastic, cans, paper and cardboard. The containers were built and delivered to the rural communities of Rarangi and Renwick during November 2014. By the end of February 2015, over 50 tonnes of packaging had been collected from the communities.

Stage Two of the project resulted in a submission to the Council Draft 2015-2025 Long Term Plan for the expansion of this service to the communities of Grovetown, Spring Creek, Tua Marina and Rapaura as well as continuing with the sites at Rarangi and Renwick. This expansion was once again supported by The Packaging Forum.

The model for providing colour separated glass drop off facilities in rural / tourist areas is one which is now being promoted in other regions, with a similar programme now in place in Hastings District.

Judging panel’s comments:

  • Excellent example of a partnership based approach to deliver enhanced service levels to hard to service communities
  • Took key learnings from initial trials and applied these to a broader integrated long-term approach
  • Piloted new systems, which are now being adapted for use in other communities


Recyclable rPET butchery tray (Foodstuffs)

Over the last two years Foodstuffs New Zealand have been busy working with Councils, recyclers and packaging suppliers developing a viable replacement for the current non-recyclable polystyrene foam butchery tray. Earlier this year Foodstuffs decided to proceed with an Alto Packaging designed and developed product that is currently in store on trial.

From research at Visy’s recycling plant in Auckland, through discussions with local authorities on what they wanted to pick up kerbside, to in store trials and customer research, the project is one of the first to pull together all the players in the lifecycle of packaging in New Zealand.

Auckland Council and Visy Recycling both remarked that no retailer had ever engaged with them on packaging design before a project was underway. The project has been remarkable in its inclusiveness and innovative approach to solving the problem of final disposal from the very outset of the design. The new tray also has excellent environmental benefits comprising 50% recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable for customers.

Judging panel’s comments:

  • Took a full life cycle approach to the development of a solution to a high profile issue
  • Broadly, genuinely and effectively engaged with all key stakeholders to ensure a fit-for-purpose outcome
  • Implemented an innovative solution with superior environmental outcomes