Mike Sammons of Foodstuffs NZ with award sponsor Karen Murray of SULO NZ.

Mike Sammons of Foodstuffs NZ with award sponsor Karen Murray of SULO NZ.

This year, for the first time, we introduced the WasteMINZ Awards for Excellence, which were presented at the conference gala dinner on Wednesday 21 October.

This was to recognise the many successes and advances made right across our industry.

There were four awards presented on the night, these being:

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

Best project or initiative in the commercial or public sectors.

Winner: 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


Highly Commended: 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


Best communication, engagement or education initiative.

Winner: 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:

  • It demonstrated 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


Highly Commended: 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 expo site.

Winner: Waste Management NZ

Judge’s comments:

Waste Management’s site was beautifully crafted, creatively formed and a visual treat. It connected the dots between community, personal learning and was a great space to share specialist knowledge and advice on service provision. It took us out of the old school, grey suited, waste solutions environment and reminds us why we bother to minimise and manage waste – to enjoy a beautiful, natural, bio-diverse New Zealand. Waste Management’s cups were compostable and were planted with 1500 native trees which were donated to a local school.

Best written paper.

Winner: Closing the loop: In-vessel composting of food waste by the New Zealand Defence Force at the Devonport Naval Base. Shaun Bowler (Bluefin) and Anne Lightfoot (New Zealand Defence Force).