Auckland Council and Conscious Consumers win WasteMINZ Awards for Excellence

Conscious Consumers and Auckland Council were presented the top awards at 2017 WasteMINZ Awards for Excellence in Hamilton on Wednesday 8 November.

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

Conscious Consumer’s Good Spend Counter mobile app was named as the best communication, engagement or education initiative, while Auckland Council’s Resource Recovery Network took the top honour for the best project or initiative in the commercial or public sectors.

“With so much progress happening in our sector it was hard to select just two winners,” said WasteMINZ Chief Executive Paul Evans.

“But Conscious Consumers and Auckland Council stood out as they have both implemented initiatives which are going to have significant long-term impacts for New Zealand.”

It is the second consecutive year that Auckland Council has won a WasteMINZ Award for Excellence after they picked up the communication, engagement or education award in 2016 for their inorganic collection.

“Picking up an award for the second year in a row is a testament to significant leadership role Auckland Council is playing in our industry. Their innovative approach and desire to take their communities with them has really set them apart and they are now seen as global leaders,” said Evans.

Communication, engagement or education award:

Conscious Consumers world first technology platform Good Spend Counter is changing the way consumers interact with businesses.

The Good Spend Counter (GSC) is a free smartphone application that communicates consumer priorities and monitors good spending.

By creating a profile which is linked to their credit or debit cards, consumers’ values are communicated to businesses when they make purchases. Through a partnership with Paymark NZ, the GSC enables businesses to track consumer spending, gain insights into what their customers care about and reward them for their good spending habits.

In addition to the data insight service, the platform also enables businesses to get accredited for their sustainable practices.

The judges applauded Conscious Consumers for creating a strong connection between consumers and businesses through a system which has both short-term and long-term social and environmental impacts.

Waste Management NZ was highly commended for their Skills First workplace literacy and numeracy program.

Best project or initiative award:

Auckland Council’s plan to implement a Resource Recovery Network (RRN) to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2040 was praised by the judges for clear vision and the way it is connecting and engaging with a huge variety of disparate stakeholders.

The RRN aims to develop a network of council, community and commercial operations that work together to deliver significant social, environmental and economic benefits. Part of this is developing 12 community recycling centres across Auckland over a ten year period.

The strategy also includes selection criteria for identifying sites and has committed capital and operational budgets as part of the Council’s long-term plan.

Significant progress has been made in the first three years since the adoption of the strategy. Five community recycling centres have been established at Waiuku, Helensville, Waitakere, Devonport and Whangaparaoa.

Each site is managed by a local community enterprise on a minimum five-year contract. The success of these operations has also relied on the support of private waste and recycling companies who have partnered with the community operators.

The Council has also initiated and funded three trials – Onehunga, Waiheke and Great Barrier Island – with a particular focus on building community capacity.

Progressive Enterprise was highly commended for Countdown’s campaign to go plastic bag free by end of 2018.