Awards for Excellence

Congratulations to all of the Awards for Excellence nominees and winners for 2022. Read about our winners below. 

You can see a photo gallery of the event here.

​An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Behaviour change - nominees

  • Ian Kennedy & Jitesh Singh, Waste Management NZ – pioneering EV trucks in the NZ waste industry
  • Laura Cope, founder UYO & co-founder Takeaway Throwaways – advocating for reuse and the end of single-use
  • Hannah Blumhardt & Liam Prince, The Rubbish Trip – advocacy & mahi to reduce waste & create sustainable systems for reusables in Wellington


Hannah Blumhardt and Liam Prince, The Rubbish Trip
Hannah Blumhardt and Liam Prince from The Rubbish Trip are nominated for their advocacy and mahi to reduce waste and create sustainable systems for reusables in Wellington. Hannah and Liam are also part of Takeaway Throwaways, Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance, New Zealand Product Stewardship Council and the Zero Waste Network. These individuals have shown incredible commitment to waste minimisation education and behaviour change around the reduction of waste in Aotearoa. Their work spans grassroots to government and focuses on reaching a waste-free world. They do much unpaid work and are always ready and willing to support and mentor others. Their commitment was illustrated during lockdowns where they campaigned for acceptance of reusables at Level 2 and Level 3. We particularly want to nominate these individuals for their involvement in three Wellington initiatives. The Zero Waste Network Waste Free Welly group, which is advocating for ambition in waste minimisation in our capital. Hannah for leading the working group of the Washing up Wellington project, which is seeking to put in place a washing facility and reusable cup for all events in Pōneke. Finally for Liam, leading the Beyond the Pipes SymPOOsium which is advocating re-imagining sustainable and resilient wastewater solutions.

Contaminated land management - nominees

  • Solstice Morrison - Contaminated Land Specialist, Aurecon
  • Michelle Begbie, Waikato Regional Council – commitment to the CLM sector group and the CLM sector


Michelle Begbie 

Michelle was nominated by three different people - a testament to her commitment to the CLM sector group. Previous CLM steering committee chair, MIchelle has been on Residential Lead Group as well as many subcommittees, organising committees and any other activity that involves unpaid overtime. At regional level, too, she has brought the Waikato contaminated land officers together. She has also been the driver behind numerous technical projects advancing our sector, including HAIL register protocols/rewriting CLMG#4; bringing bioavailability assessment on line; identifying and mapping naturally occurring contaminants; designing fit-for-purpose regional contaminated land rules; even preserving archives of historic aerial photographs. Michelle has diligently and selflessly provided commitment to the Sector Group and industry by her positive contributions, which include timely and perceptive feedback, think pieces, using resources at her disposal, and sharing information to advance the work of and achieve Sector Group outcomes. 

Disposal to land - nominee and winner

Fletcher Living - reducing waste to landfill

Fletcher Living is taking responsibility and driving change in construction waste, making significant steps towards eliminating and minimising waste generated in the construction of its new homes. From the earliest stages of design to the selection of materials and by rethinking much of the construction process, Fletcher Living is exceeding its own target of 20% waste reduction from landfill.

This achievement has been made possible by a multi-pronged approach led by a dedicated Sustainability Working Group with a focus on baselining, reduction and target setting. Fletcher Living has also worked in partnership with researchers and suppliers to generate a more sustainable, circular, supply chain – identifying areas of waste, materials recovering and diversion.  Key achievements include:

•  Successfully diverting 25% (including 50% plasterboard) of the 1,549 tonnes of waste generated (August-April 2021).

•  Introducing separation bags at all of our house sites for plasterboard to enable gypsum to be recovered and reused.

•  Conducting a successful trial separating steel, cardboard, cladding, timber, polystyrene and soft plastics at a large-scale residential development site.

•  Identifying key packaging waste enabling future elimination of plastic wrap on frames and truss.

•  In FY22, one in six new Fletcher Living homes will be delivered by Clever Core. Less than one wheelie bin of waste is produced in the factory per home.

Health and safety - nominee and winner

Hooman Javaheri, Waste Management - formulated an in-house hand sanitiser

    Hooman Javaheri has been nominated for innovation. The years 2020 & 2021 will forever be tainted by the Covid pandemic. The hygiene practices of mask wearing, hand sanitation and surface disinfection put extensive pressure on the already stretched supply chain delivering to the remote country of NZ. The actual or perceived supply limitations for these products was only exacerbated by NZers panic buying and hoarding. Hooman recognised the opportunity to put his chemical handling and manufacturing knowledge to good use, sourcing chemical reagent and formulating an appropriate mixture for the use of WM staff to sanitise their hands. Hooman researched the optimal mixture ratios of alcohol, for germ killing, glycerine, for skin moisturising, fragrance, for a pleasant smell. He found that isopropanol was the most appropriate alcohol for efficacy, cost and supply.

Organic materials - nominees

  • Dr Michael Quintern - MyNoke
  • Daniel O’Carroll
  • Associate Professor Miranda Mirosa
  • New Zealand Food Network
  • Perfectly Imperfect
  • Tessa Vincent


New Zealand Food Network 

The New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) is a nationwide organisation which collects quality surplus and donated bulk food from producers, growers and wholesalers, and distributes it to charitable organisations providing food support to those in need. The NZFN’s mission is to help combat the logistical and infrastructure issues that have traditionally limited food supply into food insecure communities, and get food to where it’s needed most. These include a lack of storage capacity and challenges coordinating pick-ups of bulk food, which have seen community organisations having to turn away large food donations. New Zealand generates an estimated 571,000 tonnes of food waste annually (commercial and residential), and it’s estimated that 60% of the food that’s going to landfill is edible. In two years NZFN has distributed 13.6 million kilos of food, providing 38.9 million meal equivalents and preventing 19.9 million kilos of CO2 equivalent from being produced in landfill.  The NZFN brings scale and efficiency to the food rescue sector, to more effectively bridge the gap between food supply and demand. It is transforming New Zealand’s food supply chain to ensure no food goes to waste.

Product stewardship - nominees

  • Salters Cartage
  • Mitre 10 and EXPOL
  • Kevin Golding – Winstone Wallboards
  • The Warehouse Group
  • Simon Edmonds – Tuatua Cafe & Mug.Cycle 


Simon Edmonds - Tuatua Cafe & Mug.Cycle
In 2020, Simon made the call to start turning his cafe on the Wellington Waterfront completely wastefree - front of house and back of house. He wanted to do this while also bringing other outlets on the waterfront along with him. It led to the Wastefree Waterfront initiative that saw all cafes on the Wellington Waterfront go single-use cup free on 11 December 2020. Simon now also runs Mug.Cycle, a project that connects cafes with preloved mugs for mug libraries across Wellington. Simon is visionary, but humble and extremely collaborative and although the actions he's taken have been small-scale, they show that it is possible to run a cafe producing virtually no waste at all. Simon went completely single-use cup free at Tuatua fulltime, he got rid of all single-use packaging in his cafe, not only for takeaways, but also to the point that he only sold drinks by external companies if they were in reusable bottles. He changed suppliers in order to make his kitchen zero waste - sourcing milk in reusable bottles, alt mylk in reusable jars, he even found a local producer of chai syrup in reusable bottles, and a local supplier of tacos who delivered them to him unpackaged. Simon enabled the outlets of the waterfront to go single-use cup free for a day in December by setting them all up with mug libraries, getting preloved mugs from the tip shop on his bike trailer, and washing all the returned mugs in his cafe on behalf of the other cafes. He has now expanded this project through Mug.Cycle.

TAO Forum - nominees

  • Valerie Bianchi – Waikato Regional Council
  • Karen Lee
  • Hamilton City Council
  • Laurie Foon – Wellington City Councillor


Karen Lee, Nelson City Council
Karen Lee was nominated for her instigation of the online Local Govt Zui.  She was in a similar one for carbon reduction and just took the bull by the horns and started one for Waste Minimisation, and its been brilliant.  It started post the first lock down in Aug 2020 and there have been five since then.  They are really well attended by staff from the tip of NZ to the bottom, they allow us to share ideas, ask for help, get advice, learn from each other and each others projects.  It sounds simple but it takes someone to bother to set it up, chair it, do the minutes, and Karen has carried this load to get it going and now others are stepping in to chair.  Karen is tireless in her efforts to learn and connect and do great things for her community, and that energy is what it took to get this idea started.

A project, initiative or research that has made a significant contribution to the sector group

Behaviour change - nominees

  • Waste Management fleet - delivery of Hutt City Council’s waste collection trucks (including 5 EV trucks)
  • Pipiri Ki a Papatūānuku – encouraging participants to pledge to take actions to reduce their footprint


Pipiri Ki A Papatūānuku

Pipiri ki a Papatūānuku is a kaupapa Māori version of Plastic Free July, but goes much beyond this. It encourages participants to pledge to take various actions to reduce their footprint on Papatūāunuku during the Māori lunar month of Pipiri. Many of the actions involve zero waste kaupapa and are really well researched. The communications PKP produce are accessible and unique in bringing a kaupapa Māori perspective and connecting with new audiences. The team behind Piripi Ki A Papatūānuku are awesome role models and it shines through in their projects. 

Contaminated land management - nominees

  • The Contaminated Site Safety Certificate Team, led by Stanley Howell, Martin Robinson, James Corbett and Terre Nicholson with support from numerous others
  • Waikato Regional Council, HAIL Environmental, e3 Scientific and Sweetman Planning:  Exploring optimal regional regulatory reporting requirements for contaminated land
  • Environment Canterbury:  Listed Land Use Register

Environment Canterbury, Listed Land Use Register

The Listed Land Use Register (LLUR) is an online tool providing members of the public, consultants and professionals in the land / development industries instantaneous access to property information, historic identified land uses that may be linked to contamination of land, property reports and most recently downloadable Site Investigation and Remediation reports. Environment Canterbury took the view that this information could be requested through the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) process, and to freely supply this is in keeping with open and transparent government expectations. Many people have been responsible for its development over the years, including Davina McNichol, Conor Parker and more recently Sam Iles and Alice Butler, together with many IT professionals including Ryan Elley of Environment Canterbury and consultants Stratos Technology Partners.

The council now provides an unparalleled, free information resource which is respected and appreciated by anyone needing land information in Canterbury. The value to public who can search the database is demonstrated by the 25,000 free property statements downloaded in the past year, estimated to be valued at $3.7m. is particularly valued by professionals including Real Estate Agents & contaminated land Consultancies accessing data for the property file or copies of historic Site Investigations.  The functionality to download such files saves clients’ time and money.

Disposal to land - nominee and winner

The Northern Corridor Improvements Alliance Team - SH1 widening work in Rosedale Landfill

The Northern Corridor Improvements - SH1 Widening work in Rosedale Landfill was a major team effort between Auckland City Council’s Closed Landfill Team, NCI Alliance partners Waka Kotahi, Fulton Hogan, HEBs, Opus and Jacobs, specialists/subcontractors Tonkin & Taylor, Aurecon, Nikau Group, Prendos, Envirowaste, Waste Management and Riley Environmental Engineers. The main motorway connection north of Auckland and the completion of the Western Ring Route around Auckland faced many challenges.  Key to this was the location of the closed Rosedale landfill leaving the project team with a choice to work within the landfill or to take land from local business.  The decision was made to work within the extent of the landfill to establish a bus lane and additional access for this key urban transport route.

It took 18 months of planning to:
  • Map, using geotech potholing, piezeometers, settlement monitoring stations and extensive ground survey, to assess the veracity of records that were impcomplete and up to 50 years old
  • Locate (and ultimately relocate) a live gas ring main, leachate collection system and 33kVa power cables from within the waste site
  • Prepare for compaction trialling to meet permissible moisture, air voids, shear strength and residual slope stability, to understand the location and constitution of the cap, and the existence, or otherwise, of contaminants.
This meticulous planning was required before a former landfill could be removed from the path of the Northern Corridor Improvements SH1’s combined motorway and busway on the North Shore of Auckland.
The project had three primary outcomes:
  • The landfill was left exposed for the minimum amount of time possible
  • 8,500 tonne of waste was able to be removed in just 15 days, and;
  • There was no public health threat by way of leachates or hazardous gas.


Health and safety - nominees

  • EnviroNZ – “I’ve Got Your Back” mental wellbeing programme

  • Greg Clough, Waste Management NZ – deployed a digital app for tracking hazardous wasteOrganic Materials 

  • Ajith Fernando, Reclaim –  developed a risk management framework


EnviroNZ - "I've Got Your Back" mental wellbeing programme

EnviroNZ identified the need to do a company-wide Wellbeing program that showed “care”, would be meaningful to many employees and was universal across all different roles across EnviroNZ. The team felt a Mental Wellbeing program fit the bill, it aligned with our company values and was a way to connect differently with employees, opening conversations that engaged from the heart.  And just like that, our “I’ve Got Your Back” program was born. It started with a few pilot sessions in April 2021, fully launched from June 2021 and has only been interrupted by the recent Covid19 lockdowns. EnviroNZ says its "why" is to keep destigimitising mental wellbeing, normalise it in conversations and create a safe supportive space to do so.  "We wanted to unite and connect around a shared purpose in our workplace.  To see and feel we have more in common with each other than we may have realised, that we are not alone!" The sessions aren't fancy, ranging from small groups in portacoms/lunchrooms, through to larger groups in meeting rooms, across NZ cities & rural locations.  With over 1070+ employees we have conducted over 70 sessions to date, with more to come. The Executive Team are strong ambassadors of the program, joining multiple sessions across the country as participants along-side drivers, operators, site managers and others - everyone generously sharing personal stories, ideas and experiences that gave a glimpse to the "person" behind their role, title or job.

Participants walk away with the ability to notice when someone may need help and act by providing them with the options of where to get help (I’ve Got Your Back). The feedback has been overwhelming positive with EnviroNZ employees knowing that they can talk openly about their mental wellbeing and in fact it is encouraged.  EnviroNZ is living its values through the programme where being safe is looking out for your mates; respect - treating people the way you’d like to be treated; support -stepping up without hesitation and honesty - being able to talk openly and honestly in the workplace about your mental wellbeing.

Organic materials - nominees

  • New Zealand Food Network

  • EnviroNZ - Expansion of the Hampton Downs Organics Composting Facility

  • EnviroWaste & New Zealand Food Network - People and Planet initiative

Winner: EnviroWaste and New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) - People and Planet initiative

The People and Planet initiative allows EnviroWaste to work with its large food production clients to actively divert edible food to NZFN before processing any remaining food in a sustainable way. NZFN was launched in July 2020 to make it easier and more efficient for businesses to donate bulk surplus food to charities and communities in need. The NZ Food Network facilitates the safe transportation, storage, and distribution of bulk surplus food from businesses. This bulk food is sorted into manageable, mixed pallets at NZFN distribution centres to fulfil a variety of nutritional needs. These pallets are then able to be ordered as required in more manageable volumes, and at no cost, by NZFN’s network of now 50 Food Hub Partners across NZ. The people and planet initiative has made it even easier for NZ food manufacturers and producers to do the right thing with food that cannot be sold. It offers a single point of contact through which any surplus food – regardless of state – can be diverted without further complication. Food that is edible is distributed by NZFN to its Food Hubs while remaining inedible items will be securely repurposed, processed, or recycled by EnviroWaste’ s Product Recovery division.

Product Stewardship - nominees

  • Compost Connect
  • Mitre 10 – Pot Recycle

 Compost Connect

Compost Connect is an organic recycling initiative and online platform that provides businesses with access to products, services and information that allows them to participate in a circular and regenerative system by diverting waste from landfill and converting it into nutrient-rich compost. There is a significant opportunity to capture and recycle a larger portion of the nearly 900,000 tonnes of organic waste generated by the foodservice and hospitality sector whilst simultaneously recovering and recycling an estimated 10 billion individual single-use foodservice disposables. Built as an open, not-for-profit organisation, Compost Connect allows businesses to identify suppliers of certified compostable packaging and access a sustainable end-of-life option. The platform also acts as an educational platform to provide resources and support. Data on the number and names of businesses recycling their organic waste are collected via a map allowing end users to locate businesses composting their organic waste and their packaging. Building upon BioPak’s previous Compost Service, Compost Connect, has connected 22  industrial compost facilities with 250+ businesses across Australia and New Zealand  to recycle their food scraps and compostable packaging. This has amounted to 4,680 tonnes of organic waste diverted from landfill, 3,276 tonnes of compost created and 2,387 tonnes of carbon dioxide avoided and sequestered. Compost Connect, a not-for-profit, independent, agnostic platform – continues to help businesses find their local composter and suppliers of certified compostable packaging. By involving various players in the packaging and the waste industries, this initiative could help divert a larger portion of food waste and compostable packaging from landfill. If only 20% of the food waste produced by the food service and hospitality sector was captured by this program, it would see 180,000 tonnes of materials avoiding landfill.

TAO Forum - nominee and winner

EnviroNZ – Municipal Plus Project

Council Collection services are becoming increasingly complex with multiple services being offered to residents in order to increase household recycling and divert more refuse away from landfills. 

With this complexity comes additional administration and overhead cost for Councils and Contractors in order to manage these services and to capture the significant amounts of data generated by the services.

Municipal Plus is the new digital platform designed entirely in Aotearoa by EnviroNZ specifically for Municipalities to manage their Kerbside Collection contracts. It is now used by four Councils and available to over 100,000 households.

The objective of the Municipal Plus platform is to reduce the effort for Councils, the Contractor and any subcontractors the Contractor employs in the delivery of Kerbside Collection services.

Residents are also digitally connected to Municipal Plus and can receive service alerts, recycling guides, report illegal dumping and report on issues with the service i.e. bin not collected, bin broken etc.

Service requests are seamlessly passed from the resident to the Council, enabling Councils to electronically review and confirm the request to the Contractor, all done digitally. These Service requests are also digitally integrated into EnviroNZ’s fleet technology.

The development of Municipal Plus has included setting up a number of service request web portals, mobile apps, workflows, data integration, billing, routing and scheduling setup.

Over the top of this data, EnviroNZ have integrated Municipal Plus into Power BI, enabling reporting on service request information, billing, presentation rates, contamination (including images) in near real time. This provides for a deep level of understanding of services for Councils.