Awards for Excellence

We're inviting WasteMINZ members to join us for a night of nibbles, networking and celebrations at the Awards for Excellence evening on Thursday, 25 August. Register to attend the awards here.


We have two awards for each Sector Group: 

Award 1: An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Award 2: A project, initiative or research that has made a significant contribution to the sector group.


Find out more about our Awards for Excellence nominees: 

​Behaviour Change sector group
An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Ian Kennedy and Jitesh Singh, Waste Management NZ

Ian Kennedy and Jitesh Singh are nominated for pioneering EV trucks in the NZ waste industry. Diesel/petrol consumed vehicles in the NZ Waste Industry is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. Converting these vehicles to electric will significantly reduce carbon emissions for New Zealand.

Ian and Jitesh have lead the EV program for Waste Management. For more than 5 years WM has been converting diesel trucks to electric. By the end of 2021 WM will have 30 EV truck in service throughout NZ.

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.

Laura Cope, UYO and Takeaway Throwaways

Laura Cope - founder of UYO and co-founder of Takeaway Throwaways. Laura is a tireless advocate for reuse and the end of single-use. She has created a fully blown social media movement in New Zealand. She works behind the scenes to support and advise hundreds of businesses, hospitality outlets, community groups and more to work towards reuse. She funnels her own personal time and money into this work. Laura is addressing the throwaway, single-use culture every day. She is normalising conversations about reuse, and connecting people, groups and businesses with each other to increase impact. She has thousands of social media followers, and she is well respected amongst council staff and the hospitality industry for the work she does, which increases her influence. She helped to devise the #nolovetolitter campaign for Plastic Free July. She has supported cafes to continue enabling reuse throughout Covid alert levels. She helps to encourage everyday people to call for policy change and engage in MfE consultations. She provides support to reusable serviceware providers (both community and commercial operators) to get off the ground and grow. She is also extremely effective at calling out greenwashing, which is an increasingly important skill for those working in the area of behaviour change.

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

Waste Management Fleet, Delivery of waste collection trucks

The Waste Management Fleet team are nominated for the delivery of the Hutt City Council's waste collection trucks, including five EV trucks. The WM Fleet team delivered the Hutt City Council Fleet on 1 July 2021 on time. This was despite the many challenges to the supply chain from the Covid19 pandemic. The fleet includes five EV trucks, significantly reducing carbon emissions from this service. The EVs are powered by the electricity that WM produces from the biogas that WM captures from its modern sustainable landfills.

Piripi 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 sector group
An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Soltice Morrison, Contaminated Land Specialist, Aurecon

Soltice Morrison, Contaminated Land Specialist at Aurecon.  Soltice joined Aurecon as a graduate and taken every project as an opportunity to learn as well as perform.  She recently successfully applied to become a Blake GNZ ambassador and has thrown herself enthusiastically at every opportunity she's had.  She has been recognised as one of this year's Y25 group.  She fully deserves the media recognition she has achieved, and she is a rising star.

Michelle Begbie, Waikato Regional Council

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. 

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

The Contaminated Site Safety Certificate Team

The Contaminated Site Safety Certificate Team, led by Stanley Howell, Martin Robinson, James Corbett and Terre Nicholson with support from numerous others. Through significant voluntary hours they have established New Zealand's first standard in health and safety management for contaminated land with over 70 trainees and counting.  This brings together New Zealand's collective wealth of expertise in working with uncontrolled hazardous substances in the environment to provide an accessible one day course suitable for early career professionals or those who wish to broaden their knowledge base to contaminants they may not be familiar with. This ensures a minimum level of competence when engaging with unusual hazards common on contaminated sites in New Zealand.  The course has received consistently great feedback and has been run in multiple location across New Zealand. It now enters a phase of refining the standard and encouraging its use as a measure of competence for field staff by client organisations. 

Exploring optimal regional regulatory requirements for contaminated land

This is a collaborative project designed and commissioned by the Waikato Regional Council (Michelle Begbie) and undertaken by HAIL Environmental (Dr Dave Bull, Reagan Knapp and Kylie Eckersley), e3Scientific (Simon Beardmore) and Sweetman Planning (Gina Sweetman).  The project was called ‘Exploring optimal regional regulatory reporting requirements for contaminated land’ and sought to explore ideal policy direction for the contaminated land sector. This project seized opportunities provided by impending Waikato Regional Plan (WRP) review, and wider resource management reforms to assess what policy works, what doesn’t, and what we should aspire to.  Since its completion, interest from other regional councils, unitary authorities and the Ministry for the Environment has been intense and learnings seem to be widely applicable around the country.


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. llur.ecan.govt.nz 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.



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​Disposal to Land sector group
An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Fletcher Living

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.

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

Northern Corridor Improvements Alliance Team

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.


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​Health and Safety sector group
An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Hooman Javaheri, Waste Management

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.

Management quickly supported the plan to formulate some in house hand sanitiser. The reagents and production equipment were sourced and a JSEA put together to safely work with the chemicals to formulate the mixture. Thousands of litres of hand sanitiser were produced under Hooman’s guidance and dispatched to the WM branches across NZ during the first lockdown. The product is called “Hoomanol”.

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

EnviroNZ – 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.

Ajith Fernando – Reclaim NZ

Ajith was nominated for his development of a risk management framework using meta-theory perspective to effectively manage company high risks. The framework deviates from the traditional qualitative risk matrix approach to risk management. The meta-theory perspective overarch several other theories such as:

Ice-berg model – analyses Events, Patterns of Behaviour and Systemic Structure & Mindsets that trigger a risk event.

Causal Loop Diagram (Systems Diagram) – analyses deeply how ‘parts (risk events)’ interrelate in ‘whole (risk story)’.

Swiss Cheese Model: looks four levels of failure modes: Organizational Factors; Unsafe supervision; Preconditions; and Unsafe acts.

Event Diagram – demonstrates how the risk event propagates to eventuate the risk and the impacts caused by the risk if it eventuates.

Risk Bowtie – demonstrates the control hierarchy assigning suitable risk controls to each event to stop the risk from propagating to the next stage.

Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA): a quantitative methodology to analyse risk controls for effectiveness and relevance.

This meta-theory perspective provides employees a deep understanding of the risk story: failure modes, events, and controls.  Once employees gain a greater understanding of the risks that they are exposed to they are more likely to unlearn old habits and develop new routines that are risk averse. The new approach has improved the company safety/risk culture significantly from staff all the way to the Board levels. During the last three years, the company's significant risks reduced from 18 (2019) to just 5 (2020) and the LTIs reduced from 6 (2019) to just 1 (2020).

Greg Clough – Waste Management NZ

Greg deployed a digital solution for tracking hazardous waste. The digital app enables hazardous waste to be accurately tracked from when a customer declares the waste until it is received and then accepted onsite.The app works by generating a QR code, which is able to be scanned by our Technical Services team using a specialised and safe mobile scanning device. Many devices, including mobile phones, are banned in Technical Services Zone 1 hazardous areas because of the potential to cause ignition of a flammable atmosphere. This enable hazardous waste to be accurately categorised for safe treatment, reducing risk to team members.


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​​​Organic materials sector group
An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Dr Michael Quintern - MyNoke 

Michael founded MyNoke 15 years ago with a vision to divert organic waste from landfills around New Zealand. At the time not everyone shared this same vision, so he quit his scientist role and became an entrepreneur. Over the last 15 years he has toiled, struggled had some big wins and some big losses. But he never gave up. He has pioneered much of the vermicomposting industry in New Zealand and mastered the ability to deal with multiple organic waste streams.

Fast forward to 2021. Michael, due to his steadfast passion for vermicomposting and worms, has diverted just over 1 million tonnes of organic waste from landfills. He has built a team of passionate people who all share in his vision. Only now the vision is growing as Michael continues to develop and grow the business with the ultimate aim of being able to serve all the communities in New Zealand. Michael has always put the vision of diverting organic waste from landfills first. 

Daniel O’Carroll

Even before he joined the Organics Material Steering Committee, Daniel volunteered on working groups looking into legionella and improved bag labelling. As a committee member he always went above and beyond doing extra research in his own time and ensuring we were always kept up to date with what was happening globally not locally. He has challenged the sector to maintain high ethical standards and his advice and expertise have benefited many of us in the industry.

Associate Professor Miranda Mirosa

Miranda Mirosa is a leading academic on food waste reduction. Miranda has made a significant contribution to the topic of food waste not only through her many research papers but also through her involvement in the Parliamentary investigation into food waste, as Co-Chair of NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3 and as Director of the Food Waste Innovation Theme. During 2019, Miranda was the specialist advisor to the Environment Select Committee when it investigated food waste, providing 40 recommendations to pave a way to reduce waste in New Zealand, through a Target-Measure-Act approach. The Committee recommended the Mirosa report. In March 2020, Miranda was appointed as Co-Chair of NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3. She naturally fitted this role due to her passion for food waste reduction and her calm and collegial manner. Miranda spoke at New Zealand's first Food Waste Summit and provided oversight on the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. In October 2020, the University of Otago Food Waste Innovation Theme was launched. Food Waste Innovation's goal is to harness the best scientific expertise to provide effective solutions to Aotearoa's food waste problems. Miranda was a driving force for getting this themed established.

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.

Perfectly Imperfect Ltd

Perfectly Imperfect addresses food insecurity, on-farm food waste, and local farm sustainability through a variety of programs. There are over 45% of food that has never make it to our plate, straight to waste because they're not good enough to sell in supermarket. Their Imperfect Rescue Gleaning Network is harvesting surplus farm crops, preventing waste, and nourishing local families. It's first known initiate program in New Zealand, and well welcomed by board community. They now have over 400 Imperfect Rescue members in community, and well known collaborated with numbers of other sustainable business to build a new sustainable food system. They are not only distribute rescue food also package with reused boxes donated by other food company like Bad Bakers. Perfectly Imperfect addresses food insecurity, on-farm food waste, and local farm sustainability through a variety of programs. With the help of volunteers, the Gleaners harvest and pack food donated from local farms for local communities across the Auckland region. Through our Imperfect Rescue program, we deliver over 102,000kg fresh food to local network of local food pantries, food banks, and families in needs in local community at Auckland, and provide trucking support to partner non-profits and farms in need of resources

Tessa Vincent

Tessa Vincent has been instrumental in the formation of the Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance (AFRA). Tessa started with AFRA in 202 and since then, Tessa stepped into the role of Engagement Lead for six months. Key areas of work have included: 

  • Setting up AFRA’s Impact Project – to better understand the impact of food rescue organisations in Aotearoa, with support from data consultant Dan Tong, PhD candidate Grace Clare and our Impact Cluster and Impact Advisors.
  • Engaging on research topics relevant to food rescue – through New Zealand’s first ever Food Rescue Research Symposium.
  • Engaging with Government on policy – including the Infrastructure Commission’s consultation, meetings with MPs, the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Primary Industries.

Tessa is now at the University of Oxford to study a Master of Public Policy, with a focus on environmental policy but has remained connected with AFRA as an International representative on their Operations Advisory Board. She has wider knowledge on reducing food waste across the whole food value chain through a Founding Coordinator role with NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3.


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

Enviro NZ - Expansion of the Hampton Downs Organics Composting Facility

Over a four year period  the Hampton Downs Organics Composting Facility has been successfully expanded from an initial capacity of 4800tonnes per annum (tpa) to 24,000tpa using best practice GORE and Engineered Compost Systems (ECS) aerated static pile bunker technology at a cost of over $5million. This was an MFE waste minimisation fund assisted project. EnviroNZ built one new GORE bunker (adding to the existing three GORE bunkers),  twelve new aerated static pile bunkers and a new negative pressure compost processing building, plus purchased an electric shredder and a new screen. Issues Addressed: i) Established regional organics processing facility helping multiple councils achieve their waste minimisation targets  ii) proof of best practice GORE and ECS technologies in NZ environment for successful composting of foodwaste and greenwaste mixes into high quality compost growing media. iii) construction on time and budget in Covid affected construction period. The expansion was necessary to provide sufficient organics aerobic composting capacity to process in a sustainable manner organic materials from council kerbside collections.  In the first six months of 2021 the expanded facility has received 8,451 tonnes (3030 tonnes of food waste and 5421 tonnes of greenwaste) and is on target to receive an additional 16,000tonne of organics in the second half of 2021. The facility is on-track to sell approximately 4000tpa of high quality finished compost product in 2021.

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.

https://www.nzfoodnetwork.org.nz/s/envirowaste-partnership


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​​Product Stewardship sector group
An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Salters Cartage

"Around 4.5 million lubricant containers are discarded every year in NZ.  Lubricant packaging is hazardous and problematic to recycle due to the residue left inside even when they’re empty. This makes the containers and drums difficult to handle and lowers their value as a useful recycled material. While a small percentage are recycled, the majority end up in landfill"*.

Salters presently collect the drained, but contaminated, containers from customers across the upper North Island.  Once at the depot the plastics are shredded, and any residual oil extracted for reprocessing.  The challenge of cleaning the shredded product, to a level acceptable to be recycled, has been an ongoing project for the team at Salters.  They have been successful in developing a proprietary cleaning process which means the product is acceptable to their recycling partner, Future Post.  The provision and delivery of this product to Future Post is non-revenue generating for Salters, but it ensures the plastic is sustainably and locally recycled. The success of this proprietary cleaning initiative means finally a local recycling solution is available for used oil containers.  The nationwide demand for this service means Salters are planning expansion of their business across NZ. 

* Source :  Lubricant Container Product Stewardship Programme

Mitre 10 and EXPOL

Mitre 10 and trade partner EXPOL have been working together since mid-2019 to close the loop on PS-E polystyrene and divert packaging waste from landfill.  This open product stewardship sees customers return unwanted polystyrene packaging from household appliances and insulation off-cuts to recycling cubes at participating Mitre 10 stores.  EXPOL collects and recycles the unwanted polystyrene into new products such as QuickDrain, StyroDrain and some insulation solutions.  The pilot programme began at Mitre 10 MEGA New Lynn and was quickly adopted by four more Auckland stores. Currently 21 Mitre 10 stores across the North and South Islands are participating in the programme. Our partnership with EXPOL has been welcomed and well-used by customers wherever the recycling cubes are available. The programme is now embedded across the Mitre 10 network and results are included in monthly internal sustainability reporting. The number of stores participating continues to grow and the volume of polystyrene being diverted from landfills across the country is increasing in tandem. The result of this partnership and the commitment our businesses have made to better environmental practices is that over 8000 cubic metres of PS-E polystyrene have been diverted from landfill to date. That’s equivalent to 3.2 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Kevin Golding – Winstone Wallboards

Kevin Golding from WWB is nominated for his drive and passion in implementing both waste reduction and product stewardship programmes within the construction sector.  The primary focus has been plasterboard and, with Kevin's leadership, Gordon White has worked to establish product stewardship schemes for waste plasterboard.  For the past few years there has been increasing focus on waste reduction and understanding the origins of waste in the construction sector and how this can be reduced through actions taken in the delivery of construction projects.  Kevin has worked with an ever increasing network of participants to deliver real change in this space so that the amount of waste produced can be significantly reduced. In implementing a product stewardship programme the focus has been on making the service as easy and seamless as possible for customers to access so there are minimal barriers to in accessing the service. The service started in Auckland and is now being rolled out throughout the country. A major initiative that is reducing the amounts of waste plasterboard ending up in landfill. It's a major initiative that is reducing the amounts of waste plasterboard ending up in landfill.

The Warehouse Group (TWG)

The Warehouse Group (TWG) is nominated for its leadership and commitment to reducing the amount of e-waste going to landfill in Aotearoa through participation in the TechCollect NZ pilot and RE:mobile programmes. Convenient community access to e-waste drop-off points is one of the major barriers hindering greater recovery of this priority product stream in Aotearoa right now. By TWG participating in these industry funded programmes across their expansive national network of retail stores, the kiwi-community are supported with more options to manage their unwanted and end-of-life ICT equipment and mobile devices through responsible programmes with strict health, safety and environmental checks and balances in place. TWG’s participation in these programmes is completely voluntary and they are investing their time and resources to help Aotearoa live up to our clean, green reputation that we as a team of 5-million hold so dear and should do our utmost to protect/future-proof. TWG are leading by example and helping these programmes to rescue valuable materials from landfill, create more jobs in Aotearoa’s e-waste recycling sector, make the kiwi-economy more resilient and achieve impressive environmental outcomes along the way.  

Simon Edmonds – Tuatua Café and 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.

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

Biopak - 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.

Mitre 10 – Pot Recycle 

In May 2021, Mitre 10 launched Pot Recycle, a feasibility study trialling closed loop manufacturing for plastic ID5 plant/seedling pots, in partnership with Zealandia Horticulture, Pact Group and Recycling Group. Customers had long been asking for recycling options, so the trial tested a customer-focused solution designed to divert these pots from landfill. Three stores, Mitre 10 MEGA New Plymouth, Henderson and Tauranga, participated in the trial, each chosen for their commitment to sustainable practices. Customer depositary crates made of marine-grade ply were installed in the stores’ garden centers and the trial publicised in-store and through local media, social media, and local interest groups. Customers were encouraged to return clean plant/seedling pots and labels made of plastic ID5 to be recycled. The pots were sent on to Pact Group and Recycling Group to be shredded, then melted to produce resin pellets, which Zealandia Horticulture then re-moulded into new pots for the plants and seedlings they produce. The post-consumer material needed to be clean and uncontaminated with general waste for the first recycling stage, both to manage costs and to avoid contaminated loads having to go to landfill. The purpose of the trial was to understand the feasibility of a national roll-out.As NZ’s leading garden retailer, Mitre 10 sells over 11 million plant/seedling pots annually. While plastic ID5 is recyclable, most councils don’t accept garden pots in kerbside recycling because they’re often contaminated with soil. Recognising the operational and environmental impact of them ending up in landfill, we designed a solution to address the issue. Pot Recycle provides customers with a practical circular solution to dispose of unwanted PP (plastic ID 5) plant and seedling pots and labels without sending them to landfill. Being a robust plastic, ID5 can go through this circular process for years, reducing the amount of virgin plastic used to manufacture them. This was a proof-of-concept trial: would customers adopt it and would they return their pots relatively clean? In a word – YES. The three-month trial was so successful that Pot Recycle will rollout nationally in November, to all of our 84 stores, from Invercargill to Kaitaia. Pot Recycle will accept any ID5 pots, regardless of where they were purchased. At our target 20% return rate, 183 tonnes a year would be saved from landfill.


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​Territorial Authorities' Officers Forum
An individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution or shown leadership

Valerie Bianchi, Waikato Regional Council

Valarie ‘manages’ the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Waste Liaison Group which is made up of respective territorial authorities and regional councils. This is not Valarie’s full-time role but the time and effort she puts into it is equivalent to one. Her work in this role is greatly appreciated by all councils in both regions and this nomination comes with backing from them and not just me. She not only coordinates activities and projects within the group but also liaises on all councils behalf with central government, WasteMINZ and the industry. Valerie has maintained a cohesive group of councils which has led to a regional ‘voice’, projects and initiatives, some of which have become even more widespread such as Waste Bylaw templates and current work on a waste data licensing scheme. Valerie’s dedication and high level of input to the waste minimisation area along with her representation and management of such a large area and related councils (half of which are outside her jurisdiction) is an amazing achievement. She is a ‘waste minimisation machine’ who basically manages an equivalent TAO Forum for the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. 

Karen Lee, Nelson City Council

I would like to nominate Karen Lee 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.

Hamilton City Council

Hamilton City Council for leadership in the waste minimisation space with the implementation of a new kerbside service. The new service replaced a weekly collection of two black rubbish bags and a recycling crate with fortnightly collections of rubbish and recycling (120L rubbish wheelie bin, 240L mixed recycling wheelie bin, and 45L glass crate) and a weekly food scraps collection (23L food scrap bin). The bold change of reducing the volume of waste that could be collected from households, increasing recycling opportunities the introduction of a food scraps collection has help to enable a significant reduction of household waste to landfill.

Laurie Foon, Wellington City Councillor

Wellington City Councillor Laurie Foon is committed to driving a zero waste, circular economy agenda with the vision of a waste-free Wellington. She has consistently made every effort to understand and include the perspectives of civil society and community groups in her advocacy for zero waste solutions in Council, and has been a driving force in encouraging the advocacy of everyday people on matters of waste reduction. She has been a significant supporter of Waste Free Welly - a coalition of zero waste advocates, educators and businesses - who have hugely benefitted from her ability to make complex and difficult Council processes accessible and understandable. Laurie has at the same time proven effective at building relationships and consensus among her Council colleagues to lift ambition and shift strategy on waste minimisation in Wellington.

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

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 4 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.


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