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WARR Awards winners announced

Congratulations to all nominees, finalists and winners of the Waste and Resource Recovery (WARR) Awards 2019. The WARR Awards recognise organisations and individuals who are going to great lengths to improve and grow the industry.

Brought to you by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) and Inside Waste magazine, winners of the WARR Awards were announced at a gala dinner and awards evening at the Maritime Museum in Sydney on November 14.

Inside Waste found out more about each winner, the projects they have been working on, their challenges and greatest triumphs.

We would like to thank all of the sponsors of this year’s awards for their support – Bingo, Arcadis Consulting Group, A.Prince Consulting, Re.Group, Veolia and TOMRA.

Re.Group Outstanding WARR Project: Rural/Regional –  East Arnhem Regional Council

East Arnhem Regional Council provides core local government services to nine remote communities within East Arnhem Land – Milingimbi, Ramingining, Galiwin’ku, Gapuwiyak, Yirrkala, Gunyangara, Umbakumba, Angurugu and Milyakburra. These communites are spread across a region of about 33,359km2, making it one of the most remote local government areas in Australia.

Ninety-three per cent of the residents in the East Arnhem region are Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander. East Arnhem Regional Council waste and environmental manager Emma Clay said that the residents earn on average less than half of the national and state average per week, yet the cost of living in East Arnhem communities is amongst the highest in the Northern Territory.

“With low income, high cost of living and overcrowded housing, understandably waste and recycling isn’t high on the priority list for East Arnhem residents. Litter is an ongoing issue around housing and on the streets evidenced by a 2018 Litter Hot Spot Audit recording a whopping 2,098 pieces of litter in a single 10m by 10m area.”

Clay and her team had to look at how the East Arnhem Regional Council could provide its residents with the same waste management opportunities as mainstream Australia while overcoming barriers associated with residents living in extremely isolated locations.

“How can we change ingrained littering behaviours and positively engage these remote communities? Specifically, how can we ensure that the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) refunds that all Australians are entitled to can be accessed by those who need it the most?”

East Arnhem Regional Council staff recognised that the Northern Territory CDS was an opportunity to address the litter issue in conjunction with achieving both social and economic benefit across its communities. The council engaged the local barge operator, Sea Swift, in a sponsorship arrangement where it was agreed that all recyclable containers would be back-loaded to the recycler in Darwin, free of charge.

The council then received funding to install recycling cages across its communities and to develop a television commercial to promote the use of the scheme.

In late 2016, the cages were rolled out. They were being emptied by local staff and the 10-cent refunds started trickling in to community accounts. Once a significant value of funds was received, the community could decide how best to spend the funds.

However, the trickling refunds were just that – a trickle, Clay explained.

“A quick glance through any community street revealed many CDS eligible items were still being littered – and our inaugural Litter Hotspot Audits in 2018 backed this up – with over 30 per cent of littered waste being CDS eligible items in some areas.

“East Arnhem Regional Council residents were aware that their relatives in Darwin could get the 10-cent refund back themselves and when asked if they thought if East Arnhem residents would prefer to get the 10-cent refund back themselves, the response was an overwhelming ‘yes’,” Clay said.

Following the feedback, in June 2019, East Arnhem Regional Council decided to trial the first ever “Cash for Containers” depot in Galiwin’ku, using the ‘Mobile Depot’ from Darwin, Envirobank.

With less than two weeks of advertising and with the depot operating for just five hours, Galiwin’ku recycled 12,817 containers. This injected more than $1,200 into this remote, island economy with a population of just over 2000 people.

“The streets were lined with kids, adults and grandparents with their bright yellow clean-up bags, picking up the valuable waste. Based on this success, the council pursued approval from the NT EPA to become the Northern Territory’s only Local Government CDS Mobile Depot,” Clay said.

Photo by: Photographic Memory

Outstanding WARR Project: Metro – Waverley Council

Waverley Council’s Recycling Improvement Program for Multi-Unit Dwellings (MUDs) stemmed from a need to minimise contamination rates in kerbside recycling streams.

More than 80 per cent of Waverley’s population resides in MUDs, which have traditionally posed waste management challenges for local governments with higher density properties typically experiencing higher than average contamination of recycling streams.

Waverley Council staff identified that these higher levels of contamination can be attributed to a lack of ownership over shared bin systems; difficulties with residents accessing bin rooms; inadequate ability for required additional capacity due to older properties being designed with inadequate capacity; and often transient populations and high-resident turnover.

The council designed a Recycling Improvement Project to help people living in MUDs improve their recycling efforts with the help of appropriate infrastructure, bin allocation and educational resources and tools.

The Waverley Council team wanted to reduce contamination rates in their kerbside bins to allow for improved product quality delivered to MRFs and to increase the likelihood of those materials being recovered and made into new products.

Waverley Council sustainable waste manager Beth Kasumovic said Waverley is quite transient, particularly over summer where visitors stay in an apartment for a short period.

“This has led to numerous waste management challenges with higher than average contamination of recycling streams.

“To address this issue, Waverley Council developed a Recycling Improvement Program aimed at providing improved waste infrastructure, targeted education and engagement with property managers to make it easy for residents in higher-density living to recycle correctly and thereby reduce contamination in the recycling streams,” Kasumovic said.

She collated waste and recycling data over time to observe trends and identified that numerous buildings had consistently high contamination in their recycling streams.

Following this, Kasumovic engaged with strata managers in a working group to get a better sense of some of the barriers to proper waste management at their buildings. Through the research and feedback from internal and external stakeholders she developed the project plan for the Recycling Improvement Program and oversaw the delivery of the project.

The program helped raise awareness among residents about the importance of their efforts towards separating their waste and recycling properly. It helped them do so by ensuring each building had the correct number of bins in good condition, that were easy to access and had appropriate signage – among other actions.

The project was rolled out in five stages – data gathering, relationship building, resource development, on-site recycling improvement program delivery, and assessment and recommendations.

There was a 51 per cent reduction in contamination in yellow bins, which house containers, since the implementation of the project. The council also saw a 47 per cent reduction in contamination in blue bins, which are used for paper and cardboard collection.

The project has been so successful in reducing contamination in the recycling bins that the council plans to continue to implement the program to all MUDs containing in excess of 20 units in the Waverley local government area.

Waverley Council staff have identified that through infrastructure improvements and effective education and engagement programs it is possible to increase recycling rates by 32 per cent. But programs such as this come with challenges.

Kasumovic said that the greatest challenge faced by the council during the implementation of the project was the same challenge that many others face in the recycling industry – that recycling habits and behaviours have been entrenched over several years.

“Waverley Council has overcome this challenge by developing a program that has demonstrated successful results that are repeatable across a variety of property types and sizes,” she said.

Kasumovic explained that not only has the council fulfilled the objective of substantially reducing contamination in the recyclable streams, it has also provided a variety of other benefits, including strengthened relationships with residents, cleaners and property managers.

Photo by: Photographic Memory

TOMRA Operational Excellence – Cleanaway Waste Management

Cleanaway Waste Management stands out for its notable safety record and high operational performance on its Hydrocarbons sites across its refinery network.

The Cleanaway Hydrocarbons team use lead indicators to promote safety and drive compliance. This includes safety walks, hazard IDs and Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) monitoring.

A best practice example of Hydrocarbon’s strong safety focus is the team’s emphasis on shutdown safety. They have refreshed pre-shut safety focus – including new training, work instructions and processes around isolations with lock out/tag out. Daily shutdown updates have significantly increased the visibility of work completed and safety awareness. Every team member holds themselves and each other accountable for zero harm safety outcomes consistent with the company’s “home safe” value.

The team also monitor injury free day records and celebrate achievements within the workplace. For every 100 injury free days achieved, the refinery sites celebrate the milestone by donating to a recognised charity and an on-site lunch for the employees. Charities to date include, Starlight Foundation, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and Sunshine Coast Animal Rescue.

Cleanaway Hydrocarbons general manager Blake Senior said the Hydrocarbons team is a diverse and experienced workforce.

“Our strength as a business is a result of that diversity. Our ‘Cleanaway Way’ is our framework for embedding a clear, defined mission and values statement into our business.

“The Hydrocarbons team have operationalised the ‘why’ behind our mission – making a sustainable future possible through the closed loop recycling of used oil to produce re-refined base oils. Our employees constantly demonstrate their commitment to the Home Safe value through the way they go about their work, and regularly communicate about the continuous improvement initiatives that allow them to achieve ongoing performance,” Senior said.

These initiatives are often driven from a focus on continuous improvement and the exploration of alternatives, that may provide a difference and benefit into the way the business is operated.

“It’s the fostering of these initiatives that regularly pays dividends, either through improvements in safety systems, developing a more engaged workforce, or quality or productivity gains,” Senior explained.

With the manufacture of base oils from recycled oils still in its infancy in Australia, Senior said that the team had faced its share of challenges.

“Being the only hydrotreater of recycled oil in Australia can sometimes be seen as a double-edged sword. Our Hydrocarbons team is leading the way forward in technology development, which is beneficial for Cleanaway and our customers alike, however there is always the necessity to identify future industry trends to remain one step ahead, and when you are the only one doing something, there are always others that want to join in.

“Due to a combination of the significant downturn in Australian manufacturing and the unique highly technical aspects of our refineries, an additional challenge is finding local suppliers with expertise that is transferable to our specific operational requirements. It has forced us to develop in-house expertise through R&D and pilot projects. During the implementation of these initiatives/projects, there is always that pressure of maintaining production levels during that time and ensuring the project is completed without incident, on time and on budget,” Senior said.

The numerous challenges faced by the Hydrocarbons team doesn’t get their spirits down. Senior said that he gets to work with an outstanding group of people that are relentless in their drive for excellence.

“It’s motivating to be a part of it, and it makes you strive for your best also. It is with this attitude that it is possible to have reconfigured an existing operating philosophy into something different to achieve more stable operation with the benefit of providing improved uptime through a reduction in the number and duration of reactive and planned maintenance shutdowns per annum.

“The net impact of the relentless focus on operational excellence is clearly quantifiable and auditable across safety, productivity, quality and financial metrics.”

Senior acknowledged that he is fortunate to be a part of the dynamic Hydrocarbons team. “The success of our business and the effective execution of projects is achieved by the combined team united by the philosophy of mutual accountability, who each play a pivotal role to continuously deliver safety, compliance and engineering excellence.”

Bingo Innovation Award – Integrated Recycling

In 2014, Integrated Recycling was looking for new opportunities to grow its range of recycled plastic products, particularly in the area of load support products. At the same time, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) was looking for suitable alternatives to the dwindling supply and quality of available timber sleepers through the creation of a recycled plastic railway sleeper. PTV funded the Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University (Monash IRT) to develop guidelines for the design of plastic railway sleepers for the Tourist and Heritage Railways in Victoria, and to conduct the laboratory testing.

Integrated Recycling took up the challenge and through many trials and tests in the factory, in the laboratory and in the field, the company created what has now become the Duratrack recycled plastic railway sleeper.

Duratrack sleepers became the first Australian made recycled plastic railway sleeper to meet the guidelines in 2017.

In a big step forward Duratrack sleepers were approved for mainline use in 2018. They have now been installed for trials. 

Integrated Recycling general manager Stephen Webster said there were many challenges faced in developing the sleeper. One key challenge was the lack of an Australian Standard for alternative sleepers, Webster explained.

“Without an Australian Standard for alternative sleepers there was no reference framework for rail engineers to assess their performance in a rail environment.”

Integrated Recycling overcame this by:

  1. Using the test results obtained by Monash IRT when testing to the QR specifications as if it were an Australian Standard against which MTM and V/Line could assess the performance of the Duratrack sleeper;
  2. Obtaining support through the collaborative nature of the Accredited Rail Operators (ARO) to share data; and
  3. Gaining help through the report prepared by Emeritus Professor Rhys Jones of Monash University analysing the test results and concluding that the Duratrack sleeper was a viable alternative.

Another challenge that Webster highlighted was the need to establish the credibility of performance of a recycled plastic sleeper in a safety conscious environment, like rail.

Despite its difficulties, the Duratrack sleeper has successfully shown that Australian technology can produce a viable recycled plastic railway sleeper, Webster said.

“Duratrack sleepers are both an innovation and a disruption. Its success will disrupt current industrial pathways for traditional ‘business as usual materials’, but its innovation is that the sleeper does not disrupt normal handling and use.

“The commercial development of the Duratrack sleeper will act as a driver of the circular economy,” Webster said.

He also pointed out the collaborative working relationship of Integrated Recycling, the Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University, Strategic Connections Group and the Victorian Government through Sustainability Victoria as a major highlight in achieving the desired outcome for the project.

Photo by: Photographic Memory

Arcadis Outstanding Facility Award – TOMRA Collection Solutions

TOMRA Collection Solutions has been recognised for its container deposit scheme depot in the Northern Territory. The collection depot in Coconut Grove offered a labour-intensive manual counting recycling solution that accepted beverage containers and issued a 10-cent per container cash refund in return.

In late 2018, a decision was made to upgrade this depot and rebrand it to become a modern TOMRA Recycling Centre, which offered fully automated container recognition and sorting via TOMRA’s world’s leading reverse vending machines.

As the company embarked on this upgrade, it became rapidly apparent that this was going to be an extremely challenging project. As a live site, daily operations would need to continue right through the construction period, there were residential properties adjoining the rear boundary, and the overall building footprint was smaller than desired and smaller than required.

The company also faced challenges with the remoteness of Darwin to TOMRA’s warehousing and technical experts on the East Coast.

These challenges were addressed and resolved in the following ways:

  1. Maintaining operations during construction:
    This was achieved by investing in shade structures and temporarily moving some operational functions into the car park of the centre. To support this a 40ft shipping container in the car park was decommissioned and removed from site, providing the extra space required. Safety systems were implemented to ensure the safety of staff and customers alike. In addition, extra staff were rostered for a 4-week period to ensure continuity of service.
  2. Restrictive development application conditions due to adjoining residential properties:
    One of the main planning concerns of the site focussed on noise mitigation. The site is located in an industrial zoned area, but it backs onto residential houses at the rear. With residents’ outdoor area being as close as 6 metres to TOMRA’s operations, noise emanation was a key focus. During the design for the project, a large “cool room” was devised to encase the entire working area of the facility. The “cool room” was designed to soundproof the bulk of the noise created at the site and contain it within the building.
  3. Space constraints:
    TOMRA modified the facility design to fit it within a smaller than desired space – so multiple iterations of layouts for the new look Recycling Centre were developed, to accommodate 3-6 reverse vending machines, up to two bulk sorting machines and the essential front of house for self-service customers.
  4. Distance and logistical challenges:
    Considerable planning was undertaken to ensure equipment shipped from overseas and into Sydney arrived at the correct time during the construction period and aligned to the arrival of TOMRA installation teams from Queensland and from Sydney.
  5. Changing ingrained consumer behaviour:
    Early notification of the change, promoting the upgrade and communicating the benefits of this modernisation were all promoted on site. A key to the successful change was keeping the existing cash refunds in place despite being in conflict with TOMRA’s preferred operating methodology in other states. Throughout the launch week, experienced TOMRA staff from other states were on hand to educate customers.
Photo by: Photographic Memory

Young Professional of the Year – Laura Yum

Golder civil and environmental engineer Laura Yum’s interest in the waste industry began in Germany as a university exchange student where she was confronted with the task of sorting her rubbish into seven different bins.

“This was a far cry from the red, yellow and green bins in Sydney at the time. It was at this point that it dawned on me the importance of the waste industry for healthy communities and the environment,” Yum said.

She said that working at Golder fostered her interest in the waste industry – giving her the opportunity to align her interest with her work.

“This has manifested not only in the projects on which I have worked, but also the support and encouragement I have had to contribute to charitable organisations outside of work, such as my volunteer work at Ozharvest.”

At Golder, Yum has been involved in design, planning, regulatory compliance, delivery, construction, and project monitoring. The major waste projects she has worked on throughout Australia and abroad include landfills, contaminated sites and waste treatment facilities.

“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with (and learned from) many private and government thought-leaders in the waste industry, across a range of disciplines.”

Earlier this year, Golder’s Sydney office established a Sustainability Committee to champion green initiatives and promote environmental awareness. Yum volunteered and was elected as Chair of the Sustainability Committee.

“In my role as chair, I have enjoyed seeing the Sustainability Committee grow and achieve tangible outcomes.

“I am most proud of the Sustainability Committee’s work in implementing waste minimisation initiatives in the office, such as plastic cup recycling and food organics, garden organics (FOGO) waste collection. We are also working on a number of other initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint,” Yum said.

“Sustainability is a passion of mine and I am proud to be playing a part in encouraging both my colleagues and industry as a whole to improve waste management processes and sustainability practices.”

As a design manager for landfill closure works on the WestConnex New M5 project in New South Wales, Yum said there were many challenges, but this didn’t stop her tackling the project.

“The project is truly unique, as it involves construction of a four-level road interchange that connects to new road tunnels, at the site of a former landfill. The stand-out challenge was the management of the complex design interface with other components of the project at the site – in particular, the ‘spaghetti junction’ of roads and ramps that crisscross the landfill. There was significant potential for clashes between landfill closure infrastructure and road/tunnel services, so frequent review of 3D models was required to ensure the design was buildable and achieved the design objectives.

“With the assistance and support of my team at Golder and all stakeholders, I overcame the challenge through careful planning and clear communication. In managing stakeholder expectations and working collaboratively, I was able to ensure that the landfill closure works were delivered to achieve the project objectives in an effective manner,” Yum explained.

Photo by: Photographic Memory

APC Woman of Waste – Alison Price

Alison Price founded SoilCyclers in 2009 with no private investment and no industry experience. Over the past 10 years the company has grown steadily to become one of the largest soil recycling businesses in southeast Queensland.

Price said that her focus has been carving out a specialised industry niche and an outstanding reputation as experts in the field.

“One of the biggest challenges has been that we’re a bit ahead of our time. Soil amelioration is still thought of as something akin to the ‘dark arts’ and the use of soil science in the construction, waste and mining industries has been very limited up until recently.

“After 10 years we are finally starting to see our first real competitors so I’m confident we have started a trend that is here to stay,” Price said.

By aerating as well as mixing stockpiled materials in the one process, SoilCyclers is able to use aspects of the fields of soil chemistry and soil biology – a rare combination that is at the forefront of the soil science field and achieves phenomenal results for the company’s clients.

A challenge, and benefit, Price has faced is the fact that her entire operation is mobile, with no fixed facility.

“Our mobile crews are licensed through the Department of Environment, but we face additional complexities compared to the rest of the waste and recycling industry operating from fixed sites as we require mobile processing machinery and setup of environmental and safety controls on multiple sites each year.

“Despite this, each one of our three crews is capable of recycling around 1000m3 per day, similar numbers to what is achieved by many, far more expensive, fixed plant operations.”

Price said that on top of this, juggling long hours, lots of travel, a growing business and raising a family can be a struggle.

“It takes a certain amount of resilience and a thick skin to choose a career in this industry.

“Thankfully we have a team of amazing people and a local family support network so I’ve had lots of help,” she said.

Although the job comes with its challenges, Price said she enjoys it and is glad she embarked on this career.

“From our very first project with BMD in 2009, we have focussed on reducing the amount of material that gets disposed of to landfill and turning waste into reusable or even saleable materials for our clients.

“My job involves saving clients money by doing the right thing for the environment. It’s an incredibly rewarding role both personally and professionally.”

In helping her get to the stage she is at with her business now, Price developed strong relationships in the industry by participating in associations, and in 2018 she was elected as vice chair of the national board for the National Association of Women in Construction. Price is also a board member of the Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland and an environment committee member for the Civil Contractors Federation Queensland.

Price said that if someone had said to her eleven years ago that the little business she started would turn into her full-time income and also employ people with families and mortgages, she would never have believed them.

“I love the team I’ve built and the passion they have for what we do and I’m particularly inspired watching the career progression of some of the young women I’ve employed.”

Photo by: Photographic Memory

Community Engagement Success of the Year – City of Melville

The City of Melville council invested heavily over the last 18 months in the way it engaged and educated residents on all things waste. From rap waste videos, to gaming apps and interactive information sessions, the council changed the way it communicated to the public.

Rather than offering the standard 3-bin FOGO service, the council made adjustments and provided free, larger recycling bins and offered free general waste bin audits to those struggling with capacity issues.

Additionally, a Christmas waste campaign in 2018 showcased the council’s waste team who dressed up as “Sustainable Santa” and “Excited Elf”. The $400 campaign encouraged residents to drop off an additional 3.5 tonnes of recycling and help divert this from landfill, as historically over the holiday period the extra recycling ended up in the park bins or in general waste bins. The campaign also created a 50 per cent reduction in calls from people asking when to put their bins out. It reached almost 100,000 people and engaged more than 27,000 people.

City of Melville manager for resource recovery and waste Paul Molony said there were a number of lessons learned from a few major projects in the past and one of the main areas for improvement was community engagement.

“The FOGO trial in October 2017 showed that we needed to move away from a corporate big stick approach and create a grass roots, ground up approach to engage the community for a greater buy-in and successful behavioural change program.”

Molony explained that time and effort were the main challenges.

“Finding the time and maintaining some sanity amidst a 10-week bin rollout to run a community information session after hours was a struggle right up until it started, but then it felt more like a night out than a chore.

“With the full FOGO rollout we expected a lot more negativity, but we were blown away by the positive reaction and acceptance from the community. Plus, it was great to meet and speak with so many enthusiastic and knowledgeable residents wanting to do the right thing which made us feel proud to be a part of this great city,” Molony said.

Another proud moment that Molony mentioned was hearing the collection drivers being thanked by many members of the community for the new bins and for doing a great job.

WARR Workplace of the Year – Cleanaway Waste Management

The “Cleanaway Way” mission, vision and values toolkit gives the organisation a framework for embedding a strong culture for the changing workforce, which supports teams to drive continuous improvement and high-performance behaviours.

Some of the initiatives Cleanaway has taken include implementing a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Policy through a D&I strategy and working group, supporting gender inclusion, and progressing their Reconciliation Action Plan into its second phase.

The company’s D&I Policy and the supporting processes are aimed at creating a culture where its employees understand that each individual is unique and that embracing diversity makes Cleanaway more flexible, productive, creative and competitive. In order to support women in the waste industry, Cleanaway continues to focus on increasing female representation at senior levels, with a particular emphasis on promoting from within.

Recently, Cleanaway completed its introduction to reconciliation through its “Reflect” Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and launched its second RAP, “Innovate”.

The RAP is a reflection of the company’s commitment to building understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, including a focus on education, employment and community health and safety.

Cleanaway executive general manager for human resources Johanna Birgersson said that the company spent a lot of time focussing on how to welcome 1,500 team members into its business as part of the recent integration of Toxfree and Daniels Health.

“It was very important to us that people joining Cleanaway as well as all of our existing employees still felt connected to the values they had come from. We looked at the value sets across the three organisations and identified where values were shared or similar, and then gave all staff the opportunity to vote on the values set and the language.

“This was a challenging process, but when we relaunched our ‘Cleanaway Way’ to the business and saw the way people connected with the united mission, vision and values, we knew it was worthwhile.”

Birgersson works closely with business units, HR operations and people leaders to gain a deep insight into some of the initiatives being driven at a local level.

“We have a strong working cadence and operating rhythm, which ensures we do not fail to deliver on our day to day activities whilst we are stretching into project work. And then at the other end, I work with our executive committee to drive and advocate for some of the fantastic programs we’ve been able to deliver. It’s in this role as a champion, particularly for our Diversity and Inclusion strategy, that I’ve been able to progress change through greater awareness, and at times courage, at every level of the organisation,” she said.

Photo by: Photographic Memory

Doug Dean Leader of the Year – Adam Faulkner

Adam Faulkner, CEO of the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority (NAWMA), is the winner of the Doug Dean Leader of the Year award.

NAWMA, which provides local waste management and resource recovery services, switched on its MRF the same time as China announced its National Sword Policy. At the time, Faulkner was new to the role of CEO and he had the foresight to enact a plan that would not only provide NAWMA with a point of difference, but also ensure the financial viability and reputational credibility of the organisation.

He began a transformational business plan and crafted a strategy that drove NAWMA to pivot hard away from the export market, and keep our sorted recyclables onshore.

With the assistance of his senior management team, Faulkner led the board and constituent councils to publicly declare that 100 per cent of recyclables would be processed in Australia by 2020. In addition, councils in NAWMA’s jurisdiction would purchase a minimum of 50 per cent back through sustainable procurement.

NAWMA provides collection, processing, and disposal operations to about 30 per cent of South Australia. Owned by the City of Salisbury, City of Playford, and Town of Gawler, NAWMA is fast becoming an icon of best practice across the nation, and has a building international profile.

Faulkner has overseen the negotiation and market development for fibre and plastics in particular, and has transformed the way NAWMA conducts its recycling operations. He has more than 20 years public and private industry experience across NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

“I fell into the industry (along with everyone else) after applying for a waste officer job near the Gold Coast so I could surf. Twenty years on, I believe it’s the best industry in the world. We are a blend of big projects, strategic decisions, operational nous, and a reputation for getting stuff done,” Faulkner said.

“I am most proud of marrying my wife and raising my family in the midst of navigating the testing world of waste and resource recovery. My greatest professional experience is a tie between spending seven years getting a greenfield landfill and recycling park approved in the green heartland of Tweed Shire Council, smack bang 15 minutes in either direction to Gold Coast international airport and Byron Bay; and working side by side with my current wonderful team in switching on a new MRF the same week China Sword hit – and riding the wave ever since.”

Faulkner said that the greatest thing he has learned in his career is to listen more, speak less, continuously learn, and give everyone a shared purpose to work towards.

“Reward loyalty, invest in people, interact authentically, and surround yourself with genuinely good people who are bloody good at what they do.

“My single piece of advice for others starting out in their career is to look at the leader(s) within an organisation, and join those who have a sincere passion for what they are doing and demonstrate great care for their team. These two traits will inevitably lead to shared success, and just happen to be impossible to fake.”