News, Victoria

Finalists announced for Premier’s Sustainability Awards

New apps, innovative alternatives to plastic, and food rescue organisations are but a few of the many inspirational entrants tackling waste which have been uncovered among this year’s Premier’s Sustainability Awards finalists.

Beach Patrol’s LitterStopper app is the Wikipedia of waste, giving people a chance to record their rubbish collection so that the data can be viewed and used by anyone. Data from the app assists the state government collect litter statistics, identify patterns and inform future policy on pollution. To date, LitterStopper has recorded nearly one million littered items, collected over 4,200 cleans. 

LitterStopper rivals Wikipedia, ASPIRE (Advisory System for Processing Information & Resource Exchange) could be seen as the Tinder of waste, offering businesses the opportunity to trade their waste as a resource. 

In this online marketplace, businesses can upload their waste or excess resources and be matched with other local businesses in need of those materials, helping businesses reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle materials so they can become active players in the circular economy. 

In addition to matchmaking, the digital platform also helps businesses track their impact through a portal dashboard. To date, more than 1,000 Australian businesses are registered on the platform, and around 50,000 tonnes of waste has been diverted from landfill. 

Fungi Solutions’ place on the finalist list is a homage to the magic of mushrooms. Using fungi to recycle and transform organic waste into home compostable products and packaging, its products return to the earth in just 12 weeks and enrich the soil to improve the natural soil microbiome. 

Through their growing community network, Fungi Solutions also connects local waste producers with local businesses looking for sustainable packaging solutions. So far, the biotech start-up has rescued 888kg of local waste, capturing 2,250kg of carbon and generating additional revenue streams for local producers. 

Instead of mushrooms, EcoSouLife takes wheat straw and naturally fallen leaves to create everyday objects such as tableware, serving platters and cutlery, offering guilt-free, disposable and reusable alternatives to the plastic, foams and metals which cause harm to our planet. 

Based on 2021 figures, EcoSouLife estimates that 650,000 pieces of plastic dinnerware bound for landfill or recycling has been replaced by their sustainable products that will biodegrade and turn into compost. 

EcoSouLife also supports farmers by helping them transform agricultural waste like wheat, bamboo, corn and fallen palm leaves into products for our picnics, camping trips and parties. 

Precious Plastics’ mission is to get more bang for buck out of the plastics that are already in use. From its closed-loop plastic recycling facility in Nunawading, Precious Plastic Melbourne is designing and producing small-scale recycling equipment to manufacture functional products and create a valuable resource from what was once considered waste. 

Read more: Entries open for Product Stewardship Awards

The innovative, family-owned enterprise empowers community groups, businesses, and schools to manufacture their own products, actively seeding circular eco-systems across the country. Proudly sponsored by 

OzHarvest is another for-impact organisation giving what was once considered waste a new life. From humble beginnings, OzHarvest has become a leading food rescue organisation on a mission to nourish our country by stopping good food from going to waste and delivering it to charities that help feed people in need. 

The OzHarvest yellow vans are out and about in communities every day, collecting quality surplus food from a network of donors, including supermarkets, cafes, delis, restaurants, corporate kitchens, airlines, hotels and other food businesses. 

OzHarvest is committed to halving food waste by 2030, inspiring and influencing others to do the same, and transforming lives through education. 

Ecologiq, another finalist, integrates recycled and reused materials across the state’s $80 billion Big Build and makes the use of such materials through its Recycled First Policy. Similarly, Australian and New Zealand Recycling Platform takes a revolutionary approach to waste with its mobile e-waste recycling factory. As the first of its kind in Australia, it provides an environmentally sound e-waste solution by diverting more than 90 per cent of collected items from landfill. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the prestigious Premier’s Sustainability Awards program – one that has continued to grow and reflect the outstanding efforts towards sustainability that are happening throughout Victoria across industry, business, and community. 

Sustainability Victoria’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, Matt Genever congratulated the finalists on their efforts and said he was buoyed by the tremendous strides being taken across industry and the community to champion sustainability. 

The judging panel included a broad range of independent environmental experts selected for their sustainability and industry expertise. 

For further information about the Premier’s Sustainability Awards finalists, click here.