Meet the winners of the 2023 WasteSMART Brisbane Awards and be inspired by their waste reduction activities to help make Brisbane a clean, green and sustainable city…
Queensland Children’s Hospital
The Queensland Children's Hospital (QCH) are national leaders in resource recovery and developing community partnerships to reduce the impact of health on the planet. QCH actively diverts over 500 000kg of waste into 37 recycling streams which generates or saves Qld Health over $1.8 million dollars annually. Its organic waste strategy captures 85% of all food waste on site, diverting 21,953 kg of food waste to composting and 561kg of food to Oz Harvest.
QCH partners with Ecomarines, Substation 33, Rotary RARE, Save our Supplies, Reverse Garbage, Oz Harvest, National Battery Stewardship Council, Containers for Change, Brisbane Metal recyclers and local vets and animal charities to utilise the waste generated by a hospital to support local charities, communities groups and international aid.
Hannah Churton aka The Worm Monger
You may have seen Hannah Churton and her community verge vegetable garden on the newest season of ABC's War on Waste!
The Bardon resident started the garden as well as a compost hub to help her neighbourhood redirect their organic waste and in the last financial year, she diverted over 6 tonnes of organic waste from landfill.
Hannah also utilises her social channel @the_worm_monger to educate people on composting and verge gardens, reaching more than 20k followers.
Sue Moller is incredibly passionate about suburban composting, backyard food growing, recycling and anything that reduces waste and landfill.
Since completing the ‘Master Composter’ course in 2021, the retired nurse has been helping neighbours, local schools and various community composting hubs in the Gap to reduce their waste.
Through setting up a composting system at The Gap State Primary School, collecting food waste from a local childcare centre, collecting 'Score Cards' from the local Golf Club to use in composting and providing a 'drop-off' point for Sharewaste members to dispose of their food scraps, Sue helps to divert 440kg of waste per month from landfill.
In her spare time, she also runs composting workshops at the Yoorala St Community Gardens.
OzHarvest Catering Services
OzHarvest has launched a new zero-waste catering service which goes beyond providing food at corporate events.
The service educates and empowers corporates to make a positive impact on the environment.
In the last financial year this not-for-profit's new initiative delivered 23,474 meals, diverted 11 tonnes of food from landfill, saved 1,678,391 litres of water and prevented 22,300 kgs of greenhouse emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Brisbane Tool Library
Brisbane Tool Library is a community-driven circular economy social enterprise that works towards waste reduction by encouraging people to borrow tools, camping gear and other equipment.
The inventory of the Brisbane Tool Library made of rescued items from landfill and donations has grown from a dozen items in 2017 to a range of 2000+ items in 2023.
The library now serves members from 63 different suburbs and with over 10,000 loans, BTL has saved the Brisbane community more than one million dollars!
Howard Smith Wharves
With restaurants, cafes, bars, and a brewery that supply food and beverage across the Howard Smith Wharves (HSW) precinct, their core sustainability focus has been around ensuring that waste generated across the many outlets is separated, segregated and recycled.
They have created a dedicated sustainability team who work with all venues at the wharves to achieve their recycling targets.
In the last financial year HSW has diverted 96% of its waste (over 4,523 tonnes) from landfill. This is the equivalent of 23 adult blue whales.
Razia Ansari started RAIS (Recycle Apparel Innovation Sustainability) Industries more than a decade ago, collecting unwanted garments from households and garage sales and since then has grown the organisation to partner with major charity organisations across QLD and NSW.
In the last 10 years RAIS has diverted approximately half a million tonnes of textiles from landfill by finding ways to reuse it and help people in the community that need secondhand clothing.
RAIS is now one of the biggest resellers of used clothes in Queensland and collects more than 50 tonnes of textiles per month.
St Laurence’s College
In 2015 a Geography teacher had a big idea - to create an urban farm in the grounds of St Laurence's College, less than 2kms from the Brisbane CBD. Since then, the school has transformed a barren, long rectangular space wedged between a multilevel carpark and a giant concrete retaining wall into a viable green space that supports food production in the city and a platform for educating about sustainability.
With the help of a small group of likeminded colleagues and students and no start-up funding, this plot of approximately 400sqm now grows edible plants, native plants and raises animals (chickens, ornamental fish, native red-claw crayfish, native jade perch, native silver perch, native bees, composting worms). Its bottom line is that all farm assets and activities must produce food or contribute to a food producing system (permaculture, raised beds, pots, wicking beds, hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical gardens, worm farm, egg production, beehives, organics composting, reusing and repurposing materials).
In the last financial year, the school diverted 100kg of shredded paper into their worm farms, 300kg of fruit and vegetable scraps from the canteen to the worm farm and chicken coop and produced 500kg compost and 100 litres of liquid fertilizer aka ‘worm tea’.
Payne Road State School
Payne Road State School runs the Environmental Leader's Workshop which hosts more than 11 cluster schools to come and learn about sustainability and the environment. The school also runs a stall at their local member of Parliament (Jonty Bush's) Eco Forum where the children educate the local community about all of the ways they are contributing to a cleaner environment.
The school has an established Junior and Senior Environment Club that meets every week. This enables the children to ensure the grounds are looked after and taken care of, from overseeing the native bees and Indigenous plants, to maintaining the vegetable gardens and compost bins.
Students also manage the classrooms electricity usage and have a designated spot-on assembly to award the most energy efficient classroom.
They are also part of the Tangalooma Ecomarines program and this year they have encouraged students to have a "wrapper free Wednesday", to help minimise the amount of single use plastics at the school.
Milestones Early Learning Centre Everton Park
Milestones Everton Park has implemented a clothes swap which is available daily for parents to swap children’s clothes. This has helped to foster an understanding of the importance of sustainable practices, while assisting families facing the rising cost of living. Through the clothes swap the centre has also donated items to the Northwest Community Projects that help provide clothing and essentials to the needy.
Their sustainability practices don’t end there though, they also have a worm farm and composter to reduce food waste as well as an edible garden. They also recycle containers with Containers for Change.
Save Our Supplies
Save Our Supplies (SOS) is a not-for-profit charity which has developed an innovative and cost-effective way to divert our hospital’s unusable, clean medical waste from landfill while at the same time, providing crucial medical care across the globe.
As a theatre nurse here in Brisbane, Claire Lane was appalled by the waste in her hospital. Spurred into action, she founded SOS in the granny flat she was living in to address the issue.
By simply introducing brightly coloured SOS bin in theatres, this not-for-profit organisation has been able to save clean, unused medical supplies that would have gone to landfill. The bins are then collected by Claire and her volunteers weekly and sorted at the warehouse before being donated to developing nations..
SOS currently partners with 15 Brisbane hospitals and will expand into most hospitals in Southeast Queensland now they’ve received the Queensland Health waste removal tender.
Over the last financial year thanks to their team of three employees and 15-20 volunteers who spent a total of 50 hours each week collecting and sorting supplies, around 20 tonnes of supplies were prevented from going to landfill and approximately $1.5 million dollars' worth of supplies were donated to developing nations.
Claire Lane of Save our Supplies won the Outstanding WasteSMART Award in 2021, making her organisation an All-Star finalist for 2023.