Sisters helping recycle plastic into prosthetic limbs, an eco-friendly hair salon and schools that are successfully fighting the war on waste are among 24 finalists for the 2021 WasteSMART Brisbane Awards.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner encourage Brisbane residents to get involved, saying voting is now under way for Cleanaway’s People’s Choice Award  after 24 finalists were shortlisted from more than 250 nominations.

“The WasteSMART Brisbane Awards recognise individuals, community groups, schools, kindies and businesses making extraordinary efforts to keep Brisbane a clean and green,” Cr Schrinner said,

“Each year, these awards unearth the many different ways our community introduces smart practices to help reduce landfill.

“The 24 finalists have been selected across eight categories including the University of Queensland Brisbane’s WasteSMART Champions Award, WasteSMART Early Learning Award, Containers for Change Queensland WasteSMART Business Award and the IKEA WasteSMART Schools Award.

“From volunteer groups helping to keep Moreton Island litter-free to hair salons with a commitment to recycling industry waste and local heroes finding new ways to keep fabric, yarn and craft materials out of landfill, each finalist is doing their bit in helping to make Brisbane our nation’s most sustainable city.

“With such a strong field of contenders, the expert judging panel will have a difficult task deciding the winners of each category, with more than $4000 worth of prizes up for grabs.

“Residents can have their say by voting for their favourite waste hero in the Cleanaway People’s Choice WasteSMART Brisbane Award.

“I encourage everyone to cast their vote and show their support for the wonderful groups and individuals who are going above and beyond for our environment.”

Public voting closes on Friday 15 October and all award winners will be announced by the Lord Mayor in a ceremony at Brisbane City Hall on Thursday 18 November.

The WasteSMART Brisbane Awards are delivered by Council in partnership with Brisbane Sustainability Agency.

For more information, visit

Finalists in the 2021 WasteSMART Brisbane Awards:

University of Queensland Brisbane’s WasteSMART Champions Award (1x $350 prize)
Renae McBrien

*Also a finalist for the Outstanding award

A passionate individual working towards a sustainable goal to ‘design out waste’ from all daily domestic and commercial transactions. Her goal to mitigate waste from Brisbane landfill, is growing and being achieved through her personal leadership to create small diversion and resource recovery projects. She has volunteered over 850 hours since establishing the Tarragindi Community Garden; mitigated 9 tonnes of domestic and commercial organic waste since January 2020; and has educated over 1,200 hospital staff to understand responsible waste management and clinical recycling methods.
Holly & Charli Garrity Two sisters who run multiple activities in the community including collecting 40,000 containers for recycling, running clean up events, collecting over 80,000 plastic lids to recycle into prosthetic limbs for kids, bush care rehabilitation and running quarterly fashion swap events.
Pamela Gibson Keeps fabric, yarn and craft materials out of landfill through repurposing to make useful items for sale or local groups, or redistribution to other community groups such as kindergartens, CWA, Uniforms for kids, Boomerang Bags, Care Kits for Queensland kids. She has donated to at least 8 kindergartens and 20 community groups.
Containers for Change Queensland WasteSMART Community Award (2x $350 prizes)
Care Kits for Kids Qld Inc

*Also a finalist for the Outstanding award

Collect donated fabric, wool and small accessories in the war on waste, and supply it to many community groups including partner In Stitches Brisbane, or individuals around Brisbane to create items to meet supplies needed for the Care Kits given to children in crisis or out-of-home care.
Ocean Crusaders Foundation Ltd


Are dedicated to keeping our waterways clean through hardcore clean ups, community group clean ups, new collection devices and their Caps Crusade. Their clean-up program removed 54 tonnes of debris from Brisbane over 58 days, and their community events had over 120 volunteers removing over 3 tonnes of debris. Their Caps Crusade program has saved over 10 million caps from going to landfill, and their Automatic River Cleaner technology collects debris from the Brisbane River 24/7.
Save Our Supplies

*Also a finalist for the Outstanding award

Are addressing waste occurring in hospitals by providing an innovative and cost-effective way of eliminating clean medical waste in our hospitals and repurposing it so it can be used by people in desperate need of better health care. They have partnered with 10 of Brisbane’s largest hospitals. Since January 2020 their volunteer network of 25 people have saved an estimated 2.5 tonnes of medical waste to be re-purposed and have supplied $1.5m worth of medical supplies to international communities in need.
Tarragindi Community Garden A community space that provides the local community with free harvest, garden produce, sustainable education sessions and drives their unique Recycling Hub. They have over 1000 social members and have giving out over 150 compost caddies that have rescued over 9 tonnes of food waste in the past 10 months.
eWaste Connection Limited A recycling centre for unwanted electrical waste, offering opportunities to people of all abilities to come and be part of something meaningful, learn social and practical skills while helping the environment and having fun. They run sessions 6 days per week, and have diverted 40,000kg of waste from landfill each calendar year.
Moreton Island Protection Committee A voluntary organisation undertaking initiatives to promote the preservation of Moreton Island. Their Beach Clean Ups occur over six to eight volunteer weekends annually, which has also led to individual rubbish collection through their public awareness of the effects of beach litter and plastics.
Containers for Change Queensland WasteSMART Business Award (x2 $350 prizes)
<19 employees
Vessel Nundah Helping households reduce their single-use plastic waste associated with their use of skincare and cleaning products. Their customers to date have avoided the production, shipping, use and disposal of approximately 20,000 x 500mL single-use plastic containers, by refilling with Vessel Nundah.
Olive Eco Hair


A hair salon implementing several initiatives to recycle or repurpose 95% of their salon waste. Their salon is fuelled by solar power, and they choose all products carefully, including organic herbal cleaning products, biodegradable gloves & coffee pods, compostable herbal teas, recycled foil and use water reduction systems at the basin.
Luna and Sun A sustainable fashion line with several strategies in place to reduce their wastage and educate customers on textile wastage. Initiatives include a partnership with 3D Circular Design to design out textile waste, only using biodegradable natural fabrics or dead-stock fabrics that would have gone to landfill, using fabric off-cuts into scrunchies, donating any left-over fabrics or unsold items to charity, and encouraging customers to donate their unwanted clothing items.
>20 employees 
Howard Smith Wharves

*Also a finalist for the Outstanding award

A food and beverage precinct ensuring the waste that is generated across the many outlets is separated, segregated, and recycled. Resource recovery initiatives include: food and compostable waste, glass, cooking oil, cardboard, steel food tins, coffee and ice cream cups, co-mingled recycling, soft plastics, printer cartridges, e-waste, battery bins, polystyrene and waxed cardboard boxes. They welcome many businesses, schools and community groups to come and learn about their sustainability practices.
EarthCheck A scientific advisory group who are actively engaging in their onsite waste management through a multitude of creative solutions. Their waste is separated in to 12 different streams daily, undergo annual certification to measure and report on their energy and water consumption and waste generation, and have engaged a sustainability architect to implement solutions such as re-purposed furniture and use of recycled materials.
Northshore Street Food & Arts Markets Pty Ltd The venue has been able to reduce weekly landfill contribution by 2/3, saving 76.34m3 from landfill on a weekly basis. Weekly they save around one tonne of food scraps for drought affected regional farmers to use as animal feed, recycle up to 900L of cooking oil, and recycle 32 cubic metres of cardboard. Other initiatives include recycling oyster shells and collections through Containers for Change from which income is donated to the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
WasteSMART Early Learning Award (1x $350 prize)
Avenues Early Learning Centre Jindalee


Children are encouraged to help staff care for the gardens by using their own made worm juice, and compost. The children help care for pets, chickens and worms at the centre. Staff embed sustainability into their daily routines, making it as normal as possible, teaching all how to create a more sustainable future.
Avenues Early Learning Centre Bowen Hills


Centre reuses everything they possibly can. Recycled materials are collected from families for an Adventure Play room where children can create with items such as cardboard, milk crates, pipe and old appliances. All leftover food is collected weekly and donated to OzHarvest who take it to local shelters.
Bellbowrie Early Education Centre


Have implemented a new team of Sustainability Officers to look at the way waste is created in the centre and how it can be reduced. Activities include collecting containers, bottle caps for Ocean Crusaders, bread tags for the local Girl Guides, and batteries to be recycled; shredding waste paperto turn into paper bricks that families can use for fires, adding two new composting bins and worm farms for food waste, and collecting donated items from families to use in craft activities.
IKEA WasteSMART Schools Award (2x $350 prize)
Mt St Michael’s College


The environment group meet fortnightly and are looking at ways to make changes at the system level to maximise their waste reduction. Their five stage plan for the school includes implementing containers for change, school-wide commercial composting, compostable packaging at the school canteen, co-mingled recycling, and soft plastics recycling.
Pallara State School Environment Club


This Environment Club consists of around 60 children from Year 3 to 6 who undertake a range of activities including a before-school session each Tuesday, including rostered collection of compost bins, worm farming, garden weeding and watering, plant propagation, environmental art, native animal nest box building and a subset of students running projects under the auspices of Eco-Marines. They also have an interest in native bees, having four hives on-site. Students host clean up events around school lunch areas, and sort through the rubbish to collect data for analysis.
Greenslopes State School P&C


This P&C are contributing to the school’s war on waste through their successful Containers for Change program which has recycled approximately 85,000 containers. They run the school’s tuck shop with a focus on healthy food with minimal packaging, encourage active school travel to reduce car use, and have chickens to help reduce food waste.
Councillors’ WasteSMART Choice Award (1x $350 prize)
Karana Downs & Surrounds Community Garden Hub Creating a community compost hub to utilise waste food and materials that would have otherwise gone to landfill and repurposing them to enhance the local area, teach the local population how to repurpose waste, regenerate bushland, grow vegetables and assist in the repopulation of endangered species.
Leanne Hutton


An individual who is recycling, repurposing, and reusing all that she can to save waste from going into landfill. Most days Leanne collects items for recycling, delivers them to the appropriate vendor, and updates her dedicated Facebook pages with the information gathered.
LEAD Childcare Wooloowin Have improved day to day waste management practices through recycling, reusing, reducing waste with the introduction of worm farms, chickens, and compost bins. They advertise to the local community to recycle homewares and furniture and use reusable containers for all food storage.
Outstanding WasteSMART Award (1x $350 prize)
Renae McBrien
Care Kits for Kids Qld Inc
Save Our Supplies
Howard Smith Wharves
Cleanaway People’s Choice WasteSMART Award (1x $350 prize)
This category comprises all the finalists shortlisted by the judges across all categories and is voted by the public.