Everyday Brisbane residents fighting the war against waste are among 28 finalists for the new Brisbane City Council WasteSMART Brisbane Awards.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the awards, which replaced 2019’s Cleaner Suburbs awards, have received a record 195 nominations.

“Brisbane is home to many devoted environmental leaders. The WasteSMART Brisbane Awards are a chance to recognise the incredible efforts of people of all ages to keep our city clean and green,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Among the finalists, it’s great to see a wave of circular economy champions be recognised including ReThink Store in Yeronga, Repair Café in Sandgate, Substation33 and Lota State School.

“WasteSMART Community Awards finalists Repair Café and Substation33 are both being recognised for their efforts in repairing household and electronic items, helping reduce the number of broken products from heading into landfill.

“WasteSMART School Awards finalist Lota State School has also done an astounding job in educating kids about the benefits of circular economies through their annual toy and book swap.”

Cr Schrinner said the awards highlight businesses, schools and kindys which go above and beyond to reduce their environmental footprint.

“All finalists have shown the utmost dedication to creating a more sustainable city, but they’ve also inspired other local residents to change their waste habits too,” he said.

“Tarragindi’s Renae McBrien has helped Brisbane hospitals adopt smarter recycling methods and she also dedicates time to educate the community about waste initiatives through her War on Waste Brisbane Facebook page.

“Brisbane-born business Biome is being recognised for its outstanding work in offering customers sustainable household products including stainless steel pegs and bees wax clingwrap. It’s also the first Australian retailer to be awarded an international certification for having the highest social and environmental standards.”

Cr Schrinner said there are seven award categories and 11 awards, with a prize pool of more than $4000, including a People’s Choice WasteSMART Award judged by the public.

“Our finalists are judged by a panel, which includes industry experts, but the People’s Choice category is a chance for the community to show their support for these wonderful groups and individuals,” he said.

“Voting for the People’s Choice category, which comprises of all the shortlisted finalists, is open from 5-16 October at www.wastesmartawards.com.au/vote.”

Winners will be announced on 25 November.

WasteSMART Brisbane Awards Finalists:

Councillor’s WasteSMART Choice Award:

  1. Kingfisher Recycling Centre (Aspley) – The Kingfisher Recycling Centre Community has been recycling since 1983 and has recently become a place for volunteers, waste minimisation enthusiasts to meet and home to a Council Community Composting Hub.
  2. Sonya Kerslake (Wynnum West) – Sonya created and leads a group called the Bayside Clean Up Crew, which organise events to pick up litter in & around the Bayside shores, parks, mangroves and mudflats.
  3. Taringa Community Garden – This community group, brought together by Claire Putt, is establishing a community garden and running a community composting hub in the Taringa/Toowong area.

UQ Brisbane’s WasteSMART Champions Award (2 Awards):

  1. Ethan Heng (Fitzgibbon) – Ethan has hosted three community clean up days with a focus on educating young participants about the environment. He leads by example within the community by picking up rubbish frequently around his neighbourhood and school.
  2. Renae McBrien (Tarragindi) – Renae advocated Queensland Health to deliver vast waste reform across Brisbane hospitals. She also runs a War on Waste Brisbane Facebook page and has helped establish the Tarragindi Community Garden.
  3. Christine Rafter (Carindale) –  Christine voluntarily runs a sewing for charity group, In Stitches Brisbane, which repurposes fabric or wool donated by people.
  4. Manny Findlay (Algester) – Manny actively cleans his local parks and street and works with the local Councillor to advocate for keeping his suburb clean, recycling and using a green bin.

Containers for Change Queensland WasteSMART Community Award (2 Awards):

  • Ocean Crusaders Foundation (Hemmant) – Ocean Crusaders collect and recycle bottle caps and are in the process of turning them into sustainable floats for waterways to replace polystyrene floats.
  • Northey Street City Farm (Windsor) – Northey Street City Farm is a leading urban permaculture farm addressing sustainability in the urban context through recycling organics, including green waste and food scraps.
  • ReThink Store(Yeronga) – ReThink store started in 2019 by a group of volunteers which dedicate their time to support those in the community, particularly those with a disability, to take positive action to reduce their household waste.
  • Repair Café (Sandgate) – Repair Café Sandgate provide a free meeting place where people repair household items together with skilled volunteers.
  • OzHarvest Brisbane – In response to COVID-19, OzHarvest developed #HospoHeroes, providing healthy, pre-cooked meals for families, international students and other vulnerable groups. OzHarvest was able to deliver more than 7000 individually portioned meals over a three-month period.
  • Substation33 – Over the past financial year, Substation33 has collected and recycled over 200,000 kilograms of obsolete electronic waste with a 97% recovery rate. This process supported 600 volunteers to engage in 80,000 hours of volunteering.


WasteSMART Business Award (2 Awards):

  • Loop Growers – Loop Growers cycle organic yields from cafes, bars and breweries around Brisbane to grow food for these venues.
  • RECAN Create (Brisbane City) – Since launching in December 2019, RECAN members have collectively diverted 7.1 tonnes of cans and bottles from landfills and waterways.
  • Northshore Street Food and Art Markets (Hamilton) – Northshore Street Food and Art Markets has significantly reduced its general waste over the past 18 months through a range of initiatives whilst also educating patrons on correct waste management.
  • Biome  – Biome is a sustainable retailer with a new free, vegan and sustainable fundraising program for schools and environmental organisations.
  • Howard Smith Wharves – Howard Smith Wharves has adopted a strong sustainability ethic in their approach to resource recovery.
  • Officeworks (Adelaide Street Store) – Officeworks Adelaide Street focus to reduce their landfill contributions to less than 5% of all their waste by the end of the fiscal year with the long-term goal to eventually recycle 100% of their waste.


IKEA WasteSMART Schools Award (2 Awards)

  • Yeronga State School Green Team – The Green Team meets weekly to establish initiatives that will help to make their school more sustainable in composting, recycling and litter.
  • Graceville State School Green Team – The Green Team are inquiring into wild animal habitats, worm farming and composting, gardens and native plants, events and education and are continuing to finalise a school-wide waste sorting system.
  • Lota State School – The school regularly has wrapper-free lunch days, emu parades and educational programs about the effects of litter while also promoting a circular economy.


Hillbrook Anglican School (Enoggera) – Hillbrook estimates that they have diverted 1000L of waste from landfill each week during term time, with a zero waste long-term goal.

  • Calamvale Community College – The college runs a joint community/school initiative to maximise environmental education, outcomes and waste reduction.


Mount Alvernia College (Kedron) – Money raised from recycling of bottles, cans and cooking oil was given to a children’s home in Mongolia, and the waste materials sent to landfill from the school has reduced by 50%.

WasteSMART Kindy Award

  • Prior Street Child Care and Development (Tarragindi) – Their Bush Tucker Garden and Bush Kindy program gives children a deeper understanding of environmental awareness.
  • 3-5 Space, Geebung Community Kindy – Children in the 3-5 space have been creating an eco/green space together which includes native Australian plants, planting herbs and vegetables, learning about the natural environment and using a worm farm to reduce food waste.
  • Taigum Kids Early Learning Centre – The centre has implemented water saving techniques such as half flush cisterns and rainwater tanks. They also reuse water from play, recycle materials, compost as well as have a worm farm.