Get in quick to vote in the People’s Choice Award for local waste warriors.

Brisbane residents are encouraged to cast their vote and help crown the 2023 WasteSMART People’s Choice Award winner.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said thirty-one finalists had been nominated in the prestigious People’s Choice category for going above and beyond to make Brisbane clean, green and sustainable. 

“Brisbane is recognised as Australia’s cleanest and greenest capital city and I want to make sure it gets even better for future generations,” Cr Schrinner said. 

“The WasteSMART People’s Choice Award recognises individuals, community groups and businesses who undertake waste-smart activities with a $350 prize up for grabs. 

“Some finalists include charity and not-for-profit groups who work incredibly hard to divert all types of waste from landfills, including food, clothes and textiles, and unusable medical waste. 

Local Nominees

In South Brisbane, Queensland Children’s Hospital and St Laurence’s College are among the finalists.

Queensland Children’s Hospital 

The Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) is a national leader in resource recovery and developing community partnerships to reduce the impact of health on the planet. QCH actively diverts waste into thirty-seven recycling streams, which generates or saves Qld Health over $1.8 million annually. 

 “At Children’s Health Queensland, we believe we have an obligation to do everything within our power to make positive and lasting change today to ensure a healthier tomorrow for children and young people,” Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive, Frank Tracey said.

“Environmental sustainability is a natural extension of our holistic approach to care – in order to deliver the best health outcomes now and into the future, we need to provide healthcare in a way that minimises environmental harm and builds an appreciation for the role our environment plays in healing, health and overall wellbeing.”

Mr Tracy said medical waste presents significant challenges, particularly the regulated waste streams that ensure medical biohazardous and infectious waste are disposed of securely and correctly to prevent human and environmental harm. 

“Our hospital staff are trained to segregate all waste correctly to protect the environment and we have established recycling systems with community groups and charities to support a circular economy and reduce the amount of hospital waste reaching landfill.”

 “Thanks to our dedicated ‘green team’ we’re now diverting more than 500,000 kg of waste away from landfill and into 37 recycling streams each year. Our 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.”

St Laurence’s College (South Brisbane)

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. It produced 500kg compost and one hundred litres of liquid fertiliser, aka ‘worm tea’.

Brisbane Tool Library 

While no longer based in South Brisbane, Brisbane Tool Library also has a special place in the 4101 suburbs where it started.

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 sixty-three different suburbs, and with over 10,000 loans, BTL has saved the Brisbane community more than one million dollars.

“In February 2022, the Brisbane Tool Library was flooded out of their State Library home at the Cultural Centre. But never fear, the Tool Library has been resurrected on solid ground – (albeit once again by the River!) – at the Urban Renewal Precinct at Northshore Hamilton,” a library spokesperson told us.

“In our 6-year history the Tool Library has rescued over 2,000 tools from landfill, and with these, we have made over 11,000 loans to 1,400 individual borrowers.”

“Given the current cost of living pressures, borrowing from the Tool Library is ridiculously cheap. Our membership of $85 per year works out at about $1.64 per week. Whereas hiring a large tool such as a pressure washer or jack hammer from one of the commercial hire companies would cost about $160 for a weekend.”

How to Vote

Brisbane residents are encouraged to learn more about our 2023 finalists online and vote for the sustainability champion you feel most deserves the coveted award.” 

The Lord Mayor also urges residents to adopt waste-smart strategies and cast their votes for the groups and individuals leading on waste reduction and sustainability.” 

Public voting closes on Monday, 16 October. 

Find a complete list of finalists and vote on the WasteSMART Awards website:

 The WasteSMART Awards are managed by Brisbane Sustainability Agency on behalf of the Brisbane City Council and proudly sponsored by Containers for Change Queensland, Cleanaway and The University of Queensland.

 A ceremony will be held at Brisbane City Hall in November to announce the winners of the 12 WasteSMART Award categories, which have a combined prize pool of more than $4000.

For more information and to vote, go to

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