Saving waste from landfill is one thing, but turning waste into products that can actually be used is a completely different story.
Well, that’s exactly what Icon Water has been doing, and their efforts have not gone unnoticed.
The company’s commitment to reusing the by-products created from delivering water services has been recognised at the 2020 Banksia Awards.
Held annually, the Banksia Sustainability Awards allow Australian businesses to showcase their conservation efforts.
A household name in the ACT, Icon Water scooped up dual awards, in both the Large Business and overall Gold Awards category.
Icon Water’s No Opportunity Wasted Program – a series of eight resource recovery initiatives targeting the reuse and recycling of items otherwise destined to go to waste – was the winning submission.
This program was a collaboration with several other local businesses, including Fertspread, Re.Group, ACT NoWaste, Yass Earth Movers, Snowy Monaro Regional Council and others.
Icon Water Manager Environment and Sustainability Ben Bryant says working with other local businesses has been an “amazing experience” and that all partners share a thorough appreciation for their slogan ‘no opportunity wasted’.
He says Icon Water is committed to addressing the impact of climate change and delivering services in line with the 17 United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly providing clean and secure water and responsible consumption and production.
They acknowledge that significant drought in the future simply cannot be ruled out, even as Canberra’s dams are full to the brim and say that now is the time to start implementing sustainable practices.
Mr Bryant says they found resource recovery opportunities where materials that had great inherent value were currently being disposed of.
“The most significant finding was that we were digging up over 5000 tonnes of clean soil through different projects, but we were not able to reuse it ourselves,” he added.
Clearly, there’s no need for clean soil to end up in landfill.
Icon Water was able to work out a system which effectively stopped them from having to buy soil. Instead, they now reuse 70 per cent of this ‘spoil’ themselves with the remaining 30 per cent used locally.
Other initiatives included the ongoing use of a high-quality soil conditioner made from sewage sludge and creating a new composting product manufactured using green waste and byproducts of potable water production. A collaboration using deposited glass containers to make sand, rather than harvesting this from riverbanks, is also underway.
“For Icon Water, resource recovery is about sustainably delivering water and managing wastewater for our community. More often than not, recycling, reusing and buying recycled makes financial sense, benefits the environment and sustains jobs and pride in our community – it’s a win-win-win.”
To find out more about Icon Water’s sustainability initiatives, visit Icon Water.