The Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation (ISJO) has been named overall winner for the Community Waste Services Award at the LGNSW Excellence in Environment Awards 2020.

The recognition at one of the state’s top annual awards for council-led environment initiatives also included a win in Division C (for populations of 70,000 plus) in the same category.

ISJO was recognised for a benchmark program designed to broaden understanding of the collection of household bulky waste and the factors that affect their movement through local council waste streams. The project would ultimately identify opportunities to divert resources from landfill.

ISJO Chair Cr Gordon Bradbery AM said the two-phase project, which included a research partnership with the University of Wollongong followed by consultation with the people who commonly used council collection services, could potentially be applied across the state.

“Our main aim with the project was to source ways to divert those big items like lounges and timber furniture that form a major part of the council kerbside collection service from landfill,” he said.

“We also wanted to increase the recycling, reuse and reprocessing of materials from the collection service, promote the sustainability of our resources and improve our reporting on sustainability measures.

“From our research and community consultation we have developed a guide to leading practice for the collection of those large household items. This guide can be scaled up across NSW and potentially further afield.

“This kind of project to determine economies of scale across regions and stronger outcomes for all communities is what ISJO is all about. It is pleasing to be recognised for the work we are doing and our teams will continue to work in partnership with a variety of stakeholders to achieve strong benefits for the Illawarra Shoalhaven region.”