The 2020 LARAC awards took place this week, October 14, recognising the hard work of local authority recycling teams, individuals and council partners in the last 12 months.
Held virtually, after the first day of the 2020 LARAC Conference, the 12th annual awards were judged by a panel of experts from across the sector.
The event was hosted by Lee Marshall, the chief executive of LARAC, who said: “The sector as a whole has risen to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, and none more so than all the local authority officers, staff and their contactors. You have all done amazing work to keep services going the way you have, and to keep recycling levels high.
“You should be very proud of the work you have done. When the judges met, they said all local authorities should be getting an award for their work, so thank you.”
The winners were as follows:
Best communications campaign of the year – sponsored by Contenur
Winner: Bristol Waste Company | Litter Hurts
The first award of the ceremony was for the communication campaign of the year award, won by the Bristol Waste Company for its ‘Litter Hurts’ campaign.
Britsol’s in-house waste company ran the hard hitting campaign, directly targeting key littering offenders by using powerful messaging to disrupt people’s behaviour at the point they might litter. This included messaging around the impact that litter can have on dogs, including cut paws and choking on plastic bags.
Following the campaign, a local survey showed a 50% reduction in littering.
When accepting the award, a spokeswoman for the in-house company said: “ We are delighted, and it just goes to show that pictures of pets and ouns, which may seem trivial, can go right to the heart of residents, and we’re delighted to see such an amazing success rate and pick up this award.”
Other shortlisted campaigns:
Medway Council | HWRC: Reopening after Covid-19 Lockdown
West London Waste Authority | West London’s Food Waste Campaign
Westminster City Council | Food Waste Recycling Trial
BEST PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Viridor
Winner: Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council | Defeating Dudley’s Mattress Mountain
The council partnered with Textek to offer its residents a new service for the collection and recycling of selected bulky waste goods and materials.
The main objective was to move this material “up the waste hierarchy” from landfill to recycling. Textek and Dudley worked together to share route optimisation measures and local knowledge to offer fuel and other cost savings.
This was then spread from mattresses to other materials such as carpet underlay, all cheaper than the council’s bulky waste service.
A spokesperson for the council said upon receiving the award: “It means to much to us. We are absolutely delighted, it is the first year we have submitted an entry for the award and it means so much to have won, thank you.”
Other shortlisted partnerships:
Cheshire West and Chester Council | Poets Estate
Croydon Council | Pet Food Pouch Recycling Project
Resource London and Peabody Housing Association
BEST TEAM OF THE YEAR- sponsored by FCC
Winner: London Borough of Hillingdon
The London Borough of Hillingdon’s waste and recycling picked up the Team of the Year Award. At the beginning of the pandemic the council looked at ways of protecting and preserving frontline waste services, whilst maintaining social distancing guidance. The waste team continued to provide a weekly service for all the waste streams and not one service was suspended.
This meant the needs of their residents, who were producing increased tonnages of waste and recycling while working at home, could continue to be met.
A spokesperson for the council’s waste team said: “ We are so thankful for this award, and for recognising the unique teamwork between the waste and our community transport staff.
“In March, at the time when the government provided advice for hygiene and space, we provided a solution which meant our staff were safe and continued to provide a service to all of our residents, thank you so much.
Other shortlisted teams:
Cheshire West and Chester Council
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
West Berkshire Council
BEST WASTE MINIMISATION OR PREVENTION PROJECT – sponsored by REPIC
Winners: Cornwall Council | Cornwall Repair Café Network
Cornwall council began planning for a repair network in early 2019, stating that it would help with the council’s aims in a number of areas, most noticeably social isolation and promoting reuse of materials.
They established the Cornwall Repair Café Network in the spring, and also published a useful step by step guide for other councils which wish to follow in their footsteps. They have set up 16 individual cafes throughout Cornwall which cover over a quarter of the county’s population.
Around 750 kg of waste has been saved, the council says.
Commenting after receiving the award, a spokesperson said: “Thank you so much for this award, the movement has been a great success and we have smashed down the barriers in place to setting up reuse Cafes. We really hope that through this we can help other councils too.”
Other shortlisted projects:
Bristol Waste | Bristol #WasteNothing Challenge
Bristol Waste | The Reuse Shop, Bristol
Hackney Council | #ZeroWasteHackney, Go Beyond Recycling
BEST NEW IDEA – sponsored by IPL, formerly known as MGB Plastics
Winners: Buckinghamshire council
Buckinghamshire council picked up the best new idea award for its work with 360 Visual Media in March 2020 to provide virtual tours inside all nine of its HWRCs.
These overlay site opening times, information about the site and positive messages about recycling. They are available on the councils website for free, and enables the council to share more information with residents in an engaging way.
A spokesperson for the council said: “It is always nice to win an award, so thank you. This tool is very similar to Google Streetview and is an easy and simple way for residents to have a look around the site, and find out all the information they need.”
Other shortlisted ideas:
Cheshire West and Chester Council
Suffolk County Council
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO RECYCLING – sponsored by PermiServ
Winner: Julie Hughes, Cheshire West and Chester Council
The final award of the evening was awarded to Julie Hughes, of Cheshire West and Chester council.
Julie, a customer relationship officer for Cheshire West and Chester Council, was recognised for being “an individual who is passionate about her environment, recycling and helping residents achieve the best out of their kerbside collection service.” The authority said that the waste management team “admire her resourcefulness and extraordinary ability to enthuse residents to recycle more and manage their waste correctly. Julie is a born problem solver who does a sensational job in some sticky situations.”
She was up against Tina Norman-Ross from Guernsey Waste who, said Lee Marshall, had also done a huge amount of work on Guernsey, especially on communications and helping to drive up recycling rates.