The Circle Awards AUS & NZ 2021 has now closed. Thank you to all who entered and a big congratulations to all winners – full list can be found below. See you next year!
Pavilions Residences by Mirvac
Pavilions Residences is a collaboration between Mirvac and the University of NSW SMaRT Centre. The result is an industry-first apartment that uses “green ceramics” – floor and wall tiles, kitchen-island fronts, light-fittings, furniture and artworks, all manufactured from waste glass and textiles that would otherwise end up in landfill.
The apartment is a blueprint for how future developments can join the circular economy in ways that are desirable, feasible and scalable, while drastically reducing building and construction waste, which currently contributes to 60% of Australia’s waste (around 41 million tonnes a year).
As a next step, Mirvac is now investigating opportunities to create additional micro-factories to locally manufacture green ceramics from waste materials on site at future projects.
The thing I love about the Pavilions Residences by Mirvac entry is that they have been able to capture materials otherwise going to landfill and repurpose them into a second, very valuable life.
It is a very deserving winner beyond just the innovation, but the application via their first apartment. It sets the stage for rapid expansion and scalability which is what we need to see to deliver the promise of the Circular Economy– Jason Graham-Nye, Co-founder and Co-CEO of gDiapers
Voronoi Runners are sneakers made using only 100% biodegradable materials, constructed without the use of any adhesives – proposing a solution to the large amounts of waste impacting the environment from the footwear industry.
The sneakers replace modern synthetic material with environmentally friendly alternatives and construction for a closed lifecycle, leaving no trace when the product’s usage stage ends. All materials are fully compostable and break down within one year.
The project was part of Rik Olthuis’ Honours research in Industrial Design at Massey University, with the aim to start conversations and raise questions around what is currently being done to better large-scale footwear production methods. Rik has continued working on Voronoi Runners and has been having meetings with industry professionals to explorer further options to scale the solution.
Voronoi Runners are made using 100% biodegradable materials that are fully compostable and break down within a year. The project sets an aspirational benchmark for circular design in a sector that produces enormous amounts of unnecessary waste. The Jury commends this project and the important narrative it will create to help accelerate the transition of large-scale footwear manufacturers towards a circular economy.– Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia
RePlated makes reusable takeaway food containers designed for heavy-duty use and made in Sydney from an innovative combination of recycled PET & glass.
Australians eat 4.5 million takeaway meals every single day, which means the average Australian eats take-away three times per week. Reusables are far superior than even the best single-use alternative (compostables) and there is a growing network of food businesses across the country accepting these BYO containers, supported by a SWAP & WASH pilot program.
Each container is expected to last at least a few years and at end of life they are remanufactured into 3D printed cutlery. RePlated also recently obtained BCorp certification and proudly donates 2% of revenue to Bush Heritage.
Replated has embraced the circular economy model by designing this pretty cute but tough, reusable container made from a blend of recycled plastic and glass.
Their mission is to change the future of take away by starting a re-use revolution. I congratulate Replated wholeheartedly on their vision to change the status quo, a very worthy winner. Their innovation represents an exciting blueprint for the future where waste and pollution can become a thing of the past.– Tamara Veltre, Co-founder and Head of Operations at Breathe Architecture
Good360 has created Australia’s largest online marketplace for businesses to donate surplus non-food goods with those in need via a network of 3000+ charities and schools.
Disposal of non-food goods (clothing, furniture, appliances, toys etc.) that didn’t sell is a hidden waste problem. Good360 offers a seamless solution for businesses to donate these brand new goods to the 3M+ Australians living in poverty, while preventing the goods being sent to landfill.
Good360 is currently working with over 300 retailers including BIG W, Harvey Norman, Colgate, Lego, JeansWest, Best & Less and Booktopia, and their technology enables them to match the right goods, to the right people at the right time.
In the 6 years they’ve been operating, they have matched nearly 20 million items valued at over $162m and diverted 2,810 tonnes of waste, which is the equivalent of 2000 cars. They are currently matching 13 items every minute and have a goal to match 1 item every second within 5 years.
Good360 is a pragmatic contribution towards prolonging the life of products while also supporting those in economic distress. The focus on redistributing appliances and apparel, keeping them in circulation, and minimising landfill, demonstrates real-world circular economy outcomes with impact. I really do admire Good360’s ability to address social, ecological and economic objectives.– John Gertsakis, Director at Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence and Adjunct Professor at UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures
Bettercup is an entirely self-funded, female-founded and led, Melbourne-based social enterprise that creates reusable cups, and supplies reuse systems and services to major events and venues in Australia and New Zealand.
Where standard, single-use cup waste generated by the events and venues industry mostly ends up in landfill and in our waterways, Bettercup’s product-as-a-service model provides events with an end-to-end solution that includes reusable cups and services which include washing and drying, onsite management and training, collection, storage and responsible recycling, post-event reuse reports, and reuse implementation consulting.
Their customers include some of Australia's best known events and brands such as Falls Festival, Dark Mofo, WOMADelaide, Jack Daniels, and Melbourne Fashion Week. So far they have eliminated more than 2.5 million tonnes of single-use cup waste from event waste streams and their vision is to become the expected standard at major events and venues across Australia & NZ.
The events industry relies on systems that make temporary experiences logistically possible, but there are of course consequences to this model. Bettercup can help significantly reduce waste on site at events, reducing landfill, reducing waste removal, but also help shift consumer behaviour for much bigger change on the reduction of waste.– Andy Walsh, Business Director at Secret Sounds
The Very Good Bra
The Very Good Bra was created to be the world's first zero-waste and circular economy bra on the planet, made in response to the increasing environmental damage resulting from the rise in fast fashion overt the last 20 years.
Bras are amongst the least sustainable garments. A traditional bra is made from 9 different materials in small pieces, all worn against the body which makes recycling difficult, resulting in 99.9% of bras ending up in landfill for 200 years, giving off methane gas.
The Very Good Bra’s solution is to make the bra botanically circular and fully compostable at end of life, while ensuring it provides the same performance as conventional. The business also operates a pre-sale only model, which minimises over-production and waste.
Launched via a Kickstarter campaign in May 2018, it went on to achieve 350% of its target goal. The business has grown 80% p.a in each of the 3 years since and last year won Best in Class for Fashion Impact at the Good Design Awards.
It’s remarkable to see the transformation of this local startup, and taking on the world - one lady at a time! Congratulations to Stephanie, a passionate innovator who developed an incredible product that demonstrates true circularity and zero impact at end of life.
Very impressive to see the range available to suit every possible figure, the ingenuity to see compostable materials solving the challenge for where metals and hardware etc. would be. Not only does The Very Good Bra go above and beyond to give back to communities in partnership with charitable causes, but their garments also ensures the highest quality in every respect.– Camille Reed, Founder and Director of Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA)
Ulu Hye Mylk Bases
Ulu Hye has a range of all natural Mylk Base products which make it easy to make fresh mylk at home with completely no waste – simply blend the paste with water for 60 seconds.
With each glass jar making 10 whole litres of mylk, Ulu Hye has already helped prevent 500,000 milk long-life cartons ending up in landfill, and that number is only growing. Plus they’re also preventing food waste by putting an end to pouring half-empty cartons down the sink!
The jars are currently stocked in approx. 250 health & bulk food stores, as well as independent supermarkets around Australia, with plans to be available in mainstream supermarkets in the future.
What we really loved about Ulu Hye was their dedication to minimising food waste AND unnecessary packaging—they’ve already prevented 500,000 milk long-life cartons ending up in landfill which is a massive achievement. Their forward-thinking formula is absolutely the way for future food consumption and I can’t wait to see them in mainstream grocery stores soon.– Morgan Reardon, Lifestyle & Travel Editor at Urban List
The Hello Cup
Hello Cups are fully reusable and recyclable menstrual cups that provide an easier and more sustainable alternative to single-use products. Designed by the company's female founders and lifelong best friends Robyn McLean and Mary Bond, a Registered Nurse, the cups are made from medical-grade TPE (rather than silicone) which makes them fully recyclable.
A person with a period will use, on average, 16,000 tampons or pads in their lifetime, generating more than 100kg of period-related landfill waste. These often contain micro-plastics and chemicals, and can take more than 500 years to breakdown in landfill. The first tampon ever used is still somewhere on our planet.
One Hello Cup lasts five years and is the equivalent of 2,130 single-use products. Hello Cups have prevented more than 200 million single-use tampons and pads going into landfills around the world and they are on track to prevent 1 billion single-use period products going into landfills by 2025.
In their own words, The Hello Cup is an easy switch from single-use period products with “no strings attached”.
Although menstrual cups aren't a new concept, we loved seeing how The Hello Cup have refined the design to make them more comfortable and environmentally friendly.
By adopting a fun tone of voice and a visually appealing design, they’re making reusable menstrual cups more accessible to the mainstream masses and saving millions of single use tampons and pads from ending up in landfill. Plus, they’re manufactured and made available in New Zealand!– Anna Ross, Founder of Kester Black
Great Wrap is a home-compostable stretch wrap, made from potato waste at their solar powered factory on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.
Australia puts 150,000 tonnes of stretch wrap into landfill each year, and if food waste were a country it would be the 3rd biggest emitter of Greenhouse gases (behind the US and China). So while re-usable solutions are always the ultimate goal, Great Wrap is a huge step in the right direction and solves a very big problem right now.
Currently they sell cling wrap for home use and they are launching with a commercial sized wrap, as well as pallet wrap in the coming months. By July 2021 they will be Australia's largest manufacturer of stretch wrap and all of their products will be home compostable. By the end of 2021 they will be marine biodegradable too, by utilising waste from winemaking.
I love Great Wrap. I think it’s a brilliant innovation and solves a massive problem around the use of traditional plastic wrap from domestic through to industrial applications.
These kinds of products help us bridge from the current system to deeper, further innovation and behaviour change. What we need right now are alternatives that are better at solving our wicked problems NOW not once we have perfect behaviour change.
Mainstream convenience products that are circular by design are key to mitigating the immeasurable damage currently being wrought by business-as-usual.
These two legends from the Mornington Peninsula saw a gnarly, ugly problem and solved it. Thumbs up from me– Berry Liberman, Founder of Small Giants
Founded in Melbourne in 2014, ettitude offers sustainably-made bedding, sleepwear, bathware and accessories made from the world’s first CleanBamboo™ fabric.
While many companies offer bamboo bedding using toxic rayon or viscose technology, ettitude spent years refining and testing its signature textile to create an evolved and improved, new-generation bamboo fabric that is 100% biodegradable and produced in a closed-loop system. In a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) comparing CleanBamboo to cotton, ettitude’s CleanBamboo sheet set uses 500x less water and creates 52% less carbon emissions.
ettitude is constantly searching for ways to improve its sustainability journey, ensuring it upholds its mission to make the world a more comfortable place for all living things. From removing virgin plastics across all its packaging and products, to its commitment to donate 1% of all sales each year to charities and organisations working to preserve the environment.
I love the softness of bamboo, but was devastated to learn of the toxic processing of the material. Ettitude has developed the innovative non-toxic, ”Clean Bamboo” process that reuses and recycles water to create a 100% biodegradable fabric. They are transparent and you can read all about their process, products, and even their 2020 sustainability report. This is an important step forward for encouraging supply chain transparency and for sustainable fabrics.– Kate Nelson, Author of I Quit Plastics: And You Can Too
Woolpack by Planet Protector Packaging
Woolpack is an insulated packaging technology for transporting temperature sensitive foods and pharmaceuticals. Wool is the best natural insulator on the planet and Woolpack uses sheep’s waste wool unsuitable for the textile industry which is ordinarily diverted to landfill.
Until now, there has been no alternative to Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) that has delivered equivalent thermal performance while being price competitive. Aside from being a disruptive and sustainable innovation, Woolpack offers inherent cost savings. It’s delivered flat packed and occupies 20% of the space of the equivalent volume of polystyrene boxes, which translates to less pallet movements, reduced transport costs, lower labour costs, and a lower carbon footprint.
Planet Protector Packaging has, to date, replaced 7.2 million EPS boxes in supply chains with our sustainable solutions across ANZ. This represents 3,500 tonnes of waste wool that has been diverted from landfill and found new life through Woolpack.
This recovered wool has provided close to $7 million as a new revenue stream and higher yield to sheep farmers. Finally, they have recycled 2.65 million Woolpack solutions through a closed loop recycling initiative implemented in partnership with My Food Bag, NZ’s largest meal kit.
The inventiveness of this entry is what made it the winner: literally taking rubbish off the floor and turning it into a sustainable and scalable circular solution. PPP also received bonus points for encouraging their partners to develop circular programs for their product. Providing an alternative to polystyrene has massive appeal and we liked that they are already looking to expand beyond the original solution.– Jen Walker, Head of Public Relations & Communications at Terracycle
Fungi Solutions are Australia's first Mycocycling centre – harnessing the adaptive capabilities of fungi to produce circular and clean materials. Their goal is to alleviate excess waste from Australia's current landfill and recycling facilities, working towards situating Australia as a leader in waste management.
The team is reimagining waste and changing perceptions of the usable life of those resources, while supporting local businesses to responsibly manage their waste. Fungi ‘waste’ can be broken down and rebuilt into new forms while capturing CO2, instead of emitting it. At the end of use, their Mycomaterials positively contribute to soil health via home composting.
Their current product line includes product boxes, wine coolers, acoustic panels, and mycopaper, and they’re partnering with Fringe Festival to implement sustainable exhibition displays, with the hope of transforming the creative industries in Australia into a waste-free environment.
Fungi Solutions is a next-generation product company, creating mycology (mushroom) based materials which sequester carbon and are biodegradable, but also boast extraordinary qualities as materials, independent of their eco creds.
One element of Fungi Solutions that our judges loved was that their team has a mixture of biotech and creative production expertise, so their ideas and products are presented beautifully.
These products have the potential to be truly transformative, I can see a future where consumers come to see packaging as bespoke, precious and miraculous - just like these beautiful products made from mushrooms.– Sally Hill, Founder of Purpose Conference
The Swag is the world’s first 100% natural, patented produce bag, that keeps fruit and vegetables fresh and crisp for two weeks or longer in the fridge.
Australia sends over 7.2m tonnes of food to landfill each year. For every household, one in five grocery bags end up in the bin; the equivalent of $3,800 worth of groceries each year. Globally, almost half of all fruit and vegetables produced are wasted.
The Swag is made from 100% compostable materials, made up of three unique layers, that when dampened with water, provides hydration and breathability for fruit and vegetables – reducing plastic pollution and saving households thousands of dollars each year in food waste.
The Swag is an ingenious, brilliant and essential example of how simple some of the solutions to our biggest challenges can be.
A super valuable & accessible way for everyone to extend the life of their fresh produce and reduce food waste at home. An easy household behaviour change that literally saves you money – everyone’s a winner!– Claire Maloney, Director and Founder at The Bravery
Danling Xiao is a graphic designer on a mission to inspire creative and sustainable living through a range of self-initiated projects including:
- Mundane Matters: a sustainability-driven design practice and Instagram account voicing for eliminating food and plastic waste.
- Wasteland: A 24-metre installation made from recycled marine debris collected from the Great Barrier Reef, exhibited at Customs House in Sydney.
- Reco: A local refill delivery system helping accelerate to a circular economy by making reuse collaborative and convenient.
I’m a firm believer that creativity has the power to the change the world, and Danling is a brilliant example of just how positive this change can be.
Rather than sit back and wait for someone else to drive the change, she’s actively looking for opportunities to make an impact and doing whatever it takes to make them happen with a collaborative approach.
We are so excited by what Danling has achieved so far and can’t wait to see what she has in store next for us all next!– Nick Hoskin, Co-founder and Creative Director of The World's Most Rubbish
The Circle Awards is an annual programme that brings together the diverse businesses, organisations, projects and people adopting circular practices to create a world where nothing goes to waste.
Connect to a forward-thinking community
Be recognised for your commitment
Build awareness with new audiences
Our jury is composed of a diverse mix of representatives, each bringing a unique perspective and experience, all focused on creating a brighter tomorrow for everyone.
Hemant ChaudharyFounder & Managing Director,
Circular Economy Alliance Australia
Dean FoleyFounder & CEO,
Baramayal Indigenous Entrepreneurship Australia
Damon GameauFilmmaker & Author, 2040 & That Sugar Film
John GertsakisDirector, Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence
Dr. Brandon GienCEO, Good Design Australia
Prof. Damien GiurcoResearch Director,
UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures
Jason Graham-NyeCo-founder & Co-CEO, gDiapers
James GriffinGeneral Manager Projects & Advisory
Sustainable Business Network NZ (SBN)
Sally HillFounder, Purpose Conference
Nick HoskinCo-founder, The World's Most Rubbish
Bruce JeffreysCo-founder, GoGet & Dresden Optics
Leanne KempCEO, Everledger
Cat KivFounder, Simple(ish) Living
Berry LibermanFounder, Small Giants
Claire MaloneyDirector & Founder, The Bravery
Jess MillerIndependent Team Councillor, City of Sydney
Kate NelsonAuthor, I Quit Plastics: And You Can Too
Morgan ReardonLifestyle & Travel Editor, Urban:List
Camille ReedFounder & Director,
Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA)
Anna RossFounder & Director, Kester Black
Dr Kar Mei TangChief Circular Economist, NSW Circular
Peter TullinCreative Entrepreneur & Co-Founder, REMIX Summits
Tamara VeltreCo-founder & Head of Operations, Breathe Architecture
Jen WalkerHead of Public Relations & Communications, Terracycle
Andy WalshBusiness Director, Secret Sounds
From emerging to established, individuals to organisations, our judging criteria enables a wide range of different submissions to be evaluated on their own merit, regardless of budget, size of project, or scale of resources.
The judging process is officiated by the government funded environment, economic and social body NSW Circular.
InnovationDoes it push boundaries and unlock opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible?
EfficiencyIs it delivering value that’s disproportionate to the resources available to the team?
AppealDoes it have mainstream appeal and demonstrate a more conscious alternative without compromise?
CircularityHow effectively does it implement Circular practices to deliver a positive and sustainable outcome?
ImpactIs it currently delivering an impact at scale, or does it have the ability to deliver impact at scale?
VisionIs the current manifestation part of a bigger plan and where does the team see this going?
We are one not so perfect circle of people and businesses on a mission to create a world without waste.
We’re here to demonstrate that choosing more conscious alternatives doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality, cost or experience. We believe that by empowering consumers to make more informed purchases, we can transform the Circular Economy into a viable & valuable mainstream business model that benefits everyone.
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