Taronga Zoo sustainability accolade roars for SITA

Taronga Zoo

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski

Resource and waste management company SITA has collected a key environmental sustainability award for tailoring a waste management program for Sydney’s Taronga Zoo to boost its recycling output to divert rubbish away from landfill.

The company has been recognised at the 2013 Australian Business Awards where the company took out the Environmental Sustainability category for its initiative with Sydney’s iconic tourist landmark to help Taronga create its own plan to optimise its waste management and recycling .

The Australian Business Awards is a national awards program that primarily recognises organisations on the basis of their “business excellence, product excellence, sustainability and responsibility”.

The issue of waste management and recycling is particularly important for prominent attractions like Taronga because visitors there are highly aware of the environmental consequences of poor waste management practises that if unchecked can pollute and destroy wildlife habitats.

However as hard as Taronga strives to get its environmental message across, the reality of running one of Australia’s must see attractions in the middle of the nation’s biggest city means that there is inevitably a substantial volume of waste left behind by humans that needs to be sensitively cleaned up.

Around 35 tonnes of waste a month are left behind in Taronga Zoo’s public areas, a volume that has prompted SITA to put in place innovative measures to recover more than 80 per cent of refuse and divert it from landfill into recycling facilities.

The resulting amount of trash being sent to landfill would be approximately 28 tonnes going to recycling plants and the remaining seven tonnes being sent to landfill – a potentially lighter burden on councils squeezing refuse into tips.

Taronga Zoo capital works and infrastructure general manager, Alex Halliburton said the Zoo’s partnership with SITA has allowed the “us to achieve our goals of maximising diversion of waste from landfill”.

“Taronga Zoo is a leading conservation organisation and we are pleased that the environmental sustainability of our operations has been recognised,” Mr Halliburton said.

SITA’s methodology in waste management has also recently resulted in the Queensland Premier’s Sustainability Awards bestowing its top accolade upon SITA’s collaborator Bundaberg Regional Council because of its work with the company clearing debris out of flood damaged areas after the devastating deluge of January 2013.

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