A week ago we were experiencing a conference and an awards night to remember. Austerity might be everywhere when we look for funds, but it was no-where in sight when we looked at the work of our Awards finalists – no austerity of imagination or sheer hard work was evident there!

The first responses on the whole event, from delegates and sponsors alike, has been overwhelmingly positive. From the point of view of the presentations and workshops we seem to have hit the nail on the head where content is concerned – which is a relief because, quite frankly, with the Resources and Waste Strategy in the offing and not knowing initially if it would actually be released before conference or not, it was challenging to get the content applicable to life with or awaiting the Strategy. But, ‘it was more than all right on the night’ for which we are very grateful, mostly to our wonderfully engaged delegates and presenters and to our generous sponsors.

But, the business of this article is to give a last hoorah to the finalists and winners of our Celebration Awards. The awards ranged from best council communication campaign to team of the year.

Here are all the finalists: I challenge you to find a group of more dedicated people! Well done one and all! (spot the super-hero interloper flying in for a look-see!)



Roll call!





Best Communications Campaign Finalists sponsored by FCC Environment

The first finalist was Bristol Waste Company with Slim My Waste, Feed My Face – with a fun and playful way to reduce food waste going to landfill. This extremely visual campaign used stickers; ‘slim my waste’ on black bins and ‘Feed My Face’ on food caddies, also increasing food waste capture in Bristol.

Second finalist - Doncaster Council. The No ordinary campaign, #Binvasion: This Time, its Recyclable took the mission of informing 136,000 households about upcoming changes to collections with new recycling bins to galactic levels! This humorous and subversive campaign in partnership with SUEZ exceeded all planned outcomes.

Third finalist - Essex County Council. This social media comms campaign had 1.5 million views and 31,000 engagements, Delivering Behaviour Change through Social Media, it exceeded its targets and completely transformed the communication of waste prevention with this efficient campaign for all Essex residents

And finally, the multi-agency taskforce Hertfordshire Fly Tipping Group. They have come together thanks to Three Rivers District Council to improve how Hertfordshire responds to this problem, in a truly collaborative effort resulting in improvements in enforcement capability, raised awareness and new technology to assist in prosecuting fly-tippers.

And the winner was the Binvasion Team from Doncaster Council.



The Binvasion team from Doncaster Council with (l) Lee Marshall and (r) Julie Fourcade of award sponsor FCC Environment

Our second category highlighted the successful partnerships between local authorities and external suppliers and contractors; it is of course the Best Partnership Award sponsored by Viridor.

First up was Bolton Council. Along with social housing providers, fire and police services they created “Days of Action” to tackle issues in problem areas and educate residents on recycling, find solutions to current issues and change residents’ behaviours. Using these “Action Days”, Educating Bolton gave the estates a fresh start and helped to divert recyclable waste from the residual waste stream.

Second finalist - Cheshire West and Chester Council who along with partners transformed a derelict former waste transfer station from the 90s into a cutting edge facility - A new HWRC for Chester - and all for less than £1m! That’s only around a third of what a typical new facility of its size costs.

Third finalist - Durham County Council’s waste team who have worked in partnership with community groups and Durham University to deliver a 12 month food waste prevention project: Waste less, Save More. The campaign gave advice to people about food waste, whilst providing 4.5 tonnes of food via three community fridges to over 1000 visitors, making a difference to people on low incomes, the environment and reducing food waste.

And the winner was Bolton Council with its Days of Action.



Best Partnership award winners from Bolton Council with (l) Lee Marshall and (r) Simon Prior of award sponsor, Viridor


The next award turned the focus onto internal teams and recognised what local authorities can achieve with excellent team working - the Best Team of the Year Award was sponsored by Biffa.

The first team was from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.  By involving the entire team across waste services, from frontline staff on refuse collection, attendants at recycling centres, administrative staff and of course recycling officers, the Council delivered an innovative communication campaign that saw a significant behavioural change to recycling across the Borough which resulted in the Council recording the highest recycling rate among NI Councils during July and September at 57.5%. The judges commended what was a true ‘team’ effort.

Second team: Rochdale Council. Their team of Recycling Improvement and Participation Officers have gone to extraordinary lengths to increase recycling rates and challenge rejected loads. Thanks to these Garbage Gurus, recycling levels continue to surpass all expectations and have nearly reached the 50% recycling rate target, two years early!

Third finalist - Surrey Waste Partnership. The Surrey Flats Recycling Team have used an evidence-based approach to allow for continual improvement and innovation, trying new things such as modifying existing bins and communicating with residents in different ways, to successfully reduce the number of heavily contaminated bins and increase recycling rates at challenging developments.

And the winner was Surrey Waste Partnership with Flats Recycling Team.


The Team of the Year Award was won by the Surrey Waste Partnership, pictured, with (r) Simon Baddeley of award sponsor Biffa and
(l) Lee Marshall, LARAC

Our fourth Award headed to the top of the waste hierarchy with the Best Waste Minimisation or Prevention Project sponsored by Repic

The shortlist started with Bristol Waste Company. #Reuse, #WasteNothing supports and promotes reuse and repair across Bristol. The Bristol Waste Company have targeted specific items and partnered with third sector organisations to contribute to the Zero Waste Bristol strategy and help to promote a more circular economy in Bristol.

Our next contender was delivered by the North London Waste Authority and is the The London Upcycling Show. The show gave people the opportunity to learn, celebrate and experience the best of upcycling, helping to preserve valuable resources and divert reusable items from disposal. Targets were met, and attendance exceeded expectations at this inclusive event.

The third finalist was Warwickshire County Council. In 18 months the innovative Slim Your Bin campaign has exceeded its participant’s target, creating a highly engaged audience and increasing the uptake in recycling. Over 5,000kg of food waste and 24,000 pieces of junk mail have been diverted, creating savings from reduced waste disposal that ensures the campaign costs are sustainable.

And the winner was Bristol Waste Partnership.


Bristol Waste Company won the Best Waste Minimisation / Prevention award, pictured with (r) Alyce Morris of award sponsor Repic and (l) Lee Marshall, LARAC

Getting towards the end now and we considered some interesting projects – different ways of doing things. The 2018 Best New Idea was sponsored by MGB Plastics.

First finalist - Cornwall Council. The Big Waste Data project creates a comprehensive picture of kerbside waste production and performance. This powerful tool has a great number of potential uses and takes minimal effort to maintain. It even makes waste data publicly accessible to residents, increasing demand for kerbside recycling services.

Second finalist - Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service. Their development of the Community clean scheme promotes and supports litter picks, street cleansing, reuse and recycling throughout the district.

Third finalist - Medway Council. The new “wordless” leaflet was produced to encourage non-English readers to present their waste on the right day in the right way using pictures to show what can be recycled, when and where.

Final finalist (!) - Surrey County Council who along with SUEZ expanded the existing Revive re-use shops at the community recycling centres to generate more revenue for the resource management service. The upgrades that were implemented included a bespoke solution to increase the covered area of the shops, increasing stock and rotation throughout the four shops and promotion through branding, social media and PR activities.

And the winner was Cornwall Council


Best New Idea was won by Cornwall Council, and the team pictured here with (r) Jonathan Wragg of sponsor MGB Plastics and (l) Lee Marshall, LARAC


The final award was designed to recognise the hard work and determination of an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty - it is the new Outstanding Contribution to Recycling, sponsored by Countrystyle Recycling.

We shortlisted 3 finalists from member authorities

  • Jody Sherratt, Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Hannah Ramsey-Smith, Essex County Council
  • Carole Destre, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Jody rose to the challenge and delivered a cutting edge new facility which has been built on the site of a former Chester City Council waste transfer station used to store waste before going to landfill. The new HWRC is now the largest in the borough with customer satisfaction in excess of 95% and has saved the council approximately £3.5 million.

Hannah - over the past year, Hannah’s drive, passion and dedication has delivered excellent results. This has included transforming the @recycleforessex social media from an ‘added extra’ to a fundamental part of all waste reduction and recycling campaigns.

With a flair for communications and partnership working, Carole has helped drive service improvement when it comes to increasing recycling participation and engaging with residents, community groups and schools about the benefits of recycling.

And the winner was Carole Destre from the Royal Borough of Greenwich


The Outstanding Contribution to Recycling award was won by Carole Destre of the Royal Borough of Greenwich; pictured with (l) Lee Marshall, LARAC and (r) sponsor Chris Howard of Countrystyle Recycling

Congratulations to the winners. Safe to say, celebrations were indeed enjoyed!

We are proud to have all of these finalists as LARAC members.