Smart ideas for greener business and buildings awarded funding

Digitised recycling and green garden walls among projects to receive environmental performance grants.

New projects to support digitised recycling, textile reuse and green garden walls and are among the 36 recipients of more than $400,000 in environmental performance grants awarded by the City of Sydney.

An online platform that removes barriers to recycling by managing the entire waste process at a single location has been awarded $50,000.

A project using separation technology to break down fibres in unwanted clothing and linen for reuse has been awarded $45,000.

And a project to nurture and increase green walls is set to receive $20,000 to develop a ‘wall-bot’ prototype to seed, weed and maintain green walls.

The ‘wall-bot’ pilot will take place at the University of Technology Sydney. It was developed by Professor Sara Wilkinson and Associate Professor Tim Schork to help overcome major challenges facing green walls.

“I’m excited to be working on a practical project that could be a game changer for green walls,” said Professor Wilkinson.

“The key challenges we face with adoption of green walls are maintenance costs and health and safety issues. Working with experts in architecture and mechatronics engineering, we believe the ‘wall-bot’ can overcome these.”

Helen Jarman, founder and CEO of Infoactiv, Asia Pacific’s largest post-sale logistics provider, said the business is delighted to receive the innovation grant to explore a solution for managing recycling and waste streams in one location.

“When electronic devices are upgraded, old equipment that is not correctly recycled pollutes the environment and can release hazardous substances into soil and groundwater,” Ms Jarman said.

“Our EcoActiv platform manages and tracks e-waste and other waste streams. We work with global partners, such as Apple, to give consumers and businesses a comprehensive platform that directs e-waste to its optimal recycling outcome. This is an important first phase of enabling Circular Economy in NSW.”

Graham Ross, co-founder of BlockTexx, said their mission is to divert textiles and clothing away from landfill, breaking down original fibres for reuse.

“This support enables us to demonstrate our world-first, fabric separation technology,” said Graham Ross, Co-Founder of BlockTexx.

“This innovation grant will allow us to recover up to 98 per cent of raw materials from The Star Sydney staff uniforms during the project and use them to manufacture community products.”

The environmental performance grants also focus on building operations and ratings and assessments to assist building owners in achieving green results for residents, businesses and the community.

A $32,000 grant will allow three high-profile commercial buildings on George Street – The Strand Arcade, the Queen Victoria Building and The Galeries – to undergo energy audits in a bid to minimise energy consumption.

Melissa Schulz, general manager Sustainability, Vicinity Centres said these are some of Sydney’s most iconic and loved shopping centres.

“With the support of the City of Sydney, we can find the best energy efficiency measures to make these iconic destinations more sustainable,” she said.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said cities generate a staggering 75 to 80 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, so action in our cities is crucial to combating climate change.

“We received more applications for ratings and assessments grants than ever before with an increase in the number from the residential sector reflecting Sydneysiders’ growing interest in improving environmental performance,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Through these grants, we are building the capacity of residents and businesses to improve environmental performance in our local area and address any barriers to these necessary changes.

“Our environmental grants program has run for more than four years contributing over $1.6 million to projects committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking practical action on climate change. I’m proud to support this new round of exciting projects in our city.”

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