Norfolk wins major award

NIRC compost.

A Pacific island located midway between Australia and New Zealand has reduced its landfill by 75 per cent as part of its Council’s multi-pronged approach to waste management program.

Norfolk Island Regional Council General Manager, Andrew Roach said that recycling, innovative thinking and engaging the community had been key factors in their success story.

“It was only a few years ago that waste products were burned and pushed into the ocean. That was the waste disposal method used for over 100 years before the current administration began investigating alternatives that would better serve our small and remote location,” he said.

“Our challenges have been significant, but thanks to an innovative approach from our environment team and a growing recycling ethos in the community of just over 2000 residents, we’ve been able to make major changes in how waste is managed in a far more sustainable way.”

In addition to Council-run facilities for bulky, construction and demolition waste, the purpose- built recycling facility – named The Norfolk Wave Recycling Centre in recognition of the local tradition of waving to any and all drivers on the island – is managed by contractor Revolve Your World, who have plenty of runs on the board in the recycling innovation world.

Deputy GM and former Planning and Environment Manager, Phil Reid, said that previously the majority of municipal waste had been baled and exported at a huge expense. Since the inception of the current waste management program, the combined amount of material processed through the Norfolk Wave, which handles the island’s domestic and commercial waste types, sits between 700 and 800 tonnes.

“For perspective, in the 10 months to May 2024, 599 tonnes of material were processed through The Norfolk Wave, representing eleven different waste streams and diverting 445 tonnes from landfill.

“Since 2018, Council has introduced leading-edge technology that converts organic waste into compost, used in gardens around the island, and purchased a large hydraulic crusher for compacting vehicles and other bulk steel for export and recycling. We’ve also embarked on a program with Revolve Your World that turns plastic into an aggregate for use in the local construction industry, and in early 2023 a glass crusher was added to the recycling stable to crush and process glass into different grades for a variety of uses, again predominately in building and construction,” Phil added.

With the addition of a new Teuton mobile shredder and excavator and skid steer for green waste and used building materials, Council has now firmly set itself in a position to process and manage all waste types on Norfolk Island. This is despite there being no landfill for disposal. In many cases, the processes employed by Council now mean that a high proportion of materials are returned to the local economy for high-value use.

Last month, the council won a Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) Excellence Award for its waste management program.

For a snapshot of recycling streams in Norfolk Island’s recycling centre, The Norfolk Wave, head over to their community dashboard at

Local Government Managers Australia Excellence Award Qld winners 2024

Sustainability – Balonne Shire Council – Wild Dog Exclusion Fence Program

Workplace Wellbeing – Gladstone Regional Council – Our Culture Journey

Collaboration – Land for Wildlife South East Queensland – Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Noosa, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset and Toowoomba Councils

Resourcefulness – Norfolk Island Regional Council – Waste Management Program.

Teamwork – Western Downs Regional Council – Disaster Response and Recovery

Community Shaping – Gladstone Regional Council – First Nations Fire Officer

Innovation – Brisbane City Council – Brisbane Metro, a new era of connected travel

Above and Beyond – Stephen Dry – Cairns Regional Council

2024 Australasian Management Challenge, Queensland

Third Place: Western Downs Regional Council – Western Phoenix

Second Place: Sunshine Coast Council – Sunshine Summit

Winner: City of Moreton Bay – City of Moreton Yay!