Drinks brands pave the way in Australia’s circular economy

Entries by drinks companies in the inaugural The Circle Awards have been applauded for seeing the benefits of embracing the circular economy.

Established by The World’s Most Rubbish (TWMR) in partnership with NSW Circular, The Bravery, and Urban List, The Circle Awards celebrates and unites the businesses, organisations, projects and people shaping the circular economy in Australia and New Zealand.

Nick Hoskin (above), Creator of The Circle Awards, said: “It was so inspiring to see the innovation happening within the alcohol category locally. Not only are we seeing more and more brands switching to renewables and reducing water usage, we’re also seeing a range of brands actively pushing boundaries to uncover additional opportunities to make improvements across the entire supply chain.

“There are a huge amount of challenges that come with making alcohol production more sustainable, but these brands are using the principles and practices of the circular economy to turn these challenges into opportunities and having a positive impact, while paving the way for others to follow.

“The brands that will thrive in the future are those that have a net-positive impact, but we’re also realistic about the challenges involved with transitioning to a circular economy at scale and the need for a collective, systemic shifts. We know these shifts aren’t going to happen overnight, so our focus is on championing progress, not perfection – we believe that by celebrating brand-led innovation and every step forward we can encourage brands to do more, inspire others to take action and move forward, together as an industry, to a brighter future.”

Hoskin said there were a few entries that really stood out as examples of drinks brands going a step further and actively seeking new opportunities to make positive improvements by adopting circular practices.

“When Stone & Wood were left with a surplus of beer – over 48,000L of Pacific Ale – due to COVID-19 restrictions, they teamed up with Cape Byron Distillery and turned the beer that would have otherwise gone to waste into a valuable resource to create a new product – Pacific Moonshine,” he said.

“Not only did Pacific Moonshine prevent the beer from becoming waste, it also delivered job creation and stability for the local community, as well as around $15,000 in donations to the inGrained Foundation to support  grassroots environmental and social charities.”

“We were also really impressed by the R&D initiative that’s being led by Young Henrys & UTS [pictured above], focussed on reducing the carbon footprint of the brewing process and creating a solution for reducing CO2 emissions across all industries. They’re developing a system to capture the CO2 produced during fermentation and sequester it by growing algae which can then be used to treat wastewater, as a food supplement for animals and humans, or as a substrate to produce pharmaceuticals.

“What’s really great about these two examples is that they demonstrate that it’s not about individual brands needing to have all the answers – by collaborating wth others, whether that’s other brands or organisations, opportunities are unlocked that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. So, whether a brand is just starting out on their sustainability journey or looking for opportunities to do more, by adopting the principles of the circular economy it’s now possible for everyone to play a role as part of the solution.

“I’m really excited to see what other brands do over the next year and am looking forward to celebrating the progress again in The Circle Awards AUS & NZ 2022.”

The winners of The Circle Awards 2021

After reviewing nearly 200 entries, an assortment of winners were chosen by The Circle Awards expert panel as the best organisations, businesses, or individuals paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Organisation Good360, which works to prevent brand new products from going into landfill and redirecting them to those who need them the most instead, took out the top award, the Judges’ Choice.

Hoskin said: “These winners are a new breed of company, they’re the pioneers of today leading the way to a more positive tomorrow for everyone. Finding innovative ways to demonstrate that it’s possible to not only do less bad, but to actually do more good by kicking the traditional linear take-make-waste model to the curb and instead, adopting circular practices to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems.

“On a planet of finite resources, it’s the only model we have to continue to grow our economy, and shift to a truly sustainable future.”

“Many people and brands are already contributing towards a more circular world with their wallets, often without realising it. The judging panel has been blown away by the quality of entries into the awards and being able to spotlight these fantastic products and services – which makes it easier for shoppers to discover the conscious brands of the future and help make the world go round.”

The winners were as follows:

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Categories: Business