A product stewardship advocate and veteran was named winner of this year’s Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) Women in the Environment Award at the Victoria Branch Christmas Dinner last night.
The award began as an initiative of the WMAA Victoria Branch, and recognises the achievements of women in the environment industry. The award - sponsored by Blue Environment - was opened nationally to all eligible women who have made a significant contribution to environmental sustainability in Australia. This year a record number of nominations (26) were received, many of which reflected significant experience in the waste industry.
But there can only be one winner and this year, the award went to Dr Helen Lewis.
Dr Lewis has been heavily involved in product stewardship initiatives for materials such as batteries, packaging, glass, soft plastics, nappies and other hygiene products via her roles as Principal of Helen Lewis Research and as an Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures.
She thanked WMAA and Blue Environment for the award and their continued support of women working in the waste and resource recovery industry.
"Why single out women? Because women need a bit of a push to be recognised and it's important to mentor young women,” Dr Lewis added. “We have huge challenges so we need to attract motivated people to our industry."
Blue Environment and WMAA have been championing women in industry for a decade through the award and the continued growth in nominations is indication of the importance of women in the waste and resource recovery sector.
"It's pleasing to see the depth and number of nominations reflecting the important role of women in changing the face of the waste management industry," Blue Environment managing director Christine Wardle.
WMAA CEO Gayle Sloan added: “The amount and quality of the nominations truly indicate the diversity and inclusivity of our essential industry.”
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio who attended and spoke at the Victorian Christmas dinner, presented the award to Dr Lewis.