Mataura Valley Milk’s ambitious goal of converting its nutrient formula plant to full electrification with a high-pressure boiler lead to it winning the Councillor’s Special Award at the 26th Environment Southland Community Awards in Invercargill on Thursday night.
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Mataura Valley Milk scoops top honour at Environment Southland Community Awards
ROBYN EDIE/STUFF Mataura Valley Milk is converting its nutrient formula plant to full electrification. (File photo)

The company was one of eight winners at the awards, which are the longest running awards in the regional council sector.

Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell said the calibre of nominees was yet again incredibly high, featuring diverse nominations from catchment groups and tourism operators through to farmers, food recovery organisations and school children.

“The judges were inspired by the passion and drive shown by the entrants, who are embedded in their communities, courageously going above and beyond to grow environmental awareness and achieve results.”

Mataura Valley Milk’s ‘Project Recharge’ is a New Zealand, and possibly a world, first. A high-pressure electric boiler will replace the current coal-fired boiler, removing the plant’s reliance on lignite coal and reducing carbon emissions by approximately 22,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum.

The awards were judged by councillors Lyndal Ludlow, Peter McDonald and David Stevens and former Environment Southland chief executive Rob Phillips, and Environment Southland integrated catchment management general manager Paul Hulse.

Their comments said that ‘Project Recharge’ was the most significant thing happening nationwide in that space at the moment. The company had taken some big risks but are doing the right thing environmentally despite the costs, and are an example of industry stepping up and making a significant change.

Other award winners:

  • Environmental Action in the Community Award: Waiau Rivercare Group
  • Environmental Action in Education Award: Waiau Rivercare Group’s Children’s Kaitiaki Project
  • Individual Environmental Action or Leadership Award: John Whitehead
  • Environmental Leadership in Farming Award: Dylan and Sheree Ditchfield
  • Environmental Action in Biodiversity & Biosecurity Award: Aparima Pestbusters
  • Environmental Action in Water Quality Improvement Award: Between the Domes Catchment Group
  • Environmental Leadership and Innovation in Business Award: Welcome Rock

Bega’s Better Farms Program supports eligible dairy farmers’ by offering up to $1.1 million worth of financial grants each year.

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