Sustainable Cities Awards

Welcome to the Keep Australia Beautiful NSW, Online Award Portal which will enable you to easily apply for our 2020 Sustainable Cities Awards.

Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Sustainable Cities Awards Program has been recognising and rewarding projects and actions in NSW since 1994 for metropolitan Sydney Councils, community groups, businesses, schools and individuals. The awards recognise projects that not only enhance the environment but improve the visual amenity and well-being of urban communities. The Sustainable Cities Awards inspires councils and communities to make a genuine and lasting contribution to their area, with a broad range of award categories with emphasis on partnership’s between local authorities, businesses, community groups, schools and individuals.

Metropolitan Councils eligible to enter the Sustainable Cities Awards include:

Bayside Council, Blacktown City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Burwood Council, Camden Council, Campbelltown Council, Canterbury Bankstown Council, Canada Bay Council, City of Sydney Council, Cumberland Council, Fairfield City Council, Georges River Council, Hawkesbury Council, Hornsby Shire Council, Hunters Hill Council, Inner West Council, Ku-Ring-Gai Council, Lane Cove Council, Liverpool City Council, Northern Beaches Council, North Sydney Council, Mosman Council, Parramatta Council, Penrith City Council, Randwick Council, Ryde Council, Sutherland Shire Council, Strathfield Municipal Council, The Hills Shire Council, Waverley Council, Willoughby Council, Woollahra Council, Wollongong City Council.

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"Since 1981 the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards have enhanced public understanding of the environmental issues affecting regional NSW. The awards encourage communities to play an active role in creating a sustainable future for their local area. Projects that address environmental challenges and improve the standard of living and quality of life in urban areas are all encouraged to participate."

-Val Southam, CEO, Keep Australia Beautiful NSW

2020 Key dates

Applications OpenMonday, 10th February 2020
Applications CloseMonday, 29 June 2020
Online judging and on-the-ground assessing (for Overall category only)July/early August 2020
Winners of all awards to be announced at the Sustainable Cities Awards Event at The Holroyd Centre, Merrylands.Friday, 9th October 2020

Entry into the 2020 Sustainable Cities Awards is free.

Award Categories

The Don’t Be a Tosser! Litter Action Award is for a project or program that reduces or prevents litter. This could include projects that use one or more of these approaches:

  • Behaviour change techniques to stop littering.
  • New or effective ways to communicate about litter and its impacts.
  • Build partnerships or networks to prevent litter.
  • Enforcement techniques to reduce litter.
  • Create effective infrastructure and place design to reduce litter (signage, bins, other landscaping).

Projects should demonstrate inventive techniques that specifically address their local litter issues, with quantifiable outcomes. Projects that use more than one approach will be highly regarded. Projects can address any form of litter in any environment.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • A litter reduction campaign which involves the community.
  • A project or program aimed at a specific section of the community - for example, children, young people; culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups, Indigenous communities.
  • A project aimed at addressing litter with a long-term solution based on behaviour change techniques.
  • Different strategies to target litter for example signage, phasing out plastic bags/bottles etc.
  • Previous or current Community Litter Grant applicants are encouraged to enter their projects.

The Waste Less, Recycle More Waste Minimisation Award is for a project or program that tackles a range of waste and recycling problems through:

  • Waste minimisation and reduction.
  • Effective and innovative waste and recycling programs - including education and infrastructure projects.
  • Incentivising behaviour change to improve waste management, recycling and stop illegal dumping.
  • Projects should demonstrate inventive techniques that specifically address local waste problems, with quantifiably effective outcomes.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Projects that use recycling and avoid material going to landfill.
  • The development of a Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan.
  • A local group addressing the problem of food waste in their community.
  • The planning and implementation of a program that facilitates appropriate disposal of items, for example, free drop-offs to help tackle illegal dumping or management of event sites.

The Return and Earn Litter Prevention Award is for a program or project that provides for and encourages the use of the Return and Earn scheme in a local area, through:

  • Development and promotion of Return and Earn facilities for the return of beverage containers under the NSW Container Deposit Scheme.
  • Community engagement and involvement in the development, design and set up of the system. This includes knowledge sharing with individuals and groups in the community.
  • Innovative use of the Return and Earn Scheme to benefit a specific group.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Installing infrastructure and systems in consultation with the community that will provide better community access to the Return and Earn scheme. Includes the development, promotion, partnering and benefits to their community.
  • Developing long term plans to extend systems and facilities in the future, including accessing community feedback and measurements of success.
  • Clean up activities, specifically undertaken to collect beverage containers accepted as part of the Return and Earn Scheme, including data collection about how many containers and types collected.
  • An individual or organisation that develops a community engagement and awareness project for Return and Earn that results in measurable success (e.g. a cleaner local environment, increased knowledge and community participation in Return and Earn).

The Habitat and Wildlife Conservation Award is for projects which create, restore and sustain biodiversity of our native flora and fauna in urban environments, creating and/or maintaining wildlife corridors and encouraging habitat conservation, through:

  • Leadership and innovation in the promotion and advocacy for conserving local biodiversity.
  • Actions which improve the wildlife and habitat in an area, through community participation. For example, Landcare, Bushcare, Dunecare, Land for Wildlife and Marine Rescue.
  • Partnerships that support the community to be proactive in the conservation of biodiversity.
  • Policy or mission that maintains the protection of local biodiversity in an area.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Education programs and projects about local threatened species, habitat and communities and their protection.
  • Development or upgrades to community or local nurseries which provide greater access to local provenance species.
  • Supporting community participation in projects such as fauna and flora conservation. Includes the promotion and education, data collection and mapping, community involvement and feedback.
  • Development of or increased involvement by the community in Landcare, Bushcare, Dunecare or other community projects that assist in the reversing of environmental damage to wildlife habitats, including bushland and waterways.

The Heritage and Culture Award is for community projects that enhance and protect either our built heritage, natural heritage or an event/tourism display that showcases a local area’s heritage. Projects may include:

  • Commitment to the conservation of built heritage, such as a building and/or other infrastructure restoration.
  • Education projects and/or research into an area’s heritage.
  • Proactive long-term planning that supports and maintains an areas local heritage.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • The restoration of a heritage building or other infrastructure.
  • An event that recognises the history of an area, such as a cultural (non- indigenous) festival.
  • The protection of significant natural areas that are an integral part of the history of an area.
  • A Heritage Centre (or similar) that promotes heritage and facilitates local history documentation in an area.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Award is for community projects that enhance and protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in a local area or region, including:

  • Conservation actions which promote and support indigenous heritage.
  • Education and /or research into a district’s Aboriginal heritage.
  • Proactive long-term planning that allows an area’s Aboriginal heritage to be preserved.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • The restoration of a significant area where Aboriginal heritage is preserved.
  • Advocacy actions which contribute to the preservation of significant Aboriginal heritage.
  • Education which provides for the ongoing existence of the Aboriginal heritage of an area. For example, the teaching and preservation of language.
  • An online space which facilitates the connection of Aboriginal people’s from across a region;
  • On-the -ground support which empowers aboriginal people’s self-determination and participation in decision making. For example, an Aboriginal coop or community centre/space.

The Young Legends Environmental Award is for an individual or groups of people 25 years and under who demonstrate outstanding commitment to their environment and show leadership in pursuing environmental outcomes in any of the preceding categories e.g. Litter, wildlife conservation waste minimisation etc. through:

  • Advocating for change in the local area, through participation on committees or clean-up activities, volunteering at community nurseries or Bushcare etc;
  • Working in partnership with other organisations to make significant change in relation to the environment.

Projects may be submitted by:

  • Individuals;
  • Groups.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  1. An individual, who volunteers by growing plants at their local community nursery for planting into a local area of bushland;
  2. A youth group who advocate the reduced use of plastic litter through active clean ups, education campaigns and partnering with the local community.
  3. A pre-school or vacation care group who take part in sustainability or environmental projects.

The Schools Environmental Achievement Award is for New South Wales schools that can demonstrate sustainability achievements, sustainable practices, reducing their environmental impact and leading the community by example through:

  • Programs that encourage mentoring and development of sustainability throughout the school and in the community.
  • Environmental programs or sustainability initiatives where students have led or participated in awareness raising campaigns.
  • The adoption of sustainable methods in operations such as retrofitting school infrastructure or undertaking of whole of school behaviour change programs.

Projects may be submitted by:

  • Schools and Pre Schools.
  • Teachers, parents or students.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • A school who have conducted waste, water and energy audits and are making changes to their behaviour in response to the auditing of these areas.
  • A school that has implemented a waste or sustainability project within their school or community.
  • School participation in a community of industry program.
  • Schools who have taken consistently taken part in programs such as National Tree Day or Clean Up Australia Day and who have developed a positive culture in relation to these events within their school.

The Environmental Communication Award is for programs and projects that inspire environmental action, through:

  • Education and communication campaigns that raise awareness of environmental sustainability for topics such as energy, water, and waste reduction to create empowerment and behaviour change amongst the target audience.
  • Developing and building communication partnerships that enable sharing of resources, ideas and knowledge.
  • Creating spaces and places for environmental communication programs that demonstrate ideas and practical solutions for the community.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • A series of education workshops on a range of topics that inspire community to share ideas and learn about environmental issues.
  • Regional education programs that specifically target behaviours of a group around a specific issue (for example, wood fire smoke or illegal dumping).

A council that has implemented an effective communication program, ranging from media campaigns to multi-dimensional campaigns which tackle a problem from a number of angles.

The Recycled Organics Award is for projects and programs that minimise the loss of organics to landfill and supports the community to avoid, reduce and recycle organics, through:

  • Innovative or new actions that support composting, worm farming or any other form of separation of organics from the waste stream;
  • Development of improved technologies for the separation of organics from the waste stream;
  • Education that supports community participation, by making composting/worm farming accessible and easy to use;
  • Innovative ideas and action for the use of compost.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • An enterprise that supports composting/worm farming through education, resourcing and innovative systems;
  • A Council that extends its waste collection to a separate green waste collection. Or for an existing collection to include food organics;
  • A business that is avoiding food waste and maximising reuse/recycling of food waste through on site composting facility.

The Coastal and Waterways Protection Award is for programs and actions that create, restore and/or enhance our natural waterways and beaches, through:

  • Actively advocating coastal and waterway protection through education, action, data collection and partnerships.
  • Developing projects that encourage community participation in the protection of waterways and coastal beaches.
  • Sustainably managing water resources within the community, through improved infrastructure, systems and planning.
  • Improving water quality and reducing litter.
  • Sustainable coastal use and development for healthy habitats.
  • Planning for a changing climate.
  • Protecting the cultural values of the marine estate.
  • Sustainable fishing and aquaculture.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Building a fish ladder to improve fish movement upstream.
  • Caring for a local beach, through community participation. Actions may include clean ups, education through signage, data collection, improved bin infrastructure.
  • Weed control along streams, rivers and dunes.
  • Advocacy and action around threats to marine environments, including data collection, projects around minimising the use of single use plastic or fishing line management. .

The Circular Economy Award is for any operationally viable projects in the circular economy which do, or could potentially, divert solid materials, fluids or energy from waste streams and return them to the productive economy.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • A business plan or strategy for a viable project. For example, a Waste Management Strategy which demonstrates how the waste streams are being diverted back into the marketable economy.
  • A financed project in pre-commercial development or a scheme in commercial operation.
  • A proposal by four or more participants to collaborate on developing a project.

The Sustainable Projects Award recognises innovations in, and the application of, technology to achieve improved environmental performance, within their spheres of influence.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Systems that support waste reduction, litter management or illegal dumping management and improve operational efficiency.
  • The introduction of software or apps that facilitate community engagement in reducing its environmental impact.
  • Realistic proposals or actual projects to co-locate manufacturing or commercial businesses into eco-industrial precincts.
  • Innovative programs designed to inform local communities about sustainable development and how it can be achieved.

The Renewable Energy Award is for programs and projects that progress achievements in developing products or services associated with renewable energy.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Developing or improving energy generation or usage within their own organisation.
  • Reducing reliance on fossil fuels within their local communities.
  • Products or infrastructure that facilitate the use of renewable energy.
  • Improving business accountability for and reporting of energy use.
  • Long term plans to reduce energy demand, especially energy sourced from fossil fuels.

The Response to Climate Change Award is for programs and projects that tackle climate change and extreme weather events through:

  • Providing real and practical solutions to meet the challenges of climate change in an area.
  • Planning long term for the management of climate change events, which includes partnerships, collaboration and community engagement.
  • Educating communities about the causes and effects of climate change and building resilience within communities and for individuals to support actions that can be taken.
  • Actions to combat existing weather events and strengthen an areas resilience.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Improving erosion proofing along coastal areas, where rising tides are impacting the coastline.
  • Long term planning supporting the likely impacts of climate change and increased extreme weather events.
  • Education programs which provide knowledge and support for individuals, students and communities to learn, discuss and voice concerns.
  • Research and scholarship projects that look closely at likely impacts and possible solutions.

The Community Spirit and Inclusion Award is awarded to communities that successfully demonstrate strong community spirit and inclusion in the face of ongoing challenges. This award is given to communities that refuse to ‘give in’ when facing a challenge.

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • A community coming together to restore and rebuild a community hub.
  • Events, programs or festivals that celebrate and promote community spirit and inclusion.
  • Activities to promote civic pride, create community awareness, cohesion and wellbeing.
  • A community supporting each other at a time of crisis.

For Further Information

For detailed information on how to enter an award submission, go to

Alternatively, please contact:
Keep Australia Beautiful NSW
02 8594 4000

Thank you to our 2020 sponsors!