Trash to treasure venture captures attention

Trash to treasure venture captures attention

Robe business Transmutation has been recognised nationally, winning the Embracing Innovation category in the 2024 Telstra Best of Business Awards held in Sydney.

Transmutation is a craft sized recycling and manufacturing business that makes and sells circular economy products, proving to its customers that waste can be great.

The business’ top products are bowls made from bread tags designed by Country Road Australia, Styrofoam bowls and concrete bar chairs made from Dulux Powder Coating waste.

The award was announced following a thorough judging process, which included in-depth interviews with a range of senior business leaders, including Small Business Australia director Bill Lang, MindTribes chief executive Div Pillay and Cochlear chief executive and president Dig Howitt, among others.

The research and development business was a South Australian finalist in the awards for Building Communities and Sustainability and won the Embracing Innovation section.

Transmutation director Brad Scott said while it was fantastic to win the national award he was still very much in shock.

“To win the South Australian one, we were very happy with that, when we got to the nationals we were really happy to be in the room with a whole lot of other fantastic businesses,” he said.

“We pitched to three judges and probably at that stage I thought we were actually in with a shot because it went very well.”

Mr Scott said he was proud to make a worldwide impact on waste from a back shed in a small coastal town.

“It is great for the area to show that regional businesses … punch above their weight and to just get rid of the preconceptions of what you can do in the region and in recycling,” he said.

“We are scaling very rapidly but the core of the business will remain the same.

“We are a research and development business that can take any sort of plastic that you can give us and we can figure out a way forward so that it becomes an economic product.

“We have been able to take waste plastic, it does not matter what sort of form it comes in, and make it into a highly marketable product.

“It was very important the model I came up with and the business that we ran was sustainable in its own right financially and also environmentally.”

Judges noted that what stood out for them with Transmutation was the truly unique model of the company which set out to solve the incredibly complex problem of what to do with the world’s waste by turning it into commercial and incredibly valuable products.

“Originating from the small confines of a back shed, the business sets out to save the planet, while making money,” a judging spokesperson said.

“The judges were also impressed with the innovative business model and how it’s tied to the circular economy.

“All based around three revenue streams – resources, recomposition and retail.

“They loved how scalable this idea was – a microcosm of a big idea with so much potential.”

Telstra Business group executive Amanda Hutton said it had been a pleasure to recognise Australia’s thriving small and medium-sized businesses in the 2024 Telstra Best of Business Awards.

“The opportunity to hear how some of Australia’s outstanding businesses have been adapting and excelling at meeting their community’s evolving needs, has been truly inspiring,” she said.

“With over 22,000 small and medium-sized businesses nominated across the nation, the national winners have demonstrated an extraordinary level of excellence and we’re privileged to be able to recognise and celebrate their achievements.”

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