Take 3 for the Sea Scoops Prestigious NSW Sustainable Tourism Award from the Banksia Foundation!

Each year the Banksia Foundation, the only independent organisation acknowledging sustainability excellence in Australia, bestows awards that recognise and celebrate the individuals, organisations, and initiatives that have dedicated themselves to fostering sustainability and driving positive change. So we are thrilled that Take 3 for the Sea was announced winner of the 2023 NSW Sustainable Tourism Award for its innovative Ground Swell Litter Prevention Program for the Visitor Economy.

What is the Ground Swell Litter Prevention Program for the Visitor Economy?

Tourism is an economic success story. However, the success of tourism brings with it the real risk of spoiling our natural and beautiful holiday destinations with the litter left behind by visitors. Over 35 million tonnes of solid waste is generated per year by visitors to tourism businesses globally, much of which is plastic, and it is believed visitors may generate up to twice as much solid waste per person as local residents.

The Ground Swell program aims to empower Visitor Economy Industry businesses to reduce and prevent visitor litter and envisions litter-free destinations. Starting in 2021, with grant funding from the NSW EPA, Take 3 for the Sea embarked on a pilot program to explore ways to reduce visitor litter in NSW. We established a dialogue about litter with existing tourism networks, engaging and consulting with tourism leaders to research, build a strategy and create a whole-of-industry litter reduction action plan for the state.

Informed by the findings of the pilot program, Take 3 for the Sea developed and delivered the first Ground Swell Program in 2022, engaging with over 160 diverse tourism businesses in NSW, including caravan parks, tour companies, restaurants, zoos and theme parks. The program set the bar for best practice for visitor litter reduction and prevention, with a particular focus on plastic litter. By informing and empowering visitor economy operators and owners and providing the tools and understanding to prevent and reduce visitor litter, we kick-started a process of collaboration that led to significant behaviour change among tourism operators and visitors alike.

The judges declared the Ground Swell project a worthy winner of this year’s NSW Sustainable Tourism Award. They were highly impressed with the ambition, vision and effort that went into the project, noting how the innovative whole-of-industry approach led to the resolution of issues that other litter reduction initiatives have failed to address. The judges commented on the potential global scalability of the project, noting that the same approach could be applied in other locations and in other industry sectors.

Take 3 for the Sea Co-Founder, Roberta Dixon-Valk said, “On behalf of our amazing Ground Swell team, we are delighted to accept the NSW Sustainable Tourism Award from the Banksia Foundation. This win is a testament to our whole-of-industry litter prevention approach. None of this would be possible without the amazing support of our partners, particularly the NSW EPA, and the visitor economy businesses who have joined us on this litter prevention journey. This award is for you all.”

As the tourism industry worldwide faces increasing scrutiny for its environmental footprint, Take 3 for the Sea’s recognition by the Banksia Foundation serves as a beacon of hope. It exemplifies the potential for positive change within the sector and highlights the critical role that organizations, businesses, and individuals can play in protecting the environment from harm.

All Banksia Award Winners

All Banksia Award Winners

Nina Charbon, Roberta Dixon-Valk and Penny Sharpe, MLC (NSW Minister for Climate Change, Minister for Energy, Minister for the Environment, and Minister for Heritage)

Nina Charbon, Roberta Dixon-Valk and Penny Sharpe, MLC (NSW Minister for Climate Change, Minister for Energy, Minister for the Environment, and Minister for Heritage)


The GroundSwell project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy initiative, funded from the waste levy.