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REMONDIS wins Leader of the Year and Operational Excellence in 2023 Waste Awards

REMONDIS Australia // 26 October 2023


Chris Wade, South Coast Region Manager for REMONDIS Australia, was awarded Leader of the Year at 2023 Waste Innovation & Recycling Awards


REMONDIS Wollongong branch received the Operational Excellence Award


REMONDIS Wollongong has a diverse workforce and remarkable employee retention rates, and an enviable safety record


"I try to do as much as I can for my staff, because what I’ve found is that they do everything they can for me," said REMONDIS Australia's Chris Wade, accepting the award for Leader of the Year at the 2023 Waste Innovation & Recycling Awards gala on 25 October 2023.

The REMONDIS Wollongong operation led by Chris also received the 2023 Operational Excellence Award.

In accepting these awards, Chris spoke with warmth and pride about his team's dedication to serving the communities of Wollongong City Council and Shellharbour City Council.

“We’re in Wollongong, a fantastic place to live… we service over 15 million bins a year but it’s all about the community and everyone as far as I’m concerned is equal.

“It’s a terrific business and I’m fortunate to be its leader.

“You’ll probably understand that I have magnificent staff. Fantastic drivers, mechanics, supervisors, accountants… and everyone there I value greatly.

“To me, being a leader is about doing everything I can for my staff and everyone who works for me… That’s all about leadership, I think. If you do as much as you can for your staff, they’ll do as much as they can for you, and your business will thrive.”

Awarded for Operational Excellence

Chris's community-focused, people-centred leadership style is evident in REMONDIS Wollongong's diverse workforce and remarkable employee retention rates, and in an enviable safety record.

REMONDIS Wollongong is one of 40 branches of REMONDIS Australia, and it’s a standout by any measure.

With a fulltime staff of 71 colleagues, REMONDIS Wollongong is well known for its close-knit team, community connections and respected leader. One of the defining characteristics of the operation is employee longevity – 30% of today’s team members have been here for more than 10 years. 17% of the workforce identifies as Indigenous.

The branch serves two municipal contracts, for Shellharbour and Wollongong Councils, and has an additional commercial & industrial customer base. The facility at 264 Nolan Street Unanderra hosts the fleet depot, workshop and office – co-locating drivers with operational, customer service and corporate services staff in one location, which has underpinned the co-operative, connected culture for which the branch is known. 

Engaged and involved

Community engagement, driven by real passion, is at the heart of the culture at REMONDIS Wollongong. Chris has long recognised that supporting the diverse interests of local employees pays dividends for individuals, the wider team and the community.

The branch has long-term annual commitments supporting a diverse range of charitable and community groups and events, which reflects the diversity of its staff, including Meals on Wheels, Rotary NSW RESCA Awards, Lake Illawarra PCYC Indigenous youth programs, Illawarra Convoy for Cancer Council, with Drivers proudly volunteering their time, and Group 7 South Coast Rugby League.

A love of rugby league permeates the branch – which may be something to do with current Operations Manager and former professional rugby league player for the St George Illawarra Dragons, Bronx Goodwin.

Hydrogen vehicle innovation

Chris Wade’s team recently celebrated a global breakthrough in fleet decarbonisation by introducing one of the world’s first hydrogen powered waste collection trucks to REMONDIS Wollongong’s municipal operations.

The Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) relies on hydrogen which combines with air to generate electricity for motor function. Only water vapour is emitted.

The truck has been developed for REMONDIS by Hyzon, in partnership with Superior Pak, to ensure both body and engine meet the resource recovery industry’s unique operational needs.

The team at REMONDIS Wollongong clearly feels itself to be part of the future of the industry, with everyone from the yard to the workshop and into the office having a part to play. For Drivers, it’s new skills in managing and monitoring a hydrogen powered vehicle. For sales and customer service staff, it’s finding the words to explain the environmental value of this investment to stakeholders. For the operational and financial teams, it’s carefully measuring the cost and benefits of this new fleet, to inform future investments.


We're really proud of Chris and the team at REMONDIS Wollongong, #workingforthefuture in the beautiful Illawarra.

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