Employee Profiles

Make an Impact Hero – John Halford, Pinjarra Refinery
The course challenged the community to adapt to climate change and find new ways to live sustainably, by focusing on saving water and energy, and cutting waste.

John participated in the six week program, along with his wife Kerry and their 10 year-old grandson, Sebastian.

Knowing a thing or two about worm farms and cutting waste, John led a workshop for 20 participants, showing them how to make worm farms out of second hand wheelie bins and old bread crates. Sebastian was eager to join in the fun.

“The 12 worm farms we built together are now home to 12,000 well-fed worms, diverting from landfill up to 1,250 kilograms of organic waste each year. Seb had a play with the worms, but kept his gloves on,” he laughed.

The Halford family have made many changes around their home to reduce their environmental footprint.

“I’m not a radical greenie, but we found installing solar panels, growing our own veggies and opening windows instead of turning on the air-con, are all easy ways to cut our energy and water use and save money,” says John.

“We’ve reduced our power bill by one third because I now open the window to let the breeze in rather than switching on the air-conditioning. We have solar power and vegetable gardens and we’re now looking at rainwater harvesting. My wife and I found the course really worthwhile,” he said.

“Our group found 80 different ways to live more sustainably. The course showed that even making small changes, like having three minute showers, can have a big impact over time,” said Lesley Thomas, Make an Impact Coordinator.

Make an Impact Hero - John Fumberger, Yennora

John, an electrician from Alcoa Australia Rolled Products at Yennora in NSW, has found that doing the right thing by the environment has big personal rewards.

John and his family have made small changes to their lifestyle by reducing their water, energy and vehicle use – these changes also having a significant impact on their hip-pocket.

“My kids have timers for the shower, that they brought home from school, which are helping to cut our water use,” John said.

“We all enjoy riding our bikes to get around locally, mainly because it’s fun but of course it also benefits the environment and saves us money on petrol.”

Some of the other changes the Fumberger family have made include:
• Installing water saving shower heads, as well as restrictors in the taps;
• The use of a pool blanket which saves on evaporation and heating costs;
• Using an instant gas water heater instead of an electric water heater - leading to energy savings; and
• Emptying the remainder of their school drink water bottles onto the plants instead of tipping the water down the drain.

John believes anyone can save energy and money if they put their mind to it.

“It’s so easy to make an impact. There’s no doubt that if we all take a few simple steps, the environment and our bank balances will thank us for it!

Make an Impact Heroes - Jo and Darryl Ball

Jo and Darryl have two primary school aged children who are learning about environmental issues and the causes, consequences and prevention of a household carbon footprint.

“The kids are constantly given tasks and assignments that centre around the impact they have on the environment.  Having environmentally aware children makes our task as parents pretty simple when it comes to our responsibility as environmentally conscience parents.  All we have to do is reinforce what they learn at school,” Jo said. 

Some of the steps the Ball family has taken to reduce their household footprint include:
• Fitting energy efficient light bulbs in every light socket in the house
• Monitoring the household’s energy use to ensure it’s kept to a minimum
• Using gas as the primary energy source
• Encouraging recycling – from rubbish to clothes and food scraps

“Recycling is very important to our family and Darryl and I challenge the kids to find other ways to recycle items,” Jo said. 

“We renovated our home in the last year and used products that were environmentally responsible, such as using bamboo on the floors (so as to not contribute to deforestation), low emissions paint and we made sure all building waste was disposed of responsibly. 

“We have plans to install a water tank with gray water conversion and solar panels,” Darryl said.

Tony Cust – Make an Impact Hero, Alcoa Pt Henry
 
Tony Cust, our Stores Officer from Pt Henry, says it’s the little things that add up when it comes to reducing your greenhouse footprint.

“I have my power and gas usage data going back to 1972. It’s been a bit of a fascination for me – watching how as my family has changed and our habits changed, so has the amount we have used. Even today, when my sons come to stay with me, I see an increase. I think being aware of what you use and monitoring that use really makes you more efficient.

“It’s as simple as turning off lights, thinking about your heating, and deciding whether you really need to do a load of washing with hot water”, Tony said.

“Since 2000, I’ve been recycling my grey water and using it in the garden, and I can see that it’s the little things that really make a difference.

“By not using the car, I’m conserving fuel, and producing less greenhouse gas - and I’m also keeping myself fitter by walking or riding my bike. So it’s a win not only for the environment, but for my hip-pocket and fitness as well.”

Make an Impact Hero - David Yuill, Kwinana Refinery
 
David said he and his family were trying to reduce the amount of waste they generated by reducing their use of power, water and fuel consumption.
 
“Our goal is to become as energy and water efficient as we can,” he said.
 
Some of the steps the Yuill family have taken include:
• Converting the family cars to LPG – reducing carbon by around 40%; • Installing solar power panels on the house roof – reducing electricity use by 30%;
• Installing a rain water tank, converting our garden to drought tolerant plants and using white quartz stone mulch for soil temperature and moisture control.
 
“We also plan to reduce transport carbon impact by moving to smaller cars powered by LPG or electric and switching to use recyclable products and packaging to reduce landfill waste.”

Make an Impact Hero - Justin Grace, Point Henry
 
Justin Grace, a Sales Manager from Point Henry, discusses what sustainability means to him and his family.

“I think it is important for us all to look at the way we live our lives, and make sure that are doing what we can to live more sustainably.  It can be as simple as turning off a light which is not in use, or can be as significant as a solar system for your house or permaculture.  In the end we all need to be part of the solution.

This is just as relevant at our homes with our families and friends as it is in our work places.  Sometimes what we contribute may be small, but even this can serve as a role model for others, and is something they can build on”, he says.

“The Alcoa employee Make an Impact workshops are a good first step in understanding what is being done in the community and by others.  It serves not only as an information session, but also as a forum for like minded individuals to share their experiences on that topic.

One great thing about reducing waste and saving energy is that is comes with a benefit to the hip pocket, as well as the benefit to the world we live in, so there are no excuses!”


Make an Impact Hero - Claude Di Prinzio, Kwinana Refinery
 
Claude di Prinzio, a technical manager at Alcoa’s Kwinana Refinery, has set off a chain reaction in his suburb in Perth following his involvement in Make an Impact.
 
“At home we have placed real importance on the saying ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’ with our four kids.  Make an Impact has changed our whole way of approaching everyday activities,” said Claude.
 
“Water is too valuable to use only once, so we have started collecting the grey water from our washing machine, and with four children, our washing machine is the biggest water user in the house.
 
“The grey water collection is not automatic - it gets piped into a wheelie bin and siphoned out onto the veggie patch. For our family of six, we use about 300 kl of water a year. Our goal is to halve it.
 
“There is also an environmental concern that we will begin to run out of landfill, so we really need to reduce our house waste to zero.
 
“Our contribution is to feed wheat-based kitchen scraps to our chickens, from which we get our eggs and the manure for our compost and the garden. Other kitchen scraps go to the compost bin.
 
“We also aim to make our house solar passive; using the sun to warm it in winter and the sea-breeze to cool it in summer.
 
“By travelling to different parts of the world, we have also learnt a lot. It’s amazing how people learn to conserve when they don't have much of something,” said Claude.
 
Extending his environmental interest to the broader community, Claude has also developed a waste management program for his children’s primary school by introducing recycling bins, compost tumblers and a vegetable garden.
 
“It’s probably the biggest project that I have tackled so far but the students have been incredibly enthusiastic and it's great to spread environmental awareness even further,” he said. 
 
“The kids from grades one and two even grow the vegetables and sell the produce to raise funds for the school.
 
“They sold their first crop to the parents and made $40, and the second crop is already underway.”


Shane Drew - Make an Impact Hero, Mining
 
Shane Drew, a Maintenance Area Planner at Alcoa’s Huntly and McCoy mine sites, has been doing some home improvements to make it more energy and water efficient.

“We have recently installed 2 x 2500 litre rainwater tanks and had them connected to the laundry, toilet and bathroom at our home in Mandurah. I estimate that we maybe saving up to 300 litres of water per day during the winter months.

This was a great project for the whole family as my kids were all involved with me in installing all the gear and they could see how it was all going to work,” Shane said.

But that’s not all; Shane has ordered a 1.5KW solar power system for his home, which he hopes will be installed soon. The system should supply, on average, 50% of his household’s power consumption.

Other improvements Shane has made around the house are changing all the light bulbs over to the new compact energy saving bulbs. Shane said that he saw a notable drop in his household’s energy consumption on his subsequent power bills. But Shane doesn’t plan on stopping there.

“In the near future we will be looking at other ways of saving power and increasing the size of our renewable power generating system,” he said.

Make an Impact Hero - Andrew Hibbs, Kwinana Refinery
 
Andrew Hibbs, a fitter from Kwinana, is doing his part for the environment by getting around town on his Vectrix motorbike.
 
A Vectrix is a 100% electric motorbike that has a top speed of 100km an hour and recharges in less than 2 hours.
 
Andrew travels approximately 250 kilometres a week, on his Vectrix motorbike, which would cost an average person 85 cents per week.
But Andrew doesn’t face this cost, as he has fitted his house with 20 solar panels, each making 215 watts – running his entire house, powering his bike and putting power back into the grid.
 
“There’s no reason why 80 per cent of Australia shouldn’t be riding a Vectrix. It’s cheaper than public transport and uses $45 a year of power,” Andrew said.

Make an Impact Hero - Merv Beacham, Wagerup Refinery
 
Merv Beacham, Emergency Services Officer at Alcoa's Wagerup Refinery, has become a ‘going-green’ leader in the Alcoa community. 
 
Through exposure to Make an Impact, Merv and his wife Brenda have adapted their lifestyle to live in a self-sufficient green house.
 
Former property owner and Alcoa employee Mick Haynes started the initial transformation, however Merv has become an inspiration for locals and other environmentalists.  He has been dedicated to saving energy since living on the property in the foothills of North Dandalup, located approximately 25km east of Mandurah, Western Australia.
 
“We believe that every little bit makes a difference to a much larger problem.  We have used a range of different equipment to sustain all sources of energy within our property. For instance with water, we have a 10,000 gallon concrete water tank which collects rain water from the roof - which is then pumped uphill to a 20,000 gallon concrete tank by petrol pump and then fed back, through gravity, to the house.
 
"I had a low pressure, all copper Solar Hot Water system installed, reducing the usage of our slow combustion stove in the summer time.
 
“We use LPG for the gas stove; a wood-fired slow combustion stove with a water jacket to supply heating and hot water; and a generator that doubles as a mobile power source when not being used at the house, which we regularly use for operating the washing machine, ironing and cutting wood with the electric saw,” said Merv.
 
The self-sufficient property was designed with passive heating and cooling, constructed with shortened eaves on the North side to allow sun to penetrate the home in winter. There are also three sets of hand operated roller shutters to insulate the house in Western Australia’s extreme weather conditions.
 
“It’s surprisingly easy to live the way we do.  We ultimately hope that by leading by example we can encourage other Australians to do the same,” said Merv.

Make An Impact Hero - Sue Bannerman, Kwinana Refinery
 
Sue Bannerman, a physiotherapist and ergonomist at Alcoa’s Kwinana Medical Centre, introduced Make an Impact to her family two years ago, when she modified her behavioural rewards system with “carbon rewards” at home with her husband and two children Tom and Isabelle.  The aim was to educate and encourage the family to make positive changes to their lifestyle to reduce their carbon footprint in the home.  Rewards points were given for switching off un-used lights, limiting showers to 4 minutes and recycling green waste into the worm farm.
 
“We have become ‘carbon cops’ at home to instil environmental awareness in our children.  We have developed a fun and effective way to teach the children about their carbon footprint.  The more effective they are in reducing the energy and water usage, the more points they get,” said Sue.
 
“As points accumulate the kids get to cash-in for rewards, whether it is a lunch order from school or an outing to the movies with the family,  which the kids get really excited about.”
 
Saving energy has become an integral part of the lifestyle in the Bannerman household and their level of environmental awareness has translated to using energy efficient light bulbs, time restrictions in the shower and green shopping bags.
 
The Bannerman family also attended a Make an Impact workshop together to engage in the educational experience and learn further energy saving tips.
 
Sue said: “The Make an Impact workshop was interesting and fun for the kids, they enjoyed the interactive activities and were engrossed by Captain Clean-Up and his simple message to reduce our carbon footprint.  It’s great to be an employee at a workplace that offers educational programs for the whole family.”

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