the power of the win-win-win sustainability approach

2560 1707 In Good Company | Northern Rivers

ENV Solutions
313 River Street, Ballina NSW 2478

Visit Ballina Northern Rivers-01
the power of the win-win-win sustainability approach

In less than seven years environmental consultancy ENV Solutions has grown from a one-man band in Ballina to a multi-award winning business with more than 25 staff across three locations – adding offices in Coffs Harbour and Currumbin.

Founder and director James Foster attributes ENV’s success to its problem-solving capabilities and win-win-win approach.

“There’s a win for the environment, there’s a win for the client, and there’s a win for ENV being able to use waste material from one job that can be beneficially reused for another,” James says.

Two recent ENV Solutions projects in Ballina offer a case in point. The business was engaged to assess waste materials after Ballina High School’s demolition. The team found 10% contained lead and sent it to contaminated landfill, leaving 90% that could be safely crushed up and reused.

ENV had another client with an industrial site in the swampy grounds of West Ballina, who could use this material as engineered fill to build up the soft soils and create a development site.

“This was also a cost saving in the order of 80% on conventional filling for the developer,” James said. “And we’ve created an environmental benefit by preventing the waste material from being disposed of in landfill.”

There’s a diverse team of scientists and engineers pooling their niche talents to conjure the super smart solutions ENV has become known for. James himself is a chemical engineer, while co-directors Robert Mitchell and Jake Rozyn are specialists in industrial chemicals and occupational hygiene respectively.

James is also hands-on in recruitment to find the best new talent for his fast-growing team, with his position on the academic advisory committee for the engineering faculty at Southern Cross University.

“We’ve had one or two graduates every year for the last three or four years. They’re a great cohort and they’re already based here and settled and looking for the next adventure,” James says.

The team at ENV are qualified to tackle a diverse range of environmental challenges.

A recent project included asbestos assessments and clean-up for properties across NSW destroyed during the 2019 and 2020 bushfires.

“The devastation was immense and incredible to witness,” James says. “It’s a very dangerous situation with almost completely burnt down houses riddled with asbestos. Any disturbance of the debris could create a cloud of asbestos. And often the properties were in remote areas where it was difficult to get crew in, and difficult to truck contaminated waste materials to landfill.”

That project required a dedicated team of five people for more than six months, across properties from the Queensland border down to Kempsey.

In a completely different vein, ENV also specialises in revegetation for erosion control, using a technique known as hydro-mulching, applied recently in a subdivision in Woolgoolga and also for council works around Lennox Point.

“We’ve got a big tank on the back of a truck which mixes straw, and a binder (like glue), with seeds and a green dye. We spray that over finished earth works to provide a protective layer and an environment where the grass seed can germinate and protect the site from erosion,” James says, adding that almost any seeds can go into the mix from natives, to fast-growing grass like rye or millet, to a slower growing grass like Couch for a great finish.

The possibilities for ENV Solutions seem endless; and perhaps they are.

“There’s been massive growth in environmental awareness, especially in Northern Rivers and we’ve really capitalised on that by providing good solutions and great outcomes for our clients.”

“There’s a win for the environment, there’s a win for the client, and there’s a win for ENV”

Share this story

Read more stories