Former Rua Roa school boy Ross Headifen has won a top award in Australia.
Dr Headifen, the son of Joy and the late Noel Headifen, took out the Victoria Premier's sustainability award for innovative products in a year when they attracted the largest number of nominations in their 12-year history.
Dr Headifen and his company, Fieldtech Solutions (FTS) in Melbourne, which manufactures and sells products made from biodegradable plastics and recycled plastic resin, won the award for work in reducing the plastic footprint.
Dr Headifen, who also attended Dannevirke High School, said too much plastic was being used unnecessarily choking land and oceans, often with a tragic toll.
"Winning such a prestigious award confirms this problem is increasingly becoming more appreciated," he said.
"The overuse of plastic is a serious problem, with many products being used once and then going to landfill.
"The Fieldtech Solutions philosophy is to not leave the plastic products used by this generation for future generations."
FTS won the innovative products or services award for its redesign and re-manufacture of plastic waste products, manufacturing products from recycled plastic which is predicted to biodegrade 95 per cent faster than traditional plastic items, saving resources by avoiding the need for new plastic from fossil fuels.
For Dr Headifen's mother, Joy, a resident at Eileen Mary Age Care in Dannevirke, news of the award had made her day.
"I'm so very proud of him," she told the Dannevirke News.
"Ross has devoted himself to his work. He was the fourth of our five children, three boys and two girls, and while he wasn't outstanding at school, he worked hard, but no harder than anyone else. He liked sport actually."
Sustainability Victoria chief executive Stan Krpan said the innovative FTS team were an excellent example of leadership in sustainability.
"FTS is helping keep these products out of landfill and giving them new life," he said.
"It's pleasing to see companies such as FTS addressing this important environmental issue."
FTS is a manufacturer and supplier of biodegradable and recycled plastic products, specialising in the contaminated land industry, replacing imported non-sustainable plastic products with its own manufactured, sustainable products.
For short-life disposable plastic items, biodegradable versions are produced and, for long-life items, the items are made from recycled plastic.
The biodegradable products made by FTS will be gone in a few years when disposed of in landfill, while non-biodegradable plastics will last many hundreds of years.
FTS manufactures in Australia and overseas and most of its one-off-use consumable items use biodegradable plastics.