STILL absorbing the good news, Handybin Waste Services regional manager Lee Beckett says being awarded Business of the Year at the Sunnys Business Awards is a shock and a great honour.
"This was certainly unexpected but I believe it is our fantastic staff that really got us over the line," Mr Beckett said.
Started 11 years ago with a couple of trucks and eight staff, Handybin Waste Services now has 40 trucks and a workforce of 60 and services the Nambucca, Bellingen and Coffs Harbour council areas.
Mr Beckett said over that time the business had managed to survive in an industry that was now largely dominated by multi-national companies.
"It is fantastic to have a 100% Australian-owned business based in Coffs and competing with big business," he said.
"We have managed to do so because we have made a point of expanding, innovating and diversifying."
He said apart from the contract for the three-shire, three-bin collection service, the company had invested in research and development and come up with a system that processed glass fines, which in the 12 months since it was commissioned had retrieved an extra 6000 tonnes of glass that would otherwise have ended up in landfill.
"Glass fines are the pieces that are too small for recycling. We have developed a system that produces a sand replacement product and also a glass aggregate product that can be used in drainage works. I don't know of any other council with a facility of this type," Mr Beckett said.
Producing high-quality, clean end-products was another feature of Handybin's business.
"Producing high-quality recyclables is another of our competitive edges - these are then sold to a wide range of markets, including overseas buyers," Mr Beckett said.
He said it was a privilege to be chosen winner from such a high-quality field of local businesses.
Another high-profile award was the People's Choice Award, which this year went to Pansabella Providores and owner Kris Knowles.
Employee of the Year was Jamie Betts from Absolute Panels, Paint and Mobility.
The annual event - hosted by the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce and proudly supported by the Coffs Coast Advocate - at C.ex Coffs on Saturday night was attended by 365 guests keen to discover the winners in the 26 categories.
Don't miss Wednesday's Coffs Coast Advocate for a full list of the Sunnys Business Award winners.