Circular economy leader calls for government to implement waste reduction obligations on businesses coming out of COVID
ASPIRE, a digital marketplace for commercial waste designed by CSIRO, says that Australia is missing an opportunity to exit the pandemic as a circular economy in light of the amount of single-use plastic products used during the height of the pandemic.
It is calling for legislated obligations on the business sector to reduce waste by 50% by 2030. Additionally, it’s calling for funding for small-to-medium businesses to identify ways to redesign their processes to incorporate more recycled goods and eliminate sources of waste.
“The government has set a target of decreasing waste by 10% per person by 2030. But the incentive for doing that has not been made clear, especially in this period of heightened use of disposable, plastic products,” ASPIRE chief executive Cameron McKenzie says.
“Business, construction and industry create 80% of Australia’s waste and for them, a reduction in waste means a reduction in the cost of doing business, especially with the cost of landfill set to double by 2022.
“So we should absolutely be focusing on the business community to achieve the 2030 target and helping businesses to exit the recession in a better position than when it started.”
Cameron adds that the $1 billion recycling initiative announced earlier this year in response to China’s National Sword Policy had a narrow focus on building recycling infrastructure and essentially treating the symptoms, not the cause.
He says that these are great first steps, but the recycling part is just one aspect of the challenge and potentially the least important.
“A focus on reducing waste from the outset and ensuring there is an end market for goods that are recycled is key. Otherwise remanufactured goods and goods that are technically recyclable will end up in landfill,” he says.
“Supporting businesses to rethink their product and processes from a waste perspective will save them money year on year and give them a point of difference.”
ASPIRE is a digital platform that brings businesses together to sell and buy commercial waste. After only one-and-a-half years of running the platform businesses have diverted 45 thousand tonnes of waste from landfill and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
One example of a company using ASPIRE to create their products and solutions is Casafico whose products contain at least 50% recycled materials and are reducing their waste going into landfill.
Casafico is currently diverting 9m³ of polystyrene per day, 1.5 tonnes of paper per day and two tonnes of glass per week.