The “circular economy” is quickly becoming a guiding force for sustainability efforts around the globe. It is a system which minimises waste and extracts as much value from a material resource as possible, rather than burying it in landfill. It contrasts the traditional linear system which has a 'take, make, dispose' model. It's also about connecting people, businesses and resources in design, manufacturing and end of life processing. It's a new paradigm and not just about recycling!
- Design for end-of-life: The circular economy is about designing out waste and pollution, creating new ownership models and innovative systems to recover material for reuse, recycling or composting. PREP software, which underpins the Australasian Recycling Label, is an example of a key driver for the design of sustainable packaging in Australia.
- Product stewardship schemes: Product stewardship is a key tool to facilitate a circular economy. Planet Ark sees a future where all companies act as stewards for the products they are selling, ensuring these products play a part in the circular economy.
- Organics composting schemes: Almost half of everything currently being landfilled in Australia is organic material, which breaks down anaerobically in landfill, generating methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A much better outcome for this organic material is composting, both home and commercial scale, so that it can be circulated back into gardening or agriculture, and improve the structure, fertility and health of our soils.
- Community education and engagement: Setting up the infrastructure to treat waste as a resource is not enough by itself. Such changes need to be coupled with comprehensive public education programs to ensure high community participation.
- National Circular Economy Hub: There is a strong need for a platform in Australia that inspires and facilitates the collaboration and networking necessary for our transition to a circular economy. Planet Ark is taking the lead on creating the National Circular Economy Hub and Marketplace, which will be Australia’s leading platform to accelerate our transition to a circular economy.
Source: SUEZ, A vision for England’s long-term resources and waste strategy