The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) defines the term circular economy as valuing resources by keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible.
By valuing waste resources as a commodity (an item of trade or commerce), recyclable materials enter into a cycle of reuse and repurpose and directly decreases the need to extract raw, non-renewable materials.
Changing the way we produce, assemble, sell and use things ultimately results in minimising waste, reducing our environmental impact and enhancing the economy through encourages innovation and job growth.
Why is a circular economy important?
Historically, waste has been processed in a mostly linear economy – take, make and dispose. It has been identified that this current pattern of resource use and waste generation is no longer sustainable. A circular economy is the most appropriate alternative.
Moving to a circular economy will provide long-term economic, social and environmental benefits for not only our town, but our country and the entire global community. The transition will generate jobs, create a more robust economy, increase the accessibility of goods, maximise the value of resources and reduce waste.
What can I do?
Circular economy is all about rethinking waste and changing our behaviours towards consuming and usage.
Rethink your consumption and wastage:
- Confront textile and e-Waste by questioning the need for new gadgets, handbags, shoes, outfits
- Confront food waste by buying only what you intent to use, compost what you can’t
- Confront plastic waste by avoidance strategies and investing in the tools required
- Confront general waste by repairing, repurposing or gifting
- Confront energy consumption by installing solar and/or being frugal with your energy needs (turn things off at the power point when you’re not using them)
- Confront fuel consumption by walking or riding, carpooling or taking public transport
Rethink your buying habits:
- When preparing to make a purchase (no matter the purpose of the product or the resource the product is made from) consider;
- Purchasing second-hand or refurbished
- Renting or borrowing
- The packaging associated with a product (is it recyclable and is there a better alternative, such as choosing glass jars over plastic ones)
- The company you are investing in:
- What has the company done to responsibly address corporate sustainability (policies and practices) and what actions have they taken towards their carbon emissions?
- Are they local and will your investment feed back into your local economy?
For further information, check out the Australian Circular Economy (ACE) Hub and the NSW Circular Economy Policy Statement