The goal of a circular economy is being discussed across sectors, industries and communities. Much of it with substance and strong intent, but some of it superficial and simplistic.
Most importantly, there is a recognition that new patterns of production and consumption are essential. This is especially relevant if we as an economy and community are to maximise resource productivity, minimise impacts and develop a new, more benign relationship with products and the materials they are made from.
The need for effective policy reform is timely, as is the need for economy-wide attention. Rebranding waste and recycling initiatives as circular economy initiatives certainly fails to recognise the imperative.
As a contribution towards delivering positive economic, social and environmental outcomes for the community that are ‘circular’ the NSW Government is developing relevant policies. Specifically, it has released a draft Circular Economy Policy as well as a Circular Economy Discussion Paper.
The two documents provide a useful overview of the essential principles, including examples of how these can be applied to achieve the desired outcomes. Both the policy and the discussion paper are sensible starting points for informing and engaging interested stakeholders.
Unlike European Union initiatives which identify actions holistically across industries and sectors, the NSW documents are chiefly framed through a waste management lens, which may be more doable over the short-term however at some point will need to address the structural transformation needed to achieve a truly circular economy.
The discussion paper sets an inclusive tone and asks ‘what would a circular economy look like’ and invites ideas on how interested parties could get involved and what support they may require.
Consultation on the draft Circular Economy Policy is open from 22 October to 25 November 2018.
Submissions will inform the process and be used to finalise the policy. This will be followed by an implementation plan that sets out how the NSW Government will ‘work with business and local communities.
You can download the relevant documents and have your say via the following website:
Equilibrium is working with some of its clients and partners to prepare submissions over the coming weeks. We would welcome contact from any company, council or organisation wishing to discuss the process and their response to the discussion paper.
Managing Director – Equilibrium
Mobile: 0419 993 234