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By Ronan Quinlan, CEO at Superfy, 10 August 2023

The circular economy is an innovative and sustainable approach gaining momentum worldwide, including in Australia. By redefining the traditional linear “take, make, dispose” model, the circular economy seeks to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting maximum value from products, materials, and resources while minimizing waste. In recent years, Australia has emerged as a proactive player in embracing this transformative concept, spearheading initiatives across various sectors to drive sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Several industries are actively contributing to the nation’s sustainable growth. Notably, the packaging industry has been at the forefront of these efforts, implementing measures to reduce single-use plastics and promoting eco-friendly alternatives. The textile and fashion sectors have also made significant strides by promoting recycling, upcycling, and sustainable fashion practices. So, what is happening in this space and what needs to change for further improvements.

Enhanced recycling a key step to a circular economy

I’ve spoken before about the triple-pronged approach to becoming a circular economy, which involves enhancing recycling, improving material efficiency and reducing the use of fossil fuels.

In the area of recycling materials collection and processing, companies like Superfy, are offering a variety of technology solutions to optimize waste collection and analysis. The solution offering includes a software platform and range of smart containers and IoT sensors which enable efficient tracking and monitoring throughout the collection and processing value chain. Using these innovative technologies and policies, Australia is making significant strides toward achieving its circular economy goals of 80 per cent resource recovery from all waste streams by 2030.

To help get there, organisations can use smart containers with IoT sensors to optimize waste collections, enabling them to move from fixed routes to flexible, data-driven routes. This data-driven approach reduces unnecessary mileage and emissions, making the entire collection process more efficient and cost-effective.

Examples of successful recycling programmes

Battery collection is a prime example of a successful recycling practice in Australia. Companies like Ecobatt, as part of the Battery Stewardship Scheme, are enhancing their battery recycling using Superfy’s technology. To date they have enabled the efficient collection of over 14,000 collections of 1,000 tonnes of batteries across the country, facilitating the repurposing of valuable resources. This collaboration showcases how technology-driven solutions positively impact sustainability and waste management as shown here.

Soft plastic recycling is another crucial aspect of Australia’s circular economy movement. Companies like Polycollect are embracing circular practices, diverting tonnes of plastic waste from landfills. Superfy’s technology is supporting Polycollect to maximise and track their recycling and repurposing of soft plastic waste which is being reused as aggregate in concrete.

The important role of governments in the process

From a policy perspective, the Australian government has shown commitment to advancing the circular economy through various policies and initiatives. One such notable program is the National Waste Policy, which outlines a strategic framework for reducing waste and promoting recycling and resource recovery. The Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group was also announced last year, along with a $250 million fund for state-of-the-art advanced recycling solutions to sort, process and remanufacture various materials, including plastic, glass and paper into valuable new products.

Despite the progress made, Australia faces certain challenges in its transition to a circular economy. One significant hurdle is the need for further investment in infrastructure and technology to support circular practices. Additionally, ensuring collaboration among different stakeholders, including businesses, government, and consumers, is crucial for a successful circular economy implementation. A balanced approach towards the costs of recycling and using recycled materials while encouraging businesses to adopt circular practices is critical to the overall success.

A global leader in the circular economy revolution

As Australia continues to lead the way in circular economy practices, other nations can draw inspiration from its success. Through technology, collaboration, and commitment, Australia is on track to becoming a global leader in the circular economy revolution, setting new standards in waste management and sustainable resource use.

At Superfy, we are proud to be supporting this revolution.

Find out how Superfy can support your recycling programmes. Request a demo now