South Australia’s circular economy initiative

In the circular economy, businesses and consumers are taking steps to transition towards a stronger, more circular economy where resources, including water, are used in a more sustainable way.

Creating a circular economy is about ‘closing the loop’ of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, with significant benefits to both the economy and the environment. In one recent report by the environmental services firm Veolia some 13 million tons of materials, worth GBP 4 billion per year, could be recycled, reused or manufactured from the manufacturing, pharmaceutical and chemical and food sectors in the UK alone.

South Australia’s circular economy initiative

South Australia’s Trade Waste Initiative is one example of many global initiatives governments are taking to implement the circular economy. The initiative is a two-year program delivered by the Office of Green Industries SA. The aim of the initiative is to help businesses make improvements to the way trade waste is managed (focusing on quality and quantity), reduce operating costs and increase productivity by improving the way materials, energy and water are used.

The circular economy Down Under

The circular economy Down Under

The program’s Resource productivity assessments are tailored assessments to identify opportunities for improving the way trade waste, energy, materials and water are managed and recommend areas for improvement to enhance productivity and performance. The Office of Green Industries SA has developed a preferred supplier list for delivery of assessments that consists of consultants with a proven track record in providing:

  • Baseline data on trade waste discharge, resource consumption and waste
  • Identification of cost-effectiveness initiatives for improving the use of materials, energy and water that will lead to productivity and efficiency benefits and cost savings
  • Estimated paybacks and return on investment for a range of implementation options
  • Provision of other data and information including economic and environmental benefits

To be eligible for an assessment, businesses must provide evidence of generating and discharging waste at levels above or within 20% of the following volume and load-based thresholds, with at least one threshold having been met continuously since 1 January 2015 on a 12-month rolling average basis:

  • 10 tons Biological Oxygen Demand or Suspended Solids per year
  • 20 tons Total Dissolved Solids per year
  • 10 million liters per year

Successful applicants can receive a grant up to 50%, to a maximum of $10,000, towards the cost of the resource assessment.

The take-out

Governments can lay out the groundwork for circular economy initiatives to take off.

*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley) and founder of Mitidaption, which consults on climate change risks to business, governance and society.

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Author: Robert C. Brears

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