Find ways to reuse, recycle, reprocess
AUSTRALIA'S National Waste Policy reflects new ways that individuals and industries can think about waste and the use of resources.
The circular economy idea is about continually reusing, recycling and reprocessing materials.
"A circular economy retains the value of materials in the economy for as long as possible, reducing the unsustainable depletion of natural resources and impacts on the environment," the 2018 Federal Government policy paper states. "It has economic benefits, creating new industries, markets and products, and leading to new revenue streams and creation of jobs."
At the industry level the principles of a circular economy will require changes to product design, production, use and reuse, recycling and disposal.
Some materials, such as particular hazardous waste products, may still need to be disposed of. Most other manufactured goods and materials are resources that can be reused, recycled and reprocessed over and over.
Everyone has a role to play in implementing a circular economy, supporting resource recovery and recycling, and reducing the generation of waste.
The choices we make in what we buy, how we use products and how we dispose of them is central to improving the way we manage waste in Australia.
We can all:
- Avoid purchasing products with excessive or unnecessary packaging
- Repair or reuse items rather than throwing them away
- Purchase products we can use multiple times and that are long-lived, rather than single-use or poor quality items that are thrown away quickly
- Improve our recycling habits by sorting our waste appropriately into recycling and compost bins
- Use products that are recyclable and include recycled content.
The role of businesses and industries, including manufacturers and brand owners, is critical in improving the design of products to both avoid waste and for reuse, repair and appropriate packaging.
Some businesses lead the development of manufacturing systems that use recycled materials, avoid waste and improve financial sustainability of resource recovery systems while others develop and operate infrastructure to manage, reprocess, recycle and produce material for use in new products.
Businesses and industries also play an important role in investing in new processes, products, business systems and technologies that can lead to significant changes in the generation, management and disposal of waste.