Let’s not waste Christmas

Christmas time is upon us.  This is a key period for businesses.

It may be coincidental but there are a number of actions which have taken place now where the focus is upon so-called ‘waste’ materials. ABC TV launched a new series of its popular ‘War on Waste’.  Aside from showing that businesses and community groups can do better regarding managing their waste streams, the program also showed the development of exciting businesses based on smart ideas about processing waste stream materials.

December this year is also the month in which the NSW Government launched its new program ‘Return and Earn’.  This is what is elsewhere called a Container Deposit Scheme – first launched in Australia in the state of South Australia. This program is one where drink and fluid containers are returned to an identified centre in return for a small refund. Businesses might profitably pay attention to how this program works in their neighbourhood if they have such containers.

December this year is the month in which it is expected calls from the NSW Environment Protection Authority will be made for Expressions of Interest in a 3rd round NSW Bin Trim program. For those who are not sure what this is, the Bin Trim program, previously run in our region by the STRBEC team, is a free program designed to assist enterprises better manage their waste streams with potential monetary and marketing outcomes.

Associated with the Bin Trim program is the potential for companies registered in the program to gain a 50% rebate on equipment which will help them divert waste from landfill.

In the work we did, we registered 521 companies and diverted almost 2000 tonnes of waste from landfill.

As mentioned, SRBEC was successful for the previous Bin Trim round. In the work we did we registered 521 companies and diverted almost 2000 tonnes of waste from landfill. We were able to assist a number of companies to gain a rebate for equipment to assist their waste diversion planning and this led to another approximately 2000 tonnes of waste being diverted. For a few companies, the savings made as a result of the program was in the tens of thousands of dollars range. For many others, there was a range of different benefits – some financial, some marketing, some simply being a more responsible company at a time when consumers are looking for companies to be so.

Because we exist to support business development, we offer advice to start-up companies, or how to take your ideas and build a successful enterprise. If we consider the waste stream of our local communities, including those of our businesses and community residents, then this is potentially the source of new enterprises. Tyres, organic materials, (including coffee grounds)  cardboard, paper, glass are all materials which, when looked at closely, can be a key element of a new enterprise. I referred above to the ABC TV second series ‘War on Waste’ where examples of smart thinking were shown as new businesses were being developed. Using cleaned and reworked items of all shapes and sizes can be turned not Christmas decoration and even presents. This practice is not such a new idea but, get it right, and the results can be astonishing.

Perhaps you think working with waste stream materials is a sideline business. Well, recent studies show that in our region, by better managing our waste stream materials we can increase the size of our local regional economy by $100 million. Employment from such changes would be an increase in 600-900 jobs.

Perhaps still a little sceptical? Take the European Union which now has what is called a Circular Economy policy. The Circular economy concept has been evolving across Europe in recent years in response to raised awareness around the challenges posed by the inevitable depletion of resources under the traditional economic process.

The EU has developed a broad set of measures to maintain the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible while minimising the gen­eration of waste which is to give clear signals to economic operators and society on the way forward.

The Circular Economy is a win-win situation as it estimates there will be:

  • Savings of €600 billion for EU businesses, equivalent to 8% of their annual turnover
  • Creation of 580,000 jobs
  • Reduction of EU carbon emissions by 450 million tonnes by 2030

We are more than happy to discuss and help in other ways of making inroads into our so-called ‘waste’ problem. By doing so, there are economic, societal and environmental benefits for all.