Implementing circular economy principles in the community is all about matchmaking, according to Southern Cross University academic and researcher Professor Andrew Rose.
Professor Rose is the Academic Director of the Recirculator Program, a government-funded initiative supporting information exchange, research and technology implementation to accelerate adoption of circular economies in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
Speaking with student host River for the SCU Buzz podcast, Professor Rose said circular economies involve changing our attitudes towards waste.
“The current approach to the use of materials is take-make-waste. We dig things up, we make things out of them and use them, and then we throw them away. The circular economy is about take-make-recreate. The raw materials still have value after whatever it is that we’ve turned them into has finished its useful life. The circular economy is really about thinking what’s its next life going to look like?” Professor Rose said.
As part of Recirculator, Southern Cross University acts as a knowledge broker to help organisations identify their waste problems and build partnerships with technology suppliers that may be able to transform that waste into something new.
“It’s about matching people who make waste with people who have solutions for waste and helping remove the barriers to that relationship blossoming,” Professor Rose said.
Professor Rose is an environmental engineer and said circular economies share many of the same values as engineering.
“It’s not just about minimising the impact on the environment but getting the best overall outcome that is important for the community,” he said.
“It involves understanding how the whole system behaves and coming up with the optimal solution. A circular economy is exactly that – a systems approach, looking at something from the very start to the very end.”
For student River, Professor Rose shared insight on how to reduce waste at an individual level.
“Try to minimise the amount of stuff that’s coming into the house. If you do have to bring it in, try to avoid having to send it out again. If it does have to go in the bin, try to put as much of it as you can into the recycling bin or the organics bin.”