Circular Economy and Recycling Victoria: new economy
What is a Circular Economy?
A circular economy is a relatively new concept for the world. A circular economy continually seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption, while enabling economic growth through more productive use of natural resources.
It allows us to avoid waste with good design and effective recovery of materials that can be reused. The value people obtain from the resources used to create goods and services increases.
It transforms our linear economy mindset of take, use and throw away and fosters innovation and productivity that invigorates existing businesses and creates new ones, delivering more jobs, more growth and more social inclusion to the local, regional, state and global economies (Engage Victoria, 2022).
It is important for Council to work towards a more circular economy to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption and to enable economic growth through more productive use of natural resources.
Council’s waste management services already help to divert resources away from landfill. This includes monthly collections of over 50,000 kerbside recycling bins for commercial and residential properties, as well as over 30,000 green organics bins. The collected materials are recycled into various products and industries. However, other Council services may also be able to contribute towards a circular economy.
In addition, Council can encourage the community to reduce the use of raw materials, support effective resource management and increase economic profitability through changing consumption and rethinking waste. Increased awareness and understanding of resource recovery and uptake of circular economy practices will shift society towards achieving a circular economy.
Engage Victoria, 2022, Shifting Victoria to a Circular Economy
Figure 1 - The "circular economy" concept. (Image: Engage Victoria).
What is Recycling Victoria: a new economy
In 2020 the Victorian Government released the “Recycling Victoria: a new economy” which outlines a ten-year action plan to establish a circular economy.
Recycling Victoria sets four key targets, to:
- Divert 80% of waste from landfill by 2030 (with an interim target of 72% by 2025).
- Cut total waste generation by 15% per capita by 2030.
- Halve the volume of organic materials going to landfill between 2020-2030 (with an interim target of 20% reduction by 2025).
- Ensure every household has access to food and organise waste recycling or local composting by 2030.
To achieve these targets, Recycling Victoria outlines a number of strategies that are to be rolled out through Councils across Victoria. These strategies include a new four-bin waste and recycling system with each household getting a bin or access to services for:
- Combined food and garden organics.
- Glass recycling.
- Plastics, paper, cardboard, and metals recycling.
- Household waste.
For Council to achieve what is outlined in Recycling Victoria: a new economy, Council must introduce and make changes to its current waste services by 2030.
What does this mean for Baw Baw Shire?
Shifting towards a more circular economy will require changes in the way we produce products, consume, and dispose of un-wanted goods. Council can support the shift towards a more circular economy through the provision of its waste services.
Under new obligations aligned to Recycling Victoria: a new economy, Councils are required to alter waste services to ensure processes are in place to support achieving a circular economy. Council obligations under Recycling Victoria include:
Introduce a Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) service by 2030.
Introduce a separate glass recycling service by 2027.
Comply with bin lid colour standardisation by 2030 – red lid for waste, yellow lid for recycling, light green lid for organics.
BBSC Waste Management Plan - https://www.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/Resident-Information/Environment-Recycling-and-Waste/Councils-Waste-Management-Plan
Recycling Victoria: a new economy - https://www.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-02/Recycling%20Victoria%20A%20new%20economy.pdf
Standardising household recycling across Victoria - https://www.vic.gov.au/Standardising-household-recycling-across-Victoria
Please contact Council’s Environment and Resource Recovery Team on (03) 5624 2411.