Circular Economy has been a key regional focus for the Hunter JO since its inception, with a number of Circular Economy projects highlighted in the Hunter JO Strategic Plan. A circular economy exchanges the typical cycle of make, use dispose in favour of as much re-use and recycling as possible, reducing waste and extending the lifetime of products by recycling them in new and innovative ways.
The Hunter JO Circular Economy Working Group is Chaired by Cr Kay Fraser, Mayor of Lake Macquarie City Council, and focuses on a range of projects within the space. Together we are creating an opportunity for a more circular economy in our region.
The Hunter is currently experiencing a time of economic evolution and the circular economy provides an opportunity to improve and diversify by providing and supporting new industries and jobs for the region.
Circular economy provides a framework to design out waste and pollution, maximise value from resources using closed-loop systems, and regenerate natural systems. This circular model presents sizable economic, environmental, and social benefits for Australia, including $1,860 billion direct benefit over the next 20 years, savings of 165 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and an additional 17,000 jobs by 2047-48 in the food, transport and built environment sectors alone.
The region’s circular economy program, Hunter Circular, is facilitated by the Hunter Joint Organisation with funding support from the NSW State Government. This program has a focus on rethinking waste and resource recovery in the Hunter and Central Coast.
The Hunter JO is helping accelerate the Hunter and Central Coast region toward a circular economy through development of the Hunter Central Coast Eco-system website. The website offers a database and engagement platform for circular economy participants in the region, and fosters change in how our region processes and repurposes waste as a resource.
This database-driven website is a key starting point for the development and growth of the Hunter and Central Coast Circular Economy. The concept is for organisations and individuals within government, business, community and tertiary education sectors to engage, participate and collaborate wherever possible. The very nature of a circular economy is to connect businesses and other organisations together to create circular systems and avoid linear ones and collaboration is the key to success.
The Hunter Circular website is designed to be interactive, enabling connection across the region to continually grow the Hunter Central Coast Eco-System Database. For those wanting to join this database, who are part of the circular economy in the region but are not yet involved in the site, please register on the website.
Visit the Hunter Circular Website here.
The Hunter Central Coast Ecosystem Report looks at the status of our region’s Circular Economy ‘eco-system’, as it relates to waste streams and resource recovery. By summarising where we are at the moment in terms of waste and resource recovery, we are able to look at what next steps are for us to further the region’s Circular Economy.
A copy of the Hunter Central Coast Circular Economy Ecosystem Report can be found here.
Circular Economy Facilitators Group
Work completed to date on the circular economy eco-system (CE) in the region has confirmed a network of committed, knowledgeable and capable people with the potential to drive the CE program forward. As a first step in harnessing this capacity, an informal “Hunter Circular Facilitators” group has been established, the role of which is to:
- Share information
- Harness the collective effort in the region
- Drive and coordinate cross stakeholder efforts toward a circular economy.
- Avoid duplication and foster the progress of the circular economy.
The group is made up of people who already have a role in the circular economy and have capacity to dedicate their time toward a regional approach.
As part of the Facilitators Group, we have launched a Hunter Central Coast Circular Economy LinkedIn Group to bring together people across the region to facilitate the sharing of information and building the Circular Economy network within the Hunter and Central Coast Region. If you haven’t joined already, do so today!
Circular Economy Roadmap
The Hunter and Central Coast Circular Economy Roadmap (Roadmap) showcases our successes and sets a path for the next 12 months for us to collaborate and accelerate towards our longer-term shared vision of being Australia’s leading regional circular economy.
With a view of our region’s strengths and challenges, we have co-designed this Roadmap alongside our stakeholder ecosystem. This Roadmap prioritises initiatives based on their feasibility and potential to create local benefits.
The enabling initiatives we will commence over the next 12 months include working towards more circular public procurement, a circular metrics strategy, facilitating the trade of reusable products, and identifying and developing the skills needed for circular industries and systems.
Local Government representatives, are uniquely placed to provide strategic direction, connect stakeholders across the local ecosystem to collaborate and share knowledge, and remove some of the barriers to support circular economy progress at scale. The Hunter JO will support these initiatives as project partners or through enabling initiatives with the collaboration and funding from the NSW State Government.
The broader local circular economy eco-system that includes Federal Government, State Government, University of Newcastle, community, and industry associations will lead initiatives and partner through the collaborative Hunter Central Coast Circular Economy Facilitators Group.
Access the Full Roadmap Document or our Interactive Roadmap on the Hunter Circular website.
One the key roles in transition to a CE for local government, is utilising its purchasing power to create a demand pull for circular markets. All member councils in the region have signed up to an MOU committing to participation in this program.
Procurement is the process of buying goods and services from an external source. For councils, this often includes ensuring cost effectiveness and efficiency. The Circular Procurement Program enables our councils to put circular procurement into practice, (with circular methodologies and decision-making tools) supporting the Hunter and Central Coast Region in creating a thriving circular economy that benefits our community and environment.
The Circular Procurement Program helps our councils across the region purchase goods and services that contribute to a circular economy – creating growth opportunities and tackling environmental challenges. Other benefits include supporting local businesses, maximising return on investment, reducing waste creation, and conserving raw materials and energy use.
Circular Economy City Scan
The Hunter JO along with Lake Macquarie City Council, City of Newcastle, Central Coast Council and the University of Newcastle launched the City Scan tool.
This City Scan assessed the potential of the region’s circular economy, which is designed to help identify business opportunities and any issues or gaps that need to be addressed through further data exploration and stakeholder collaboration.
This is the first of its kind in Australia. The approach was developed in the Netherlands and used in cities such as Amsterdam and Prague.
The report from the City Scan tool outlines areas of the local economy that should be a focus for circular economy engagement. This included mining and utilities, manufacturing, trade and transport, accommodation and food service, agriculture, and construction sectors. It also identified five key outcomes to progress the regional transition towards a more circular economy:
- Increased engagement with industry around circular opportunities
- Improving data collections and interpretation
- Better understanding of the risks
- Working collaboratively to improve our supply chains
- Developing education on the circular economy
The City Scan represents a significant step in our circular economy journey and presents an opportunity for the Hunter and Central Coast region to provide leadership and contribute to business and employment growth in a time of economic evolution.
Material Flow Analysis
The material flow analysis developed by the Hunter JO and NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program, maps the quantity of 21 different waste materials across each local government area in the Hunter and Central Coast.
It provides a baseline of waste material flows across the region, that can be used by government and business to identify opportunities for collaboration and investment. The data available is the first step in understanding where waste materials are located in the Hunter and Central Coast and should not be relied upon solely for decision making.
Access the Material Flow Analysis here.
To find out more about the Hunter JO’s Circular Economy Program, please contact:
Eloise Lobsey, Program Lead on email@example.com