What is a circular economy?
Currently, we take materials and make them into products we eventually throw away as waste. This is a traditional ‘linear’ way of doing things in which we ‘take-make-use-dispose’. Even some waste we put into our yellow recycling bins is part of this model, as not all materials can be recycled continuously into new products.
For example, most plastics can only be recycled two to three times before it cannot be recycled anymore. This means new resources eventually need to be used to make virgin plastics.
Instead, many countries, states and local councils are transitioning to a model that manages the Earth’s resources more efficiently. In a circular economy, waste is designed out of the system, meaning that unnecessary or wasteful items are not produced in the first place.
In a perfect circular economy, the materials we use in products would all be recovered, reprocessed and reused in a continuous loop, rather than becoming waste in landfill.
Although this may sound out of reach in our current throwaway culture – there are things you already do that support a more circular economy.
Examples of a more circular economy
Recycling food scraps and garden waste is a great example of a circular system, as they can be transformed into mulch and compost that can go straight back into soil to nourish new plants and help grow more food. As long as there is no contamination, recycling food scraps and garden materials does not create waste.
Other ways to take part in the circular economy include shopping second hand, giving something you no longer need to a friend who will make use of it or purchasing items made of recycled materials.
Anything that we do to keep products and materials in circulation and avoid waste is helping create a more circular economy.
Glen Eira's first Circular Economy Plan
The Plan sets out how Council will lead by example and support the community move towards a sustainable and circular way of using resources where the materials we use can be reused, repurposed or recycled.
Glen Eira Mayor Cr Jim Magee said the Circular Economy Plan builds on the vision and purpose set out by Our Climate Emergency Response Strategy 2021–2025 | Dhumbali Wurrungi-Biik Parbin-Ata.
“The Plan will ensure we continue to develop the great work in progress to keep materials in use for as long as possible, such as using recycled materials in our major projects, and supporting our community to reduce waste to landfill.”
This Plan will guide how we can play our part, support our community and create a more sustainable Glen Eira.