Local government sustainability solutions
A range of promising solutions to barriers for a circular economy have been workshopped by local government representatives at an event by the NSW Circular Economy Innovation Network (CEIN).
More than 60 delegates attended the event at the NSW Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer where a structured workshop involving a number of speakers and specific ‘innovation sprints’ resulted in multiple positive ideas.
Results from a pre-workshop survey of participants provided context for the workshop and some of those key findings were shared by new CEIN Board Chair, Margaret Harding.
“Perhaps unsurprising, the top three most troublesome waste materials are low grade plastics, glass and textiles, while the top three road-blocks for ensuring the effective and efficient recycling of collected materials are securing a buyer, sorting the material and cleaning the material,” she said.
“I am appalled at the amount of rubbish we as a society produce and that is why I’m so excited to be joining this Network as Chair in its start-up phase to help design and facilitate some solutions as we listen to both the problems and opportunities.”
Chair of the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council, Neville Stevens, who was chair of the steering committee from the NSW Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer (OCSE) which funded and announced the creation of the Network, said CEIN has an important role to play.
“The NSW Innovation and Productivity Council report, Innovation in the NSW environmental goods and services sector, recognised that NSW has very good research and industry strengths but there was a disconnect across stakeholders and we were very pleased the OCSE facilitated the establishment of the CEIN to help with this.”
With local government representatives from across the State at the nearly day-long workshop, the event’s first two mini-sprints focussed on exploring then framing key problems while the final two mini-sprints involved prototyping and testing solutions.
While CEIN is analysing the findings from the workshop, work is underway to develop a number of regional events, as well as to identify the tools and resources to facilitate circular economy outcomes across the Network participants.
CEIN Director, UNSW Sydney Professor Veena Sahajwalla said she is excited to be leading the Network to help create a more sustainable society by making better knowledge and industry connections across relevant stakeholders.
“We are working furiously on our next stakeholder events,” she said. “We will be doing an event focussed on food and organics in Armidale on 1 August and then a manufacturing focussed event in Gosford on 7 August,” she said.